Pakistan beat Zimbabwe rather comprehensively as they eased to victory in Kandy by 7 wickets in a rain shorted Group A match. Pakistan now take on Australia on Saturday in Colombo in their final Group fixture. From now on in, all games will be full of pressure, tension, intensity, anticipation, challenge as the tournament really gets into serious mode. There will be no soft fixture anymore and every match will be symbolically indescribable, full of meaningfulness and of utmost importance as Pakistan look to re-live the memorable bells of 1992 in the 10th ICC Cricket World Cup jointly being hosted by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Where Pakistan conclude in their group and who they will take on in the Quarter Final stage will be fully determined by the end of the week. It will be imperative they get much as possible going for them in order to be an ideal state and frame of mind to deliver when it matters and it does not come any better than breaking Australia's 33 match undefeated World Cup record come Saturday.
-Shehzad has 44 runs in 5 innings at an average of 8.8. He is really struggling for form and confidence. It will be a really brave move if they continue to persevere with him from here on in and one could not really complain about dropping him at this stage as far as form is concerned.
-Abdur Rehman averages 83 runs per wicket and just has 14 wickets to his name in 19 one day internationals . He is making his reputation clear as a really defensive average operator and is no match winner whereas we have a world class threatening match winner sitting on the bench and watching from the side lines. Do you think England will select Yardy ahead of Swann? Do you think South Africa will select Patterson ahead of Tahir? How difficult is it to select your best and most effective players? A darty left arm container who bowls on the pads or a crafty off spinner who can bamboozle batsmen, turn the screws in a match situation and attack the opposition in a unique manner? The logic behind Rehman being the main spinner is mind baffling.
-Umar Gul has notched up 10 scalps in 5 matches at an average of just 16. Arguably Pakistan's best bowler in the tournament so far? He currently stands as one of the leading wicket takers in the tournament at this point in time. He has bowled with skill, responsibility and firepower and could be a front line candidate to take the new ball as well now. He has shown he can control it and attack up front when the chance has been given which should give some significant food for thought for the skipper.
-There are areas and poor patches where Afridi's captaincy has been dysfunctional, unmanageable and negatively lacklustre. This includes the under reluctance to play a purposeful 7-4 combination, take incentive and seize the initiative by flexibility in the batting order, failing to push for Ajmal's inclusion in the starting line up, misusing the referral system unnecessarily or childishly and being incapable to control proceedings on the field when the heat is on and everything is not coming easy. This could be a front line downfall as highlighted previously before the tournament. The talisman needs to get a serious grip and share the responsibility equally with the senior men around him and utilise their highly regarded input/services as much as he possibly can or needs to because the opportunity to do well is unquestionably here and it would be rather disappointing if they fail to capitalise by being brought down within themselves.