Tonge on song but West Indies lose to Pakistan

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- West Indies fast bowler Gavin Tonge was brilliant with the ball on Wednesday night, taking 4-25 from 10 overs, but it was not enough as the Windies lost their opening ICC Champions Trophy match by five wickets to Pakistan.

West Indies won the toss and batted first but could only make 133 off 34.3 overs. Pakistan replied with 134-5 off 30.3 overs with teenager Umar Akmal making 41 not out to win the Man-of-the-Match award.  Steaming on a pitch at the Wanderers in Johannesburg which offered assistance to the bowlers, Tonge was extremely accurate and caused problems to all the batsmen. He uprooted Imran Nazir’s stumps with his first delivery and then had Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf all well caught behind by wicket-keeper Chadwick Walton.

After Tonge ended his magical spell Misbah ul-Haq was dismissed by David Bernard for six as Pakistan slipped to 76-5, but they recovered to win the opening Group A match.  Tonge said he totally enjoyed the performance and felt he had more in the tank after he ended his allotment of ten overs.

“I was feeling really good, in a really good rhythm and I could have bowled 20 overs on the trot if needed. It was just a matter of putting the ball on the spot and letting the ball do the rest of the work. The wicket I enjoyed the most was Nazir. It was my first ball and I got it dead straight. That was the perfect start. All fast bowlers like to see the stumps flying” the 26-year-old said after his career-best performance, in just his third ODI in Windies colours.

“That was a really good track for fast bowling. We are going to play on that same pitch throughout the tournament and I’m hoping for more of the same from it. I’m just taking it one step and one day at a time and leaving it up to the selectors. He said the team was in good spirits despite the defeat and they were looking forward to the remaining Group A matches against Australia and India.”

Tonge added: “I definitely don’t think we are a second-string outfit because individuals have performed well just to be here and we have come here to win. Every game is an opportunity and every day is a chance to improve and prove your worth on the international stage.”

Earlier in the day Nikita Miller batted brilliantly as he tried to hold the innings together with a career-best 51 from 57 balls. He entertained the crowd with shots in both sides of the pitch. The little right-hander came to the crease with the score at 47-7 and got off the mark with a spanking square drive. He hit six fours and a towering six over wide long-off.