Monday, May 25, 2009

RBS 20-20 Kicks Off: Shoaib No Shows, Younis Hits Form, Imran Nazir Returns!

The first day of the RBS 20-20 Cup in Lahore witnessed Pakistan's ICL players returning to 20-20 cricket with a bang, while the Pakistan team members warmed up for their ICC World Twenty20 campaign.

The 13 team tournament kicked off today with 5 league games in Lahore.

As was reported earlier, Shoaib Akhtar did not turn out for the Islamabad Leopards. His genitals are probably still hurting and maybe someone forgot to tell him that painkillers do no good to warts in strange areas.

Coincidentally it was the same man who replaced Shoaib in Pakistan's World Twenty20 squad that captained the Leopards - Iftikhar Anjum.

Pakistan's captain, Younis Khan, leading the Peshawar Panthers in the competition, was the pick of the batsmen on day 1 as he played a belligerent knock of 70 runs off only 46 deliveries against the Leopards.

That was a welcome innings from the Pak skipper who has been struggling for runs of late in ODIs and 20-20 cricket. It couldn't have come at a better time with the World Twenty20 round the corner.

Imran Nazir, undoubtedly Pakistan's biggest star in 20-20 cricket who caught the world's imagination with a whirlwind century in the ICL final, returned to domestic cricket in Pakistan in a way that only Imran Nazir can.

He smashed the Karachi Zebras bowling to all corners of the Gaddafi Stadium in an unbeaten 68 off only 38 deliveries that included 5 sixes and 6 fours.

His effort led the defending champions, Sialkot Stallions, to an easy 8 wicket win over the Zebras as they chased down 133 with over 7 overs to spare.

The Stallions' captain, Shoaib Malik, was the pick of the bowlers with 3-25 in his 4.

Shahzaib Hasan, the 19 year old who was recently picked in Pakistan's World Twenty20 squad and is rated highly by Younis Khan, was bowled off the first ball of the Zebras' innings.

Saeed Ajmal, celebrated his clearance from the ICC with a top bowling effort for the Faisalabad Wolves, in which he conceded only 13 runs off his 4 overs and picked up 1 wicket.

The Wolves' skipper, Misbah, was missing from action for reasons that I have no idea about.

Mohammad Hafeez captained the Wolves in Misbah's place and came out with the performance of the day. His 74 runs led the Wolves to 218-2 in their 20 overs, and then he returned to destroy Quetta with his off spinners and ended with remarkable figures of 3-5 from his 4 overs.

Another ICL returnee to the ranks today was Abdul Razzak who captained the Lahore Lions and led them to an easy 8 wicket win over the Rawal Pindi Rams. Razzak did well with the ball picking up 2-28 in his 4 overs.

Sohail Tanvir, captaining the Rams, failed with both bat and ball. He came to bat at first drop and could manage only 7 runs, while his 2 overs cost him 20.

For the Lions, both the Pakistan openers - Salman Butt (30* off 24) and Ahmed Shehzad (28 off 32) - were among the runs, while discarded opener Nasir Jamshed played a little cameo knock off 32 off 17 deliveries.

I still don't get it what Nasir is not in the World Twenty20 squad.

In other news, while keeping for the Lions, Kamran Akmal managed to hold on to 1 catch and also effected a stumping. News is that he did not drop any, nor did he concede any byes.

Make your pitch on this post...

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15 Pitched:

  1. Rayden said...

    Is Ten Sports covering the RBS 20-20?

    "ICL Pak players back with a bang" - why am i not surprised. They looked like beating the national side all the time.

  2. Q said...

    Not in the UAE.. don't know about elsewhere. In Pakistan its being covered on GEO Super.

    Imran Nazir's was a typical innings.

    I think Pak made a mistake not incl. him in the WC squad.. though maybe their hands were tied by the ICC.

  3. LiB said...


    hands tied by the ICC or to please the BCCI!?!

    when so many other boards are welcoming there players back (via amnesty), why does the PCB have to take a case-by-case route?!?

    i was actually waiting for a post of yours on Pakistans T20 team and there chances to bring this up ..

    the only issue i have with the Pakistani team for the T20 world cup are the openers... they are just not the type who will give you a rollicking start or take the attack to the bowlers in the firt 6 overs and it worries me!

  4. Q said...

    LIB: I agree spot on about the openers.. Butt and Ahmed are not 20-20 openers by far...

    Imran Nazir needed to be there..

    But then no other team has incl any ICL players either..

    I don't think Pak is going to do a case by case thing.. Yousuf is probably gng to be there for the PAk-SL tests..

    I guess all the ICL players are free to play now..

    But the prob, when announcing the squad was the deadline.. the ICL players were made eligible or free after the 20-20 WC squads were announced.

  5. LiB said...

    Q, but werent 3 ICL players included in the initial squad? PCB shouldve persisted with them instead of ignoring them when the final squad was announced!

    and as far as the opening dilemma is concerned i say open with Kamran Akmal..what that does is that atleast from one end you will have someone who will play his shots and it also opens up place for someone like Fawad Alam in the lower order! what say!?!?

  6. Q said...

    LIB: persistence isn't something the PCB is known for sadly.. they know how to create a storm, but they never live up to it.

    The incl the 3 ICL players and then buckled when ICC said the fate of the ICL players will be decided at a later meeting, which unfortunately was after the squads were to be announced.

    They did the same on the IPL.. gave a statement that the players shud be allowed to play, and then buckled again.

    They need more balls in there.

    As for opening with Akmal.. makes sense..

    I was actually thinking abt Afridi. Why not give the opening back to him. Even if he fails, he does enough with the ball so no one will go for his neck. And he wont waste deliveries like Ahmed or Butt...

    Akmal at 1 drop or 2 drop.. that way we fit in Alam as well..

    I wouldnt mind opening with Akmal either..

  7. LiB said...

    Opening with Afridi, the thought dint cross my mind,i wouldnt mind it either but one person would; that person being Afridi himself, hasnt he on many occassions expressed his reluctance to open?

    But you are right 1 or 2 down is a more apt position for Akmal, we need a hitter between Younas and Malik and they play the anchor role ...

    and forget about wasting thinking here wasting overs between Butt and Shahzad (his strike rate today was 87.50 on a Gaddafi Stadium Pitch)!

    and as far as the PCB are concerned, the less spoken about them the better!

  8. Stani Army said...

    Q, How do you know so much about pain killers and warts?

    News Flash, Misbah has warts!

    What the hell's happened to Tanvir. Confidence, must be lack of confidence. I guess that's what happens when you drop guys for no reason.

    Agree about Jamshed. Butt should not be in the T20 WC squad.

    LiB, If we had stuck with our ICL players, everyone would have s**t themselves. India definitely would have objected as we already have the best T20 International record anyway. We could put 11 all-rounders in our T20 team. This game was made for us.

    Agree with you about Akmal as possible opener but I think Alam wouldn't get in our strongest 11 as he is no better than any of our current spinners or current batsmen.

  9. Captain^ said...

    Agree on the openers part, but Pak has always stuck to its own way of going about the T20.. they dont blast from the word go.. even in the last T20 world cup, we started most of the games slow..built upon the momentum and went crazy in the last 5 overs

    we dint score badly then, except in the final i guess (where Pak actually tried to attack right away)

    We dont have T20 openers, but one of Salman or Jamshed would be required to hold the end, that's how Pak approaches the T20 game.. pairing one of them with Afridi is a good choice cuz:
    -he plays as a bowler who can bat rather than the other way round
    -he hasnt scored MUCH in the recent past, no expectations so it wouldnt hurt even if fails to fire

    Lib: Afridi has expressed his willingness to open, but the board thinks otherwise

    The ICL players were initially included, but the ICC intervened (on the insistence of the BCCI ofcourse) and they decided that the players will need to cut off ALL ties with the ICL to be eligible for the squad, plus i heard there's also going to be a one-year cooling period before the player can actually represent the national side.

  10. Q said...

    LIB: Afridi expressed his reluctance at having a floating role in the batting order.. his stance has always been that if u want him to open, he will do it, but then dont push him down the order if he fails once or twice. He wanted a confirmed position in the batting line up for the sake of his sanity.

  11. Q said...

    Stani: warts don't hurt, do they? hence I just assumed pain killers won't help em much.

    The news today is that the PCB barred Shoaib from playing in the RBS 20-20.. they told the Islamabad CA that if Shoaib was to play he would be violating his central contract. Hence Shoaib is out of it.

    Don't know whats wrong with Tanvir.. maybe he needs a Warne to tell him how good he is.

    Fawad Alam has been one of the best domestic performers for the last 2 seasons.. he's one of the very few batsmen who average close to 50 in all forms of the game.. he deserves a chance..

  12. Q said...

    Atif: agree abt Pakistan's strategy regarding T20, but remember Imran Nazir almost single handedly won us the final in 2007, if it weren;t for Younis who ran him out.

    But you are right abt the attack in the end, but the openers are essential. Strangely Jamshed is not in the WC squad.. Butt and Shehzad are and shehzad doesn't cut it as a 20-20 player.

    Though I hear Younis is looking to open with the 19 yr old Shahzaib Hasan, who he reckons can rip apart any bowling attack.

  13. Captain^ said...

    i read somewhere that Fawad Alam has had one of the Top Batting Averages in the domestic circuit, very good bowling average and a strike he's a useful fielder.

    yes, he does deserve a chance

  14. Q said...

    Atif: thats true. Fawad's first class average is better than Malik's, Misbah's and even better than that of Younis and Yousuf.

  15. Anonymous said...

    ...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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