Sunday, February 27, 2011

WC'2011 Pak vs SL group league match: Watching Pak after a long time

Once again pals, I can only share my match summary as posted on Facebook a while ago after the SL-vs-Pak match ended:

SL vs Pak: At last a proper WC match...where we got good batting and good bowling in both innings..Would have been a very good match with close finish if Chamara Silva would have scored more than 13 in his first 40 balls...
First the backdrop of my Pakistan review that will follow:

I was watching Pakistan today in an ODI after God knows how long..certainly more than 18 months. The last was perhaps the Ind-vs-Pak match in ICC trophy 2009 - which came after a similar previous gap.

It is no better in Tests, and perhaps slightly better in T20's. I have missed all the controversial stuff tht Pak were involved in. I missed the entire career of Mohammad Amir..except in highlights. I barely followed even Indian cricket in the last 3 years, and hence the only familiarity I have of non-India teams / players are those that played against India.

So here's my observation, again from Facebook:
Pak reminded me of old days.

Early wickets while batting , followed by great middle order work, followed by stop start final overs (inspite of having magnificent hitters)..

And then while fielding they showed variety+quality in pace & spin.......combined with good outfielding and terrible catching.

And a proud, fiery skipper who bowls brilliantly at crucial times and backs his players @ 'unforced errors' (While also getting livid when they serve up poor stuff) - almost saw reflections of another mighty Pathan lurking in Shahid today

Only change from those days: their keepers used to be ALWAYS good...(Akmal can cost them the cup)...and their pace bowling was even greater!!! [Qadir looked like a relief to most - so you imagine].

A rejuvenated Pak was much needed for the there is an outside chance of this edition becoming a bowlers' cup!! May be Afridi's..

Abdur Rehman / Shahid Afridi / Umar Gul / Akhtar can make life difficult for right handers coming their way - it is a little too much variety for 'sameness' fed right handed batsmen of today to handle over 50 overs...Sri Lanka needed their left handed opener to last today.

Some 'fresh additions', in case you think I have sold out to the dark world of Facebook:

1) Ahmad Shahzad looked like the only one capable of catching anything, just as Mr. Sania Mirza - or whatever his name is with same initials - did in matches played 8-9 years back. [Well I am being dishonest here for sake of crude humour - I rate Inzy as a good catcher]

2) In 12 WC matches over last 3 world Cups spanning across 2 other decades, Shahid Afridi pouched only 7 wickets. 2 matches into this World Cup, he has bagged nine scalps. Five of which are all to him (bowled / lbw). He also leads his team in 2011.

Compare that to Dravid's WC career who started with Shahid in 1999. Tell me you have seen any greater paradox??!!

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