Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pakistan vs India T20 History - 10 FACTS - Full Preview To Follow

Pakistan has never beaten India in World Cups or World T20s, but has beaten them in ICC U19 World Cups, Champions Trophies and Asia Cups.

Pakistan defeated India by 5 wickets with 5 balls remaining during the warm up fixture at this very venue in Colombo 13 days before this fixture.
The two Pakistan-India games that have been played in this format were over 5 years ago. One was won by 5 runs and the other was tied with India taking the points courtesy of a bowl out.
India hasn’t won a super eight game in World T20s since 2007, losing all 3 matches in 2009 and 2010 during the second phase of the tournament and subsequently finishing last in their super 8 pool, unable to progress further in the championship.
Pakistan last beat India in a full on official international on 26th September 2009 during the Champions Trophy in South Africa.
Pakistan and India both played their first game in World T20s against each other, on the same day Rahul Dravid stepped down as Indian captain in the other formats of the game.
When they last met in this format Shoaib Malik was captaining the greens with Geoff Lawson as coach.
India in Twenty20 internationals this year: Played 8 | Won 4 | Lost 3 | NR 1
Pakistan in Twenty20 internationals this year: Played 11 | Won 6 | Lost 4 | Tied 1
Hafeez has captained in 8 Twenty20 internationals, winning 5, losing 2 and 1 will go down as tied officially (although Pakistan won the super-over)
Key Players
Nazir – On a flat track against a bowling attack which is hardly threatening, Nazir will hurt you with his fearless hitting if you don’t remove him early. In all matches up to now has fired and got Pakistan off to a flyer for the 1st wicket. His opening combination with Hafeez has been working well with them both respecting each other’s approaches in the first 6 overs with their contrasting styles. Nazir goes hard up front and likes to throw the bat around whereas Hafeez calmly starts his innings. He was runnning away with the show against them during the final in 2007, scoring 33 from 14 balls before a run out saw the back of him.
Jamshed – Jamshed scored a century against India at Dhaka during the Asia Cup match on Sunday 18th March this year in an opening stand of over 200 with Mohammad Hafeez. Jamshed has been in terrific touch for Pakistan over the last month or so. For me, what stands out is he doesn’t look to over-hit the ball and relies on good balance and good timing to earn value for his shots. He surely got a bit of an earful from coach Whatmore after an irresponsible second ball swipe in the previous match against South Africa so we can expect him to come out with a determined frame of mind.

Hafeez – The captain of the side has delivered in all matches so far, let it be with bat or ball. In hindsight appointing him captain of this side in this format has turned out to be a good move, although it was a risky one at the time. Hafeez has bowled exceedingly economically against India during the semi-final in Mohali and Asia Cup match in Dhaka, both times completing his 10 over quota. He also batted well in both games, looking in good touch, although played a daft shot in the world cup semi-final to throw his wicket away against Munaf Patel when he was going along so well.

Ajmal – The number 1 ranked bowler in this format is yet to play India in this format of the game. Ajmal was one of the better bowlers on show during the warm up match. In ODIs Ajmal has made the Indians look ordinary with 9 wickets in 5 matches. Pakistan will need a strong showing from their best player. So far Ajmal has taken 5 wickets in the competition for the first 3 games including a 4 wicket haul against New Zealand in Pakistan’s opening fixture of the comp.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pakistan vs Bangladesh History in T20Is - Prior to the WT20 2012 Game

1) Pakistan have played Bangladesh 5 times in Twenty20 internationals, winning all five

2) MOMs in the 5 matches:

2007=Imran Nazir

2007=Shahid Afridi (WT20)

2008=Misbah ul Haq

2010=Salman Butt (WT20)

2011=Mohammad Hafeez

3)  Bangladesh’s star player Shakib Al Hasan was the player of the tournament in both the 
inaugural Bangladesh Premier League and Asia Cup 2012.

4) Bangladesh have only reached the super eights once previously at the World Twenty20, during the inaugural edition in 2007

5) Pakistan have met Bangladesh twice before in WT20s.

6) It is the 2nd time in 2 WT20s that the sides will be meeting in the initial pool prior to the super eights.

7) Pakistan’s highest first wicket stand in this format came against Bangladesh during the previous WT20 clash between these two sides at St Kitts in May 2010 during their opener of the tournament. It featured Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal.

8) Bangladesh has only beaten Pakistan once, during the 1999 World Cup at Northampton in any international.

9) Former Pakistan off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq is currently serving as Bangladesh’s spin coach for a 4 month stint.

10) Both sides have had a change of coach since they last met in this format in late November with Stuart Law and Mohsin Khan no longer in charge.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pakistan at World T20 2012


Pakistan have won 12/20 matches in T20 WCs
Kamran Akmal and Shahid Afridi are the two Pakistan players playing their 4th T20 WC.
Pakistan have won 5 series and lost 5 series with 1 drawn since the 2010 T20 WC
Pakistan have played the most T20 games since the 2010 T20 WC
Pakistan have only chased above 150 once in T20s

One of the Favourites?

Jeremy Coney, Sourav, Wasim Akram and Shane Warne have all backed Pakistan's chances to lift the trophy. Pakistan fans can take plenty of hope and optimism from this. 4 successful former captains of their respective countries feel Pakistan might do it again.

Pakistan’s targets should be as follows:

1)      Reach the knock outs/semi-finals and maintain their record of being the only side to reach the semi-finals as many times as they have or even better in all 4 editions.

2)      Win at least 4 games during the competition and make their mark in the tournament and provide some memorable moments to take away from the competition for their own confidence and of course their passionate fan base

3)      Win the initial preliminary pool where they will play New Zealand and Bangladesh. Pakistan obviously should qualify for the super eights, but they top the initial group and try to go into the super eights on a high, having gone further than New Zealand and Bangladesh in the initial stages.

4)      Beat India, the old foes, in a world cup encounter which they have not done to date let it be 50 overs or 20 overs.  Overcome the mental block which should put them in better stead of delivering against them in tournaments to come down the line. Even if they do not beat them, if they can win the televised warm up encounter on the 17th of September, the day before the tournament officially gets under way, that will be somewhat of a consolidation.

5)      Overcome the semi-final obstacle which has been their undoing in the last 3 world competitions over the last 3 years.

Why we can expect Pakistan to have a successful campaign:

Experience – Pakistan have played more internationals than any other country at this level. Numerous players in their side are playing their 3rd or 4th WT20 so they know what it’s like playing in one and what they can expect and what needs to be done to have a good competition from a team perspective.

Conditions – It’s the first time the WT20 is being held in Asia and the conditions should aid the Pakistanis, particularly given they have played a lot in Sri Lanka over the last couple of years or so. This should give them an advantage and added confidence.

Preparation – Going into this WT20 Pakistan have played many in the time gap between the previous one and this one. They have just recently completed a 3 match series with Australia in familiar conditions and many of their squad members have been playing in the SLPL before that.

Spin attack – Spin will be a crucial factor during this tournament and Pakistan has plenty of choices and quality in this department. It’s Pakistan’s biggest strength and for this competition it’s a great strength to have with the nature of the wickets.

Coaching Staff – Dav Whatmore is highly qualified and experienced.  He’ll know how to perform impressively in Sri Lanka better than many. Julien Fountain has been drilling the fielding unit hard and Mohammad Akram is keen to work with the seamers as a newly appointed bowling coach. Pakistan has all the tools in the coaching unit and the players can use their services to enhance their performance.

Excuse my pessimism, but why Pakistan will not win the tournament

Captaincy change – To go into a WT20 with a captain that has only captained in 2 series was a risky move. Hafeez has credentials and has led well, but is still relatively untested. Time will tell whether continuing with Misbah would have been a better choice, but I am not going to hesitate in saying Pakistan’s chances would have been higher if they had continued with their test and one day captain in this format as well and he can consider himself unfortunate to be replaced so soon to an ICC world competition which every captain wants to lead their side in and if his performance and results are anything to do by, he deserved to lead his side in as well.

New coaching staff – You’re strength can also be you’re downfall. With so many new coaches coming in all at once it can be difficult to build a side and develop a thorough understanding as this requires time and continuity. Pakistan will be short supplied as far as this is concerned.
Group of death – Pakistan’s super 8 groups is likely to compromise of South Africa, India and Australia. Pakistan will need to be at the races during the super eights if they are to progress and they cannot afford more than one slip up. None of the 3 previous editions have been as hard as this. Pakistan will also be pushed hard in the initial 3 team group by two sides who are capable of giving them a competitive game and even beating them.
Batting Fragility – The shorter the format, the greater are the woes of Pakistan’s batting. I recently selected my fantasy side for the competition and not one Pakistan batsmen was in it. Pakistan does not possess any stand out batsmen in contrast to other countries. The talent is there, but in many cases they lack the consistency or maturity to get noticed. They have boundary hitters and attacking players and it usually makes entertaining viewing, but they struggle to control their emotions and can easily get carried away. Temperament is an issue, even in the shorter format this ‘T’ is a significant trait.
Form Guide – For a side who are supposedly pioneers of this version of the gentlemen’s game, they have not been all that impressive in the lead up to this World Cup, losing several T20 series. When Pakistan lifted the title in 2009, their form guide leading up the tournament was the opposite. Can you expect to win the competition with such indifferent results?

Won 2-0 vs. Australia July 2010 in England

Lost 2-0 vs. England September 2010 in England

Lost 2-0 vs. South Africa October 2010 in UAE

Lost 2-1 vs. New Zealand December 2010 in NZ

Lost 1-0 vs. West Indies April 2011 in WI

Won 2-0 vs. Zimbabwe September 2011 away

Won 1-0 vs. Sri Lanka November 2011 in UAE

Won 1-0 vs. Bangladesh in November 2011 away

Lost 2-1 vs. England in February 2012 in UAE

Drawn 1-1 vs. Sri Lanka in June away

Won 3-0 vs. Australia in September in UAE

Key Players

Ajmal – How many more times are we going to have to praise him? The best, most feared, most valuable player in the world. Since January 2011 he has taken 171 international wickets which is considerably higher than anyone else. Ajmal recently has over taken Shahid Afridi as the leading T20 international wicket taker. It was a disgrace to see him not short listed for ICC test cricketer of the year and ICC cricketer of the year. PCB are right to feel angry and we should support their planned boycott of the ICC annual awards dinner.

Hafeez - At any sporting capacity it is important that the captain leads by example and sets the tone. Hafeez hasn't lost any of the 2 T20 series he has captained in and has made a good start as a captain. I consider him as a nagging bowler, decent fielder, active thinker, but a mediocre batsmen. However, in this version of the game his 20s and 30s can be accepted. The best all-rounder in the side. He should try to bat the bulk of the overs and make one of the bigger contributions to the team total as the anchor role. I personally would not like to see him open, but he has opened for 2 years running now and is likely to continue, so let it be. Many left handed batsmen should dread facing him as we have seem him make some of the very best batsmen look foolish. It's admirable how he has gone from playing division 2 league cricket in Liverpool to captaining Pakistan. Hafeez is a prime example of never losing faith and rising from failure.

Afridi - Afridi is Pakistan's talisman as we all know, but he is not the force he once was with the bat and has been bowling very average this year. The former captain is recovering from injury and I am not hopeful of him having a good competition from a personal point of view. However, as the man who was player of the tournament in the 2007 edition, MOM in both the semi final and final in the 2009 one and captained Pakistan in the 2010 one, as always the expectation levels will always be high when he is playing. However, as Pakistan showed in the recent series against Australia, they are capable of coping and delivering without him and there is still life to this team when he is not around. Pakistan can take a lot of confidence from this.

Gul - Missed the 2010 T20 WC due to injury. In both the 2007 and 2009 T20 WC, was Pakistan's leading wicket taker. The senior pacer has shown signs of form and rythm which Pakistan can take plenty of heart from. If he gets the radar going,  can be unstoppable. High class bowler in this version of the game, one of the very best.

Tanvir - T20 specialist who performed impressively in the SLPL. Playing his 3rd T20 WC. Knows how to bowl at the death, vary his pace and slog them out of the park. However, a liability in the field and tends to give away plenty of extras through front foot no-balls and wides.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Timing Was Right

Yet again a South African captain sees the back of a 3rd English captain after winning a test match on away shores, leading to a resignation. Andrew Strauss stepping down on Wednesday 29th August, the day of the Paralympics opening ceremony, completed an astonishing hat-trick for Smith. It’s a testimony to his leadership skills and longevity and a product of elongated stability.
Strauss led England in 50 tests, winning 24 and drawing 15. As a player he completed his 100th test, at the place where his test career started. It was round numbers to conclude with. He lost only 3 in 14 series as captain, 13 which were full time when he was handed the job in early 2009 after the KP-Mores fiasco.
 Strauss is England’s 3rd most capped captain, behind Vaughan (51) and Atherton (54). He has led England to the 2nd most test wins as captain, behind Vaughan with 26. As a successful and capped leader, surely the Middlesex man is up there in England’s finest 4 along with Hussain, Brearley and Vaughan. His highlight will be the Ashes back to back series victories, particularly the 3 innings ones down under in 2010-11 to regain the urn after 24 years down under and taking England to world number 1 in the highest form of the game the following year on home turf.
Not only was Strauss a fine player and leader, but a good respected role model, leader of men and ambassador for the world game. After 8 English summers, debuting and concluding at Lords in his 1st and 100th, the timing was right after a declining loss of form and surprisingly poor team results in 2012. He really did take a liking to the prestigious venue and made it his own.
Next year’s back to back 10 Ashes tests are nicely set up now, with Cook and Clarke leading in their first Ashes series. Both of who have demonstrated impressive credentials up to now in the opportunities they have been given. Clarke did captain in Punter’s absence during the last Ashes test match at the SCG though, but the Ashes had already been decided by then.
He was a strong back-foot player who loved cutting and pulling and favoured short pitched bowling. Strauss worked anything on his pads away and regularly picked bowlers off if they erred in line. The England captain was a hungry performer who set high standards. His slip catching was excellent, as safe as houses for most parts.
 He will be glad that he chose cricket over accountancy and can always look back at his test record with pride. He will be wishing his long term opening partner well and will be hoping he can consolidate on his achievements and take English cricket forward. As the Sabina Park test defeat under Strauss’s regime showed, things won’t be easy to start with.
It’s been a year of big retirements with Ramprakash packing up after over a quarter of a century in the first class county game, Dravid calling it a day, VVS joining him despite being named in the squad to take on New Zealand in the 2 test match series which has just recently finished and unfortunately Mark Boucher being forced to call time on his career after a severe eye injury during a warm up fixture at Somerset prior to the test series. Some important and influential cricketers have departed this year and Strauss is certainly amongst them.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Pace Off Is The Key

Throughout the short history of Twenty20 cricket, slow bowlers have been a revelation. Pace off the ball has been a wicket taking option and also an option which controls the flow of runs. Many at first thought spinners would be dispatched out of the park when the county circuit introduced the first domestic twenty20 competition in the summer of 2003, but instead spinners have out-bowled and out-performed the pacers. Majority of the highest wicket takers and highest ranked bowlers in Twenty20 cricket are spinners at the international level. Here in sub continental conditions during the 4th international t20 championship, spin will have an important say and be the most influential factor in the tournament. This refers not only to bowling spin well, but also tackling it when holding a bat in hand. This will be the slow bowler’s World Cup. Spin undoubtedly will be the most crucial factor and aspect of the games and there are many fine bowlers and players of spin of show.

Spinners have been effective for a number of reasons. This includes, an element of complacency from batsmen to think they can take them on and hit them out of the park and in the process providing more chances for spinners to take wickets and get their confidence going. Also, generally the smartness of spinners in varying their pace and experimenting with different angles to keep batsmen guessing. Spinners have adapted to mastering the format and deserve credit for that. They bowl at a quitter passage of the game when the field is back and batsmen are content on knocking the singles which perhaps is one of the reasons the economy rates are as good as they are, but nonetheless when they bowl in the restrictions they also keep things tidy as batsmen are not used to facing them with the hardness of the new ball which tends to skid on. With the shortness of the run ups, it’s difficult for batsmen to think on their feet when attacking and trying to be pro-active as they get through their overs incredibly quickly and don’t give you much time at all in between deliveries. Some bowlers with high arm releases like Bhaji and Botha have also developed a Yorker and with their short run this can be difficult for batsmen to set themselves and counter-act it.
Twenty20 cricket is about boundaries and wickets for me. Generally the side who hits more boundaries and takes more wickets should win the game. However, it’s important to understand the importance of a dot ball, bowling as many as possible and stopping singles in the field, but also trying to reduce the percentage of dot balls when batting and playing as many scoring shots as possible to keep the scoreboard moving. In doing that, you develop a rhythm and boundaries become easier to come by. It also keeps the bowlers under some sort of pressure, knowing that runs are continuously being leaked with ease against them and the team.
 Many sides use a ‘boundary an over strategy’ where they try to find the fence at least once in an over and take singles around it. In doing that, they already achieve a productive 7 or 8 an over. Sometimes when the opponents are bowling well and are hard to get away and the percentages are not in your favour you have to hold back and restrict yourself to singles and back yourself to score boundaries and make up for it against other bowlers at different other stages of the innings.
Twenty20 cricket is about expressing yourself, its action packed eventful drama in a short time scale. Obviously, you have the license to play you’re shot and free yourself up in such a format, but it might be an idea for teams who do not play spin particularly well to hold back and play the waiting game against the spinners, trying not to give their wickets away and target the quicker men in the restrictions at the start where scoring will be a lot easier or when they come back at the back end. In doing so, they are ensuring the innings doesn’t go pear shaped and they give themselves maximum opportunity of taking advantage of the pacers where they feel more comfortable, but also ensure they limit the damage spin can do. Teams can easily counteract that by opening the bowling with spin and bowling more overs of spin and possibly playing an extra spinner in which case you have to take a few more risks if the innings is to get anywhere.
Pakistan have the best spin attack in the competition. The land of talented fast bowlers is now the land of crafty spinners. Saaed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Hafeez will form a dangerous trio between them. They are the stand out spin attack and should back themselves in these conditions. India have Ahswin and Bhaji and also Yuvraj who are 3 very different types of spinners. This will make it difficult for the batting side to adjust and they also should back themselves in such conditions. Swann is a fine bowler in this version of the game and it’s hard to keep him out of the action with his classical off spinners. Mendis of Sri Lanka could be a real threat, the mystery bowler who holds the record for the best figures in an international Twenty20 game. New Zealand are boosted with Vettori’s inclusion in this version of the game. The highly experienced slow left arm spinner is a nagging bowler and well complemented by the off spin of McCullum who is one of the best around in this format. Sunil Narine who was the player of the tournament in the IPL is running through oppositions as many mystery bowlers do at the beginning of their careers when they are the new kid on the block and largely unknown. West Indies have a magician up their sleeves. Not to forget Brad Hogg, the left arm wrist spinner who makes a come-back at 41 or his IPL teammate Johan Botha.The quality is endless and I expect spin to dominate this 20 day carnival.
I am expecting modest totals of around 140, but with the quality of spin on show, for many sides this might be more than enough.
The only concern for spinners is the weather. If they are having to grip a wet ball from a wet outfield this will be challenging to control and in the process batsmen will inevitably get some loose deliveries to put away. The weather at this time of the year is the not the most reliable and we can expect some interruptions during the course of the tournament. For spin heavy attacks, this might be a worry, but they should be prepared to face the worst.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

World T20 2012 Predictions

20 days long in duration of international cricket’s biggest Twenty20 extravaganza.
27 matches are scheduled to take place at Colombo, Pallekele and Hambantota.
12 teams are competing for the crown, 10 test playing nations along with Afghanistan and Ireland.
180 players in total are at the event.
None of the previous 3 winners will retain or regain crown. We will have a new 4th winner which is a plus side for the competition if it does happen.
I feel MJs Sri Lanka will go all the way in the men’s edition on home territory.
Charlotte Edwards England side will win the women’s equivalent which runs parallel with the men.
South Africa and New Zealand/West Indies will both reach the semi-final stage and possibly beyond.
The final semi-final place will belong to one of India or Pakistan.

Pakistan is a tough one to call. They are the most consistent Twenty20 side in this competition over the previous 3 editions, they have some experienced names both in terms of past exposure to this tournament and playing this format all over the world, favourable and familiar conditions and decent preparation to top it off, but given the group of death they have been seeded in I wouldn’t be surprised if they are eliminated at the super 8s, but if they do happen to come through that it’s just a case of delivering on the day. They are one of the contenders that can go all the way if they get through, but I wouldn’t bank on them. Pakistan will become the first side to win this world competition twice, but I don’t feel 2012 will be the year for that. Maybe they will have to wait for 2014 in Bangladesh for that to happen.

Most likely to win

1)      Sri Lanka

2)      New Zealand/West Indies

3)      Pakistan

4)      South Africa

5)      India/England

6)      Australia

 In the initial preliminary pool we are most likely to have an upset in Pakistan’s group, ‘Group D’ where Bangladesh and New Zealand will play in Pallekele along with Pakistan. Group ‘B’ where Ireland will play Australia and West Indies is another one that could potentially cause an upset.

 Final Prediction in terms of Likelihood

1)      Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand

2)      Pakistan vs. New Zealand

3)      Sri Lanka vs. West Indies

4)      Sri Lanka vs. South Africa

5)      South Africa vs. India


Initial Pools

Group A

1) England
2) India
3) Afghanistan

Group B

1) West Indies
2) Australia
3) Ireland

Group C

1) Sri Lanka
2) South Africa
3) Zimbabwe

Group D

1) Pakistan
2) New Zealand
3) Zimbabwe

Super 8s

Group E

1) Sri Lanka
2) New Zealand
3) West Indies
4) England

Group F

1) South Africa
2) Pakistan
3) India
4) Australia

Semi Finals

Sri Lanka vs Pakistan = Sri Lanka
New Zealand vs South Africa = New Zealand


Sri Lanka vs New Zealand = Sri Lanka

Leading run scorer = Kumar Sangakkara
Leading wicket taker = Lasith Malinga
Player of the tournament = Kumar Sangakkara
Most catches = MJ