Pakistan level ODI series thanks to Azam century

Pakistan ensured their ODI series against West Indies will go to a decider after claiming a 74-run win, Babar Azam starring with 125.

West Indies' batsmen failed to fire in the second one-day international as Pakistan secured a 74-run win to level the series with one game to play in Guyana.

Unlike the first game of the three-match series when West Indies successfully chased down a 309-run target, the hosts struggled for momentum after limiting Pakistan to 282-5.

Wickets fell at regular intervals as all the Windies' batsmen got themselves in but failed to build, something that Babar Azam had no problems doing earlier in the day as he hit a stunning 125 not out.

Azam eclipsed his previous ODI best by two runs on Sunday, the 22-year-old hitting seven boundaries and three maximums.

He was ably assisted by Mohammad Hafeez (32), Sarfraz Ahmed (26) and Imad Wasim (43 not out) as they set what proved to be too much of a target.

Having slumped to 75-6, only Jason Holder (68) and Ashley Nurse (44) offered any real resistance but their 58-run stand was the only positive for the hosts as they could only muster 208 all out.

The day started in a much more positive fashion for Holder's men as Shannon Gabriel (2-50) and Alzarri Joseph (1-69) removed Ahmed Shehzad (5) and Kamran Akmal (21) in the opening nine overs.

However, Azam quickly went about turning the match Pakistan's way with a vibrant knock that came at nearly a run-a-ball with a strike-rate of 94.69.

Hafeez was less effective with a laboured 32 off 50 deliveries, and his day came to an abrupt end as he misjudged the length from Nurse and was easily stumped by Shai Hope.

Azam's next partnership, with Sarfraz, set a nice foundation for the final push and eventually that came as the former and Imad took 84 off the final seven overs to lift their total to something respectable.

In reply, West Indies failed to get out of second gear as a host of misjudged shots left them in all kinds of trouble inside 18 overs.

Chadwick Walton (10) and Hope (15) both gave simple catches after poor shot selection, while Evin Lewis (13), Kieran Powell (11) and Jonathan Carter (12) were all trapped in front.

Any hopes the hosts had for Jason Mohammed (1) disappeared as Sarfraz took a sensational catch to give Hafeez his second wicket, the wicketkeeper spinning quickly to take the catch after it had brushed the batman's glove.

Holder and Nurse gave a glimpse of hope with a 58-run partnership, but the latter was lbw to Hasan Ali (5-38) and their chase began to stutter once again.

There was still time for a third ODI 50 for Holder but it mattered little as Pakistan wrapped up victory and left everything to play for in the series decider on Tuesday.

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