ISLAMABAD  -  Pakistan further enhanced their reputation of winning matches going harder way, as the green caps struggled hard to register a narrow two-wicket victory against the World T20 champions West Indies.

The hard-fought victory was made possible by the debutants Zulfiqar Babar, Umer Amin and a quick-fire 46 by Boom Boom Afridi. Pakistan should have won this match with at least two overs to spare if batsmen not gifted their wickets by playing senseless strokes.

Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, skipper M Hafeez, Umar Akmal, even Umer Amin and Afridi all threw their wickets away. Especially Afridi must control his emotions. He had brought Pakistan so close to victory but his wicket could have cost Pakistan dearly.

Pakistani bowling for the first time after long time came under heavy punishment, which was rarely witnessed since long. The reason was the poor utilisation of bowlers. Hafeez should kept in mind that tail-enders always love to play fast bowlers due to their natural aggression and love to play big shots. By holding Junaid and Irfan's overs till the depth, Hafeez made the West Indian batsmen task much easier and they duly obliged. Pollard was totally out of form and even was dropped from the last two ODIs, but poor bowling gave Pollard every chance to settle down and score enough runs. His innings could have taken the match away from the green caps reach. Zulfiqar should be given the best possible credit for his superb and memorable debut. He also became the second oldest player to play for the country at the age of 34.

Instead of fielding three fast bowlers in the five-match one-day series Pakistan must have opted another spinner as mentioned by this correspondent regarding inclusion of Abdul Rehman in place of Wahab Riaz. But team management opted to go with Asad Ali, who failed once again to live up to the expectations. Had a left arm spinner was inducted in the playing XI, Pakistan could have won with utmost ease and comfort.

Zulfiqar made the dream debut, as he picked up three crucial wickets conceding only 23 runs in his quota and that too at a time when all the other bowlers were punished severely. And then he played the match-winning knock, when all the major players had departed. He never let pressure to come over him and got the due reward by hitting a boundary and a superb six of the last ball of the match to ensure a narrow victory.

Pakistan must concentrate on removing flaws and they have very little time to adjust. The green caps committed many mistakes in the first Twenty20 but victory always put cover on mistakes and people forgive mistakes. But openers hadveto deliver for Pakistan otherwise there is no need of having Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad in the playing XI. Hafeez could easily bat at the top of the order. By doing so, it would help the team, as he then had the liberty of playing with two genuine all-rounders in the Sohail Tanveer and Hammad Azam, who showed glimpses of his class in the first match.

Umer Amin also shut his critics' mouths with the superb performance in the match and also raise some serious questions needed to be answered by the head coach, as why his services were not utilised in the ODIs despite Pakistan was feeling too much heat in the top order. These silly and minor mistakes are the main reason behind Pakistan's inconsistent performance and cost them dearly in the crunch situations.

Dave Whatmore had a long and vast international coaching experience. He had stints with different domestic leagues besides coaching the national sides. He should work more devotedly and help players in overcoming their minor flaws rather than expecting to things happen in his favour.

Zulfiqar should have the obvious choice for the man of the match award as he had performed exceptionally well with both leather and willow. Afridi played well, but he left the crease when Pakistan still required eight runs and no reliable batsman left to ensure Pakistan’s victory. Zulfiqar made it possible but the award went other way. Afridi rightly and immediately announced the name of Zulfiqar for the man of the match award. Pakistan must not relax and sit back. They must go all guns blazing and lay their natural attacking game to clinch the series.