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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Battle Resumes for the Arch-Rivals

Friday, September 25th, 2009
Hard to choose the winner....

Hard to choose the winner....

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain has started the verbal-battle by saying that Sachin Tendulkar is not as threatening as he was in 2003. In that match, Sachin single-handedly demolished the Pakistan attack that included Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akthar.

India- Pak matches has always been real feasts for the spectators due to the hype it creates and the quality of players in both teams.  Pakistan had the edge in ODI’s in the 70’s, 80’s and till the mid 90’s, before the arrival of the Little Master (perhaps, the little demolisher) Sachin Tendulkar. The primary reason behind the success was their quality pool of fast bowlers, which India had lacked greatly.

Post 2000 saw the dominance of India as they evolved drastically under the helm of Sourav Ganguly.  They outplayed Pakistan in majority of the matches including India’s undefeatable run in the World Cups against Pakistan. India became much stronger after 2005 and they managed to win the majority of the matches against Pakistan. The Epic win at the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup reaffirmed India’s dominance against Pakistan.

It’s after 14 months that the arch rivals are locking their horns again and we can’t ask for a better place than the Super Sports Park at Centurion. The memories of the 2003 match will be big confidence booster for India, while Pakistan would be looking for turning things this time around. A win will not only change their fate against India at the big-stages but also seal a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

The Halt Looks Apparent For The ‘Rawalpindi Express’

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

It was one of the finest pieces of fast bowling, when Shoaib Akthar ran through several batting line-ups in the 1999 World Cup. His extensive run-up and stiff action were not the attributes of a generic fast bowler. Right from the start, he has topped the headlines of several newspapers in Pakistan, either for his on-field performances or off-field controversies.

His blistering speed has been his main weapon against his opponents. He has used it effectively against several batsmen. However, his pursuit for breaking the 100-miles speed barrier ruined his chances of cementing his place and lead to several injuries. He was banned for two years after testing positive for using Nandralone, however, was reprieved upon his appeal. After the doping saga, he couldn’t be a part of the national squad on a permanent basis, due to various reasons.

Shoaib Akthar’s exclusion from the probable list for the Champions Trophy is a clear indication that the selectors are looking forward to a group of youngsters, who would form the core of the Pakistan team in the 2011 World Cup. Though his career is virtually over, there is a remote chance of a recall, if he improves his fitness and performs at his best in the county matches.

From dusk to dawn

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Pakistan has always been mercurial since the onset of modern cricket and they will remain like that also because that volatility is their hallmark. Pakistan never lacked talented players but they lacked cohesiveness every time. However, when Imran Khan helmed Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup, which they eventually won, they played as a unit. Pakistan lacked exceptional captains like Imran after that world cup and their ordinary performances were perfect examples for their lackluster leadership. Pakistan cricket was in a real mess when Younus Khan took over the captaincy. They were flooded with different controversies which involved their key players and officials followed by the terror attacks on the Lankan players which resulted in their isolation in the cricketing world. They were never favorites right through the World T20 and their hapless outing against the England in their opening match reinforced the points of critics. After their mesmerizing performance against the South Africans, they were eager to have that silverware, which they lost 2 years back to India by a whisker. Pakistan was clinical right through the final and as Wasim Akram mentioned, they were never authoritative like this in any of their past major battles.

Sloppy beginning

At the onset Pakistan didn’t look as ominous as they were after the first round. Their hapless performance against the England had invited criticism from all corners. Lot of people questioned the attitude of Younis Khan, especially his ‘smile in adversity’. In the next match, they had to battle their heart out to overcome an inspired Ireland. The batting strength of each team who competed in this tournament was more or less same notwithstanding, the depth of Indian batting line up who have Yusuf Pathan at 8. The bowling has been the decider of this edition of T20 WC. If we look at the bowling arsenal of all the semifinalists, we can see the diverse and quality bowling options each teams’ possessed. Pakistan has clear edge over the others in this department and the final is the perfect illustration of that. They have young Aamir and the come back all-rounder Abdul Razzak to embark on the proceedings, then a resurgent Afridi in the middle overs and at the death they have the ruthless Umar Gul with his toe-crushing reverse swing yorkers.

Overwhelming Gul and Afridi

In this edition, every team tried to avoid early hiccups during the power plays. As a result of that runs dried up in the first half and the onslaughts in the final overs got them enough runs to defend. But this strategy backfired against Pakistan as their strike bowlers Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi came in the later half of the match. In the middle overs, Afridi defied width and batsmen were forced to take singles. His quicker balls and other variations were hard to read and as a result runs dried up. When Umar Gul came to ball, the slog remained apparent and the batsmen had thrown their bat at everything. This also proved to be a failure as the batsmen had no answer for his reverse swinging yorkers. Pakistan also featured some smart slow bowlers who had supported this duo. In short, we can say that the bowling was the predominant factor of Pakistan’s World T20 triumph.

Zippy Kamran

Kamran Akmal’s form at the top has been instrumental in the batting success. The Pakistani middle order had not fired all cylinders like the last year and still they managed to get reasonable scores, due to the blitz from Kamran Afridi and Shoaib Malik. The new group of young batsmen have also shown glimpses of talent, which we would see in detail in the coming future. All together the batting efforts have been on par. The fielding was also impressive as we had some breathtaking, acrobatic efforts from Afridi and Co. The only loophole was seen in giving the extra runs which they need to work hard on.

This World Cup triumph would not shed the tag of the mercurial nature of Pakistan but it would definitely heal the many wounds of a nation affected by terrorism and who keep cricket close to their heart. They have to put the same kind of performance to get rid of their volatile nature and to prove to the world that this triumph is not a fluke. That won’t be easy for Pakistan, yet it’s not impossible for the caliber of Pakistan who lost the same trophy last time in the blink of an eye.

World Cup matches moved out of Pakistan

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Pakistan has been stripped of hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup because of the “uncertain security situation” in the country, the ICC said.
“It is a regrettable decision (but) our number one priority is to create certainty and…deliver a safe, secure and successful event,” ICC president David Morgan said in a statement.
The ICC added that Pakistan was unlikely to resume hosting any cricket at all until 2011. It also said the World Cup secretariat would be moved out of Pakistan to a location to be decided by the organising committee. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other co-hosts, will now share the 16 matches that were to be held in Pakistan.

Pakistan – On the road to recovery?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I cannot recollect any major cricket team which in recent times has been through as many painful experiences as the Pakistan Cricket Team. The country seems to be dogged by trouble perennially and trouble seems to be part and parcel of Pakistan cricket too.

As much as they are our arch rivals, I can’t help but feel sorry for the Pakistan team and wish that they come out from the mess and turmoil that they are in.

The recently started ODI series against Australia has given a glimmer of hope to Pakistan. The four-wicket win against a struggling Australian side in Dubai would definitely have boosted their confidence. Shahid Afridi single handedly steered Pakistan to record their first win in the series.

Will Australia make a comeback? The second best team in the world is a force to compete with and they are sure to come back in full swing.

Meanwhile, lets enjoy the rest of the matches and see the best team win!

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