Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kangaroos Finally Defeated - The Key Moments.

Umar Akmal made 44* and picked up the MOM Award for the 2nd time in the group stages!

1) The skipper yesterday played a totally irresponsible and careless shot. It was a complete lack of game awareness and leadership. It was arguably rather embarrassing more so than ever for a captain of a national team who is expected to lead by example and consider the bigger picture of the team needs and wants. At times one gets the impression Afridi plays for the gallery as a "show off pony" by trying to draw attention to himself instead of thinking what is best for the team. Yesterday, it was Dhoom Dhoom Afridi. Nonetheless, Razzaq and Umar showed some calming presences at the crease to see it through. He himself somewhat admitted afterwards. It was bizarre and unnecessary even if it was to be his nature.

2) Umar Gul knocked over Shane Watson early in the piece. The impressive pacer was struggling and it looked like he had actually pulled up an injury but the magic spray did the trick and he was at his very best with the new ball during his opening spell. He was bang on target, varied his pace nicely and built pressure. Eventually something had to give and Shane Watson couldn't resist an expansive cover drive only for the ball to nip back and clip the top of the off bail from a good length delivery. This was a reward for some fast and accurate bowling as Pakistan drew first blood and Gul captured his 11th in the tournament.

3) Gul's yorker which cleaned up Jason Krejza at the death. The GULDOZER struck lightning with a fullish delivery tailing into the block hole to shatter the furniture. This represents his class and gift of being a magnificent death bowler.

4) Rehman knocking over Hussey with the angle and bounce. The ball stopped and got big on him only for him to turn it around the corner where Misbah gobbled him up with his bucket shaped hands at short midwicket.

5) Lee dismissing the big fishes in successive deliveries with a touch of away movement outside the off stump where they fished and were caught behind. They were two gems which dismissed the senior pros (Younis and Misbah) to create a sense of panic in the dressing room. The speedstar created a twist in proceedings when Younis and Asad were going along fluently.

6) Razzaq slamming the Aussie off spinner through the off side right to the fence to seal the win and confirm Pakistan's position at the top of the table. The win was greeted with emotion and excitement in Pakistan as they were the joint most successful team in the group stages and have already made their mark and made themselves heard at this Cricket World Cup regardless of what happens next. They have had some champagne moments already to savour.


  1. @Maaz

    What are your views on dropping Akhtar and playing Riaz.

  2. They are not keen to give Akhtar a farewell game for his personal destiny at this stage unless his services are needed by the team. They reckon Wahab deserves his spot and adds variety to the attack. I reckon they may unleash Akhtar for one final time in the knock out stages. He will be fired up and pumping to go.

    Debatable decision to exclude him but I would say they have got it right. Ideally, both Akhtar and Wahab should be playing in my view unless the wicket is a complete turner in which 3 spinners should play including 2 specialist spinners.

    However, Hafeez was outstanding with the ball yesterday. Bowled very tightly and economically. Was the best spinner on show. Outbowled Afridi and Rehman with his orthodox off breaks. I would still play Ajmal ahead of Rehman any day, especially against the West Indies with the lefties they have in their batting line up. PLAY AJMAL........

  3. @Maaz

    I think they are going for Wahab because Akhtar can't bowl at death, usually runs out of steam and also doesn't have the skill to bowl at death.
    This handicap can create serious problems if the batting team takes the batting power play early and still manages to save wickets.

    I agree with you that they should play Ajmal if he is fit and in form against West Indies.

    But then they will have to open the bowling with Razzaq unless they play Akhtar and he opens the bowling with Gul.

  4. Couple of stand-out moments for me Maz was a shot by Shafiq off his Tait I think, and the slap by Umar Akmal through the covers to a 90mph delivery. Like the commentators said, 'unbelievable'.

    The other highlight was the manner in which we cleared up the lower order. We do this much better than any other side in the world.

    4) That was a crucial wicket of Hussey by Rehman. Their innings changed then, a pivotal point in the game.

    I also agree we should bring in Ajmal for Rehman for the WI game