Friday, June 19, 2009

Afridi Boom Booms Pakistan into the Final!

Q's Call: The team that bats first will win. I don't think either team has the batting to chase down a total, while both have the bowling to defend any kind of score.

And that is exactly what happened!

Forget the 15-20 runs they didn't get at the end, forget Shoaib Malik who could not up the tempo, forget the Umar Gul fall on the head and dropped chance, forget the Kamran Akmal blunders behind the stumps, forget the Younis Khan blunder to not bowl Umar Gul his full quota.

What mattered at the end, is that Pakistan did it!

With 23 runs required off 6 deliveries, it was still anybody's game in my view.

Especially since 1 of the 3 Pakistan strike bowlers were not bowling.

But a 17 year old held his nerve.

When I was 17, I was struggling to pass through high school and still pursuing my first love.

Mohammad Aamir was bowling Pakistan to victory in a World Twenty20 semi final!

The man of the day though, was Shahid Afridi.

In hindsight, it was a mastermind to send him up the order in the previous two games, which allowed him to get into some sort of batting groove.

And today Afridi answered all those wishes and prayers of his fans who have not been able to witness a smashing knock for quite some time.

He took the game away from the South Africans in the first 12 overs itself.

Sure Pakistan should have got more, but 149 was always going to be tough on the Trent Bridge wicket.

Afridi, Ajmal, and Gul certainly proved that.

At the end,

South Africa remain the chokers.

Pakistan remain the volatile team that have strangely shown consistency in the 20-20 game to reach their 2nd final in as many World Twenty20 tournaments.

Flair and individual brilliance trumped consistency tonight.

On Sunday, come who may, Pakistan will be waiting!

To witness the experience that I went through along with 2 bored members and a contingent of some 30 Pakistan fans cheering at the top of their lungs in an adrenaline pumping game, read the LIVE updates, right here.

Make your pitch on this post...



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45 Pitched:

  1. LiB said...
     

    Q,

    Congrats and i missed being the 31st Pakistani! ;)

    what a game, what a win!!

    The look on Younas Khan's face at the end of the match when the whole team was jumping in joy was a complete essay in itself; He knew it aint over yet and one more game to go... whatever the result of the sunday game be, the boys need to applauded..

  2. Hani said...
     

    GET INNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!

    Well played Afridi, but boy, was Akmal in a good nick or what?!! The ball was flying off of his bat!!

    I think Younis Khan should add 15 runs to his actual target before making his announcement, because they keep falling short by that margin. If he had said we're going to make 175, we would've ended up with a target of 160. Hell, he should say we're going to make 300 in the final, we'll set a target of 285 and bring home the cup.

    The bowling was good, I think Amir and Razzaq held the fort really well for the first 6 overs. How was Razzaq getting all that seam movement?..I have never seen the ball move so much so early..hmmmm..

    But I do believe that Younis lost it near the end for a little bit, when he decided to put poor Fawad Alam in. It would suck to be him, you don't get to bat and when you finally get a chance to contribute, you get carted for 15 runs. About Gul's overs, was it a miscalculation from Younis? Surely, it could not have been deliberate, right?

    We won though, can you believe it ( Q, I know you can, you picked Pakistan)?!!! We WON!!!

  3. LiB said...
     

    was Aamir crying after he bowled the last ball? i cannot picture the fireworks that mustve been going off in his brain when he was given the ball in the last over!

    his entry on the world scene is reminiscent of Abdul Razzaq's during the 99' worldcup when the world took notice of him! his attitude too is very similar to that of Razzaq's which i believe is a good thing.

    and dont feel too bad, our states when we were 17 were a lot similar, the only small difference being i had already pursued my first love! ;)

  4. LiB said...
     

    Hani,

    i dont think Gul not getting his full quota was a miscalculation, this along with why Fawad was given an over had me scratching my head too! and we wont ever findout the reasoning was behind the moves!

    and akmal yes he was timing them but everytime he poses for the camera's after hitting a six he gets out the next ball! he should really stop posing! and what was up with the 'ramesh powar goggles'!?!

  5. Hani said...
     

    LiB,

    hahaha..Romesh Powar..or as Dean Jones called him...The Riddla!!! (in case you're not a batman fan, the riddler is a very famous batman villain who wears similar glasses, i hope I didn't just offend you by assuming you don't know who the riddler is..:P)

    If Umar Gul bowling just 3 overs was not a miscalculation, then Younis must've had a brain cramp or something, surely Gul has to bowl his full quota.

  6. Q said...
     

    LIB,

    Wat a game indeed. Man that atmosphere there was tense. U should have been there. Go through the link I gave at the end to see what we went through at Time cafe..

  7. Q said...
     

    Hani,

    The bowing was always going to be good.. ur right abt the batting.. thye just couldnt get it away in the end.. but to be fair, the Saffers did bowl really well at the end.

    Abt the bowling.. what Younis usually does is he gives Malik 2 overs in the middle to account for Aamir and Razzaq, who bowl 3 each at the start but don't come back at the death.

    This time he gave the 2nd to Alam instead of Malik. Fair enough, he tried something different.

    But the blunder happened in the over after that. Instead of giving Gul the 16th, he gave it to Ajmal..

    Had he given it to Gul it would have been:

    Gul, Ajmal, Gul, Ajmal, Gul and 20 overs done.

    Since he gave it to Ajmal, Gul was never going to bowl his 4.

    I don't know why he did that, but i guess he had something in mind. It doesn't make sense though.

    Akmal was playing it sweetly.. that 6 was an amazing stroke!

    And Afridi.. how he lifted his game today.

  8. Q said...
     

    LIB,

    was he crying?

    I missed the Pak team celebrations after the final ball.. we were going crazy celebrating ourselves.. hugs, high gives, jumps, what not.. I need to relive Pakistan's celebrations.. going to utube it now..

  9. Q said...
     

    LIB,

    Thank God those red eyewears came off soon.. did u notice Misbah, he also had similar shades on his head.. never seen misbah with shades on strangely..

  10. Q said...
     

    Hani,

    We will never know why Gul did not bowl his 4 as LIB says.. though if there r some smart journalists at the press conferences they will surely ask and hopefully Younis will explain what he was thinking..

    I would have never trusted a 17 yr old with the final over, even if we needed 30!

  11. Wasim said...
     

    YK made every body shit in their pants for a while when he handed the ball to Fawad, YK likes to rub it in and likes to tease with his critics he just proved a point and shut many of his critics up who were criticizing him for not giving the ball to Fawad. He also teased with the saffers by providing them an opportunity by giving the ball to Fawad and not using Gul's full quota.

    Imagine if Fawad got hit for three sixes what could have happened but
    I think YK has bursted all the hype around the Saffers by using his youngest and most inexperienced bowlers at death and proved that Pakistani players are more talented and unnecessary hype is created for the western players.

  12. Wasim said...
     

    Q

    Told you that Shahzaib won't be able to score in finals also told you Afridi or Razaak should come at #3 so that the momentum is maintained.

    Malik played the role of an anchor and he kept on rotating the strike and kept one end intact I think that was the plan.

    South Africa's only chance was if they had attacked Razzak and Aamer but they both of them bowled beautifully and from there on I knew Afridi Ajmal and Gul will choke them.

    Pakistan played with aggression and swagger and the saffers were stunned and had no answer.

    I hope that we play with the same intensity in the finals.

  13. Chullanz said...
     

    Random pak facts #x: Pakistan is the only team which has reached all the T20 world cup finals :-)
    Congrats Pak .Let us hope this time yunis can kiss on the cup. I predict a Lanka Vs Pak final, which will generate lot of spirit among the expats

  14. Prafs said...
     

    alright Q,
    Are we onto damith vs q, round 2 for the finals then?

  15. raj said...
     

    Well, none of you deserve this gloating as much as I do, Q :-)
    None of you kept faith in them when they lost to England so I appropriate this performance for myself :-)

  16. khansahab said...
     

    Malik needs to be dropped for the final.

    His batting caused Pakistan to score 25-30 runs less than their target.

    It just shows what incompetence and lack of planning is plaguing the team, that Malik is sent early and plays for himself, affecting the team's morale and making people feel worried about a prospect of defeat. With better batsmen like Younis, Misbah, Fawad and Razzaq to come after him, there was no need for Malik to play that dumb and counter productive knock.

    If Younis wants to prove that he can give chances to youngsters, he needs to make Fawad bat in Malik's position. Then we will see how crucial Malik really is to the team. How dumb of Younis Khan to make Fawad bowl in such a situation when Fawad has had no match practice of bowling in the entire tournament. They all know he is a batsman mainly, but they also know he can replace any of them, particularly Malik because of Malik's struggling form and question mark over his Test status.

  17. Zag said...
     

    I think YK used Fawad cuz spinners were effective....

    Hopefully, Shahzaib is gonna score some quick fire runs in final.

  18. karachi khatmal said...
     

    Q - keep the faith man, especially after the start everyone i know was pissing on the team - reading khansahib's comments, it appears some still are...

    i don't know what the final is going to hold, but whatta victory for now. afridi - vintage rock star. congratulations to all pakistanis :D

  19. Anonymous said...
     

    PAKISTAN!!!! ZINDABAD!!!!!.... well played PAKISTAN.... even though PAKISTAN made through the finals.... but still didnt understand the 15th over gamble... NOW WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT...... anywazzzz WE DID IT... AND AWAITING FOR EITHER SIDE WHO EVER WINS TODAYS MATCH.....

    NB: "Q" I REALLY ENJOY UR BLOGS.. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK... IT HAS REALLY ENHANCED MY CRICKETING KNOWLEDGE

  20. Q said...
     

    Wasim,

    u were right abt Shahzaib.. I didn't expect him to score much either.. but then he's the best T20 opener we have in the squad..

    I also think Malik initially played to plan but he failed to capitlize.. at the end the onus to hit was on YK and Razzaq but the Saffers bowling was too good at the death.

  21. Q said...
     

    Chullanz,

    That is fact for sure! :-)

    Lets see who comes out on top today, its a tough one to call, but whoever it is, Pakistan will be waiting.

  22. Q said...
     

    Prafs,

    If it is a Pak v Lanka then I say bring it on Damith! ;-)

  23. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    You have done for us what Sunil Gavaskar did for Pakistan in 1992!

    Keep that faith up man!

  24. Q said...
     

    Khansahab,

    I don't think Malik can be dropped for the final, simply because there is no one in the squad to replace him. U can't play Butt or Ahmed instead of him cos they will not be any good in the middle order. U can't bring in a bowler cos that doesn't make sense and slightly weakens the batting.

    What Younis should look to do is bat himself or Misbah at 4.. I won't mind seeing Malik batting lower down..

    I do think he did well in the beginning giving the strike to Afridi, but he just couldn't accelerate when it was required.

    Lets hope he does better in the final.

  25. Rayden said...
     

    Q - Remember I said the team that loses in the warm up match between India v Pak will go on to win the World Cup. My prediction is coming true.

    Also just a quick observation - The Indians on this blog always maintained Pak would win or reach the finals. The Pakistanis on this blog trashed the team after it lost to England. Looks like the Indians have more faith in the Pak team than this Pakistanis :-)

    Anyways congrats to Pakistan team for reaching the final. I hope it is Pak vs SL in the final.

  26. Q said...
     

    Zag,

    I didn't have a problem with Alam bowling.. my problem was why gul was not given the 16th over?

    At the end it didn't matter, but I would like to know what YK was thinking..

  27. Q said...
     

    KK,

    Congrats to u too man.

    my faith is up buddy.. always optimistically confident.

    I was fine even with the 149 they got.. knew it would be enough :-)

    Fingers crossed for the finals.

  28. Q said...
     

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for your comment. Glad to know that u enjoy Well Pitched.

    Pakistan zindabad!

  29. Q said...
     

    Rayden,

    I remember ur call man. How right u were or will be soon hopefully.

    And ur right abt the Indians keeping their faith in Pakistan... thank u guys.

    As for us Pakistanis, we are just a fickle lot ;-)

  30. Wasim said...
     

    Q

    How many boundaries YK hiy during the last five overs?

    I think it;s unfair not to accept the role Malik played in anchoring the innings he struck two boundaries after Afridi departed and was taking the initiative the biggest thing is when he got out 10 runs/over would have taken us to 170 and as you said that the saffers bowled beautifully in the last five overs so their is nobody to be blamed.

    Those who think Malik can be dropped they can continue to day dream.

  31. khansahab said...
     

    Those who think Malik should not be dropped, they can also continue to day dream. If he is not dropped he should be batting below Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal. Let him bat in the position where he used to bat when he started playing international cricket. I think that position is missing him.

    I hope Younis can think intelligently and send himself, Misbah or Fawad at no 3, so that someone can "anchor" like how a T20 innings should be anchored. There are only 120 balls, there is no need to play selfishly and put the team down. Even guys like Razzaq and Afridi can bat better at no 3 and 4. Malik is only concerned about his average, which always loiters around 30's. If Younis or anyone else were concerned about their batting average it would be in the 60's. That shows Malik's worth as a player and that is why he needs to be dropped asap.

  32. LiB said...
     

    Hani, i know who the riddler is, and if im not mistaken for the third installement of christopher nolan batman series we will have him pitched against the dark knight! and let me go on record and say Batman is the only superhero who looks cool with a underwear on top of his tights! ;)

    Q, im sure it was tense but totally worth it in the end.. and yes i did notice the red goggles on Misbah as well, prolly it was one of those 'buy one get one free' things!

    khansahab, i dont usually participate in arguements on blogs especially the ones that border on the extreme end of "fazooliat"... you say drop Malik from the final, what i also would have liked to know from you is who exactly should replace Malik in the final? now dont give a name just for arguments sake, back it up with proper and sound arguement!

    you also go onto say Malik's batting cost us 25-30 runs, i beg to differ! yes true that he could not launch himself in the later part of his innings like he shouldve, but he played the perfect anchor role when Afridi was batting. Give the guy credit where it is due!

    Those 20-30 runs that you are talking about were lost due to the excellent bowling by the saffers and not primarily because of Malik or Razzaq or Younas!

    i am not a Malik fan in anyway and the comment section of this blog can vouch for the fact that all along i have been worried about Malik's and Misbah's batting form! but i strongly believe yesterday Malik played a crucial innings, he just could not finish it off in style!

  33. khansahab said...
     

    Lib

    Malik is not hitting the ball properly. The reason why I said he should be dropped is because if he is not dropped, he will be sent in to bat at some stage, even if only to face a few deliveries and he will waste balls. If Younis does not do that it will be like insulting a former captain and senior player who is a mafia head in the team.

    T20 is such a short format that you can't say, "It was a good innings to begin with but in the end it could not be executed properly". Either it's a good innings or it is not. Today Jayasuria tried to play this silly anchor role and look what happened, they couldn't even go past 160. If there are batsmen like Younis, Misbah and Fawad Alam to come, a player like Malik should let them consolidate because they are simply better players than him.

    I am telling you if Pakistan keeps up with this stupid strategy of sending Malik to play this so called "anchor role" they will not make more than 160, if Malik ends up playing more than 20 balls.

  34. Q said...
     

    Wasim, Khansahab, LIB,

    I believe that Malik played his role in anchoring the innings.

    Where he failed in my books was in increasing the tempo once Afridi left and leaving it to YK and Razzaq - it was always going to be difficult for new batsmen.

    Plus the Saffers did bowl really well at the end.

    I have maintained that Malik has not been at his best in this tournament.. his timing has been off, and he has looked out of form.

    Though I do not agree with the fact that he has played selfishly or done so to increase his average or anything like that.

    It is only a case of not being in the best of form.

    Having said that I do think it should be YK and Misbah batting at 4 and 5.

    If its the last 5-6 overs then Razzaq and Alam should come before Malik.

    If wickets fall before that then Malik is the man for number 6.

    Thats my take on it.

  35. Wasim said...
     

    Q

    The partnership between Malik and Younis Khan remained for 3.3 overs in which 29 runs were scored @ 8.28RPO Malik scored 16 and YK scored 12.

    RAzzak and Younis scored only 24 runs in the last 4 overs @ 6 rpo and we all know why the saffers bowled beautifully in those four overs.

    I don't think Malik is out of form, yeah he might be upset and might be feeling som epressure because of some stupid jingoistic criticism from some quarters and also from Qadir.

    Imagine he was cospiring against players when he was captain himself and he was agains conspiring when he is at mercy of YK. "Baaqi sab doodh key dhulay huay hain."

    I think the team played as a unit after a long time, and at this stage we should discourage any fickle minded jingoistic propaganda.

  36. khansahab said...
     

    Malik only came into the team because of his ethnicity. Who else can make this guy averaging 29 in first class cricket, play Test matches? Only paindoos can do that and support that. Give me on example of a player who averages under 30 in first class cricket out of all the top 8 Test sides, and has been made to play Test cricket as a specialist batsman. Only in Pakistan can something like this happen because the majority in Pakistan think about giyareen and stupidity before they think about merit.

    How laughable, that these people bring out arguments of "jingoism" if their player is not hitting the ball properly.

    Qadir is a Punjabi, but maybe he is not thaite Punjabi, so obviously his view will be considered as "jingoistic".

  37. Atif said...
     

    Wasim/ Lib,

    I completely agree with your thoughts on Malik.

    Khan,

    i agree he's not been performing during the tournament but yesterday he played the innings that was required. When he came on we had 2 new players at the crease, had he got out he would have been cursed on trying to hit the ball hard when Afridi was present.
    Plus, if he got out after Afridi when YK came in, he would still have been cursed cuz that would have again left 2 new batsmen at the crease(Raz and YK), crucially at the death..and as Lib pointed out..Malik and YK still maintained a RR of 8.2 which was pretty ok.
    If we still chose to ignore the above, i'd like to see the answer to the question Lib posted.. who would you rather have in place of Malik ? Plus, Malik has safe hands (which is a rare talent in the Pak side), u dont want to have salman butt who would consume more deliveries and drop dilshan.

    What i feel we should be talking about is, is YK the right person to have at the end of the innings ? i saw his bat twist in his hands twice when he played his shots.. agreed the Saffers bowled brilliantly but he got 2 full toss deliveries which he played with all his might..and could muster only singles on them. We need power hitting at the end, we need Misbah..if a bowler bowls a certain length and does not get hit he will continue to bowl there.. unsettling the bowler is important and misbah is better at that..but sadly, YK will never promote Misbah or fawad before him.

  38. Atif said...
     

    Without exageration, i recieved 8 sms's when YK handed ajmal the bowl in the 16th over, and no prizes for guessing what they said... and the word "blunder" was used by each one of them..

    Most of the people i was watching the match with and was in touch with over the phone boasted of their immense knowledge of the game by pointing out how it should have been..5 over remaining, Gul had 3 overs and Ajmal had 2. can it get any simpler ? even anybody who has NEVER played cricket knows what to do, but our fellow paki's think Younis missed it.. and my question is how ?

    Have we seen YK wait till the 14th over to introduce Gul before ? this was done so gul could run through 14.16.18,20..he wanted gul to bowl the last pressure over as well, doesn't it fall into place that something changed and YK had to alter his plan ?
    Younis has played more Int'l matches than many of us have ever played with the soft ball in our parking lots for god's sake, give the guy a break !

    Rather than waiting for the reason to come out we continue to doubt the captaincy skills of our skipper. I am not a big fan of Younis's captaincy skills, but i fail to accept that he missed it here.

    Q,

    As you have already written, there is something about younis which we fail to understand, but it's just clicking, so atleast I would sit back, pray to God, and trust in Younis..

    God bring glory to Pakistan !

  39. Q said...
     

    This is what Younis Khan had to say about that "blunder":

    "I'm flexible (in my decisions)," said Younis. "Fawad Alam hasn't really got a chance (in this tournament) to prove his worth. So I gave him an over. I also wanted to give Umar Gul some rest because he had a nasty fall in the match."

    Hence he knew what he was doing. He did not mis-calculate, he did not get his counting wrong. He did not give Gul the 16th knowingly..

    It was a gamble no doubt, but I don't know many captains or players who would have done that..

  40. Q said...
     

    Wasim,

    As I said, I acknowledge what Malik did, though I would have liked to see him accelerate more.

    As far as calls to drop him.. I feel they are uncalled for. The team is playing like one and all I would like is for all the fans to stand as one behind the team.

  41. khansahab said...
     

    Atif

    I accept your clarification. However I don't feel Malik has played a single decent knock in the tournament.

    If it was an ODI then I would have said it's a fairly decent knock.

    Pakistan had such a good batting line up and they had better players than Malik. You can't deny that if Misbah, Younis or Fawad had survived 40 balls, they would have made many more runs. Look at Younis's performance in this Cup, he has come to bat from the first over but has kept the runs flowing.

    As for "dropping" Malik is concerned, I have already stated that if Malik is in the team he will be sent early because if he is sent late, it will be considered as insulting his status plus Younis does not want to be unpopular with Malik's friends in the team. In my opinion his contribution has been negative, so I would get anyone, from Butt to Rao to play in his place. At least they will not eat 35 or 40 balls every match.

    Fine if Pakistan only had Younis and Misbah, I would back Malik to play slow like that, but they had Razzaq and Fawad too.

    It's a stupid argument to say that Younis and Razzaq were batting slow, hence Malik's approach is justified. Firstly, both of them played more swiftly than Malik. Secondly when Afridi was batting the confidence of South African bowlers was so low that it was easy pickings for the batsmen. It was easier to accelerate and pick the gaps at that stage.

    There has been a pattern in this T20 that not that many runs have come in the last 4 overs because bowlers have bowled yorkers and field settings have been good. So the runs are better off being scored sooner rather than later.

  42. Wasim said...
     

    Only a fickle minded Jingoistic idiot would ask to drop Malik after he won four straight T20 domestic titles and was Pakistan's best domestic T20 player in the last RBS t20 tournament.

    We all know who hurls criticism for the sake of criticism on certain players and then suggest the names of his own girayeens in their place.

    What has Fawad Alam accomplished on the international scene so far? yeah you can call him Fawad the feilder pray that YK keeps on hiding him down the order and keeps his reputation alive, talking of averages an average of 30 is far superior than an average of 12 which your cricket god could muster in last two years.

    And as I said once before if all the village idiots in the world make a village of their own you can easily become their leader.

  43. khansahab said...
     

    First village idiots need to be removed from PCB so Fawad can be given a chance and then we will see what he can accomplish. Fawad has been Pakistan's best domestic batsman for 3 years. At domestic level there is no comparison between him and Malik. Malik is just a T20 player, Fawad is a proper batsman. You are either dumb or blind if you can't see that. How can you claim to know about cricket if you can't understand the difference between a proper batsman and a nothing player?

    I feel like I am talking to a 10 year old whose lollipop has been snatched. It is this immature and village mentality that made players like Malik be selected.

    To be honest I think villagers would choose you over me anyday of the week. You have much more in common with them- from your thoughts, style of writing, quality of English etc. Educated people of your own giyareens feel that way, although they will not express it. Out of decency even I don't say it but there has to be a limit to how biased or idiotic someone can be!

    Watch this video at 1:08 and see Malik's reaction and how he is shitting his pants:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Cr6KQ1zsdM

  44. Wasim said...
     

    My lolly pop is in your mouth, you like it so I don't mind.

    That is why you keep on following me where ever I go.

    The definition of an ignorant idiot according to a hadith is " that they know that they are wrong but still continue to do the wrong." So be a jahil.

    But rest assured in the SriLankan Tour Fawad will be the water boy.

  45. Q said...
     

    Alright guys,

    Time to put differences aside and stand up as one in supporting Pakistan tomorrow :-)

    Malik will obviously play, so lets support him.

    Someone mentioned somewhere that Pak will not score more than 160 if malik comes up the order..

    Well 160 has been a winning total in this tournament, and if Pakistan get that tomorrow, u can be sure of victory.

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