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Pakistan wins against West Indies as International cricket returns to Pakistan

Pakistan thrashed a depleted West Indies side by 143 runs in the first Twenty20 on Sunday at the National Stadium in Karachi, the first international match in the city after nine years. Pakistan, the world’s top-ranked T20 side, equalled their highest total in the format of 5-203 in 20 overs before bowling West Indies out for their lowest-ever T20 total – 60 – in 13.4 overs. West Indies, missing their regular skipper Carlos Brathwaite and stars like Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard, could not handle Pakistan’s varied bowling attack.
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Only Marlon Samuels (18), Rayad Emrit (11) and Keemo Paul (10) reached double figures. Pakistan’s margin of victory is the second-biggest in T20Is, behind Sri Lanka’s 172-run win over Kenya in Johannesburg in 2007. Previously, the hosts’ biggest victory in T20Is was a 102-run win against Bangladesh in Karachi in 2008, after scoring 5-203. Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz and Shoaib Malik got two wickets each. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed praised his team’s performance in the series opener.

“I think we were excellent today,” said Ahmed. “We have an important match tomorrow and with another win we can seal the series win.” The West Indies’ new T20 skipper Jason Mohammad blamed the defeat on poor batting. “It was a tough day,” said Mohammad, who fell for nought. “We did well with the ball till the last two overs. It was a good wicket, but our shot execution wasn’t good.” The Windies’ previous lowest T20 total was 7-79 against Zimbabwe at Port of Spain in 2010.
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Debutant Hussain Talat top-scored for Pakistan with a 37-ball 41, hitting a six and two fours. He added 75 for the third wicket with Sarfraz, who scored a 22-ball 38 with a six and four fours. Opener Fakhar Zaman hit a 24-ball 39, while Shoaib Malik played a fiery knock of 37 not out, facing 14 deliveries and hitting two sixes and four fours. The late charge helped Pakistan hammer 66 runs in the last five overs. Despite this being the first international match since 2009 in Karachi – Pakistan’s largest city – only 18,000 people watched the match in the 33,000-capacity stadium. But those present were in a celebratory mood.

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