Sharjah, (AFP): Babar Azam hit his maiden century while spinner Mohammad Nawaz grabbed four wickets as Pakistan thrashed the West Indies by 111 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method in the first day-night international on Friday.
Azam’s rapid-fire 139-ball 120 helped Pakistan post a challenging 284-9 in a match reduced to 49 overs a side due to a 70-minute floodlight failure at Sharjah Stadium in the UAE.
West Indies — set 287 to win — never got close and folded at 175 in 38.4 overs.
The victory gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, building on their 3-0 whitewash in the Twenty20 series.
Like in the Twenty20 matches, the West Indian batsmen had little clue against Pakistan’s spin bowling, with only Marlon Samuels (46) and Johnson Charles (20) offering any resistance.
Nawaz steamed through the batting with figures of 4-42 in his ten overs, easily his best bowling figures in his sixth one-day international.
Nawaz had Darren Bravo (12), Denesh Ramdin (eight), Kieron Pollard (nine) and Carlos Brathwaite (15) out in an incisive spell of spin bowling to rock the West Indies.
Samuels hit two sixes and a four in his 59-ball fight but was finally bowled by fast bowler Wahab Riaz in the 34th over.
Sunil Narine (23) and Sulieman Benn (16 not out) added 31 for the ninth wicket but it was too little, too late and medium pacer Hasan Ali ended the innings with figures of 3-14.
The victory lifted Pakistan to second in overall one-day international wins with 455 in 864 matches, behind Australia.
“I knew what is my part and so I batted with responsibility,” said the 21-year-old Azam. “Once I got set my plan was to bat through but I was caught at the boundary.”
West Indian captain Jason Holder blamed poor batting for his side’s demise.
“We didn’t bat well, especially against spin,” said Holder. “We have to adjust and improve quickly.”
– Stunning Pollard -Red-hot Azam added 82 for the second wicket with Sharjeel Khan (54) and 99 for the fourth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed (35) after Pakistan were sent into bat on a flat pitch.
Pakistan were 260-6 after 44.3 overs when a floodlight failure stopped play for over an hour.
Azam hit eight boundaries and three sixes in a commanding knock before he was smartly caught one-handed by Pollard at long-on boundary, lobbing the ball inside as he was going over the ropes to complete a stunning catch.
Azam’s two strong partnerships laid the foundation for the nominal hosts after they lost skipper Azhar Ali off the first ball of the match, caught behind off paceman Shannon Gabriel.
Sharjeel hit six boundaries and three sixes in an aggressive 43-ball knock before miscuing a drive off spinner Benn and was caught at short third man.
Shoaib Malik fell to spinner Narine for six and from 93-2 both Azam and Ahmed batted sensibly, rotating the strike and hitting boundaries off bad balls.
Azam, whose previous best of 83 came against New Zealand at Auckland earlier this year, reached his hundred with a single off Narine.
Imad Wasim (24) and Nawaz (19) gave the final touches as Pakistan added 24 more runs after the delay.
Paceman Brathwaite was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with 3-54.
The second match will also be played in Sharjah, on Sunday, while the third will be in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.