KINGSTOWN - Two unfamiliar foes with impressive pedigrees in cricket’s shortest format meet as Pakistan conclude their short tour of the West Indies with T20 Internationals in St Vincent on Saturday and Sunday.

Brimming with confidence following a 3-1 triumph in the five-match One-Day International series which concluded on Wednesday in neighbouring St Lucia, the visitors will nevertheless be wary of taking on a home side that has played unbeaten since lifting the World T20 title last October in Sri Lanka.

Curiously, there has been only one previous meeting between the two teams in this version, on Pakistan’s last visit to the Caribbean in 2011 when the West Indies held on for a seven-run victory at the Beausejour Stadium. The weekend fixtures therefore represent an opportunity to redress that deficiency on a stage where both teams are blessed with players who appear to revel in the sport’s newest and most popular incarnation.

For all their struggles in ODI’s in the past month, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard will be expected to return to their dominating, destructive best with the bat in the manner that has made them among the most sought-after players for the many T20 competitions now played around the world. Pakistan, with Mohammad Hafeez at the helm, also have a stage to showcase their explosive, match-winning talents to any interested franchises while at the same time seeking to reinforce their country’s impressive reputation in the 20-over-per-side variety.

Winners of the World T20 in 2009 in England, they were beaten finalists to India in the inaugural event in South Africa two years earlier and reached the semi-finals as defending champions in the West Indies in 2010. They have brought in three T20 specialists - batsman Hammad Azam, seamer Sohail Tanvir and all-rounder Zulfiqar Babar - to complement the likes of the mercurial Shahid Afridi.

West Indies, with Darren Sammy back as captain, have also drafted in a trio with skills specifically suited to T20 cricket in spinner Samuel Badree, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and all-rounder Christopher Barnwell.

Coming as they do on the eve of the inaugural Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament, the weekend showdowns at Arnos Vale are therefore an ideal curtain-raiser for that event while also offering Pakistan the chance to conclude what has already been a successful campaign by stealing the thunder from the world champions in their own backyard.


WEST INDIES: D Sammy (capt), C Gayle, J Charles, DM Bravo, M Samuels, L Simmons, DJ Bravo, K Pollard, D Sammy, C Barnwell, S Narine, T Best, S Gabriel

PAKISTAN: M Hafeez (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Nasir Jamshed, Hammad Azam, Haris Sohail, Umar Amin, Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz, Asad Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Junaid Khan, M Irfan.