Saturday, June 13, 2009

What Worked for Pakistan

Everyone knows that Pakistan always do well when they have their backs to the wall; tonight's do-or-die situation, which could have seen them out of the World Twenty20, brought out the absolute best in them.

Everything clicked for them. Absolutely everything!

Here's a quick list of things that resulted in Pakistan's outstanding performance tonight.

  1. Salman Butt. Its amazing how one less Butt on the field can significantly enhance the fielding performance of the team.

  2. Abdul Razzaq. What an outstanding comeback. He led the attack with aplomb, provided early breakthroughs, and was also the reason why Umar Gul was so potent today.

  3. Umar Gul. Its no secret that Pakistan look to bring him on in the 13th over to bowl straight through at the death. He did it in the 2007 tournament and also in T20 internationals following that.

    The bad starts by Tanvir and Yasir in previous games did not allow Younis to do that, and Gul ended up bowling much earlier than desired. Razzaq's performance today allowed Gul to be kept for the later stages, and he turned out at his destructive best!

    He bowled fast, bowled crushing yorkers, managed best bowling figures in a T20 international, and got a first ever 5 wicket haul in a T20I.

    All that keep him at the top of the leading wicket takers of all time in T20Is.

  4. Shahid Afridi. He never fails to impress on the field. Another boom boom performance with the ball; what stood out today though was that catch to dismiss Styris.

    Has to be one of the best catches I have seen. And surely the best by a Pakistani.

  5. Discipline. No extras, fielding was spot on, they stopped the boundaries, caught their catches, and even caused run outs! Again, what one less Butt can do to the enthusiasm, passion, and commitment.

  6. Opening. They got their best start of the competition and it was also due to the absence of one certain (surpise surprise) Butt at that position.

  7. Shahzaib Hasan. He just took to the bowling the way he's done at the domestic level and showed everyone why Rashid Latif and Younis Khan spoke so highly of the boy.

    Definitely the kind of T20 opener Pakistan needs. Not too much technique though, but extremely effective and exactly what is required for 20-20 cricket. The Butt can keep the bench warm.
Before I sign off, a few concerns.

Pakistan tweaked around with their batting order to improve their net run rate; that could come into play if New Zealand beat Sri Lanka, which doesn't look likely though.

Giving confidence to Razzaq and Afridi was also important as their form in the lower middle order will be critical in the coming matches.

However, I strongly believe that much should not be expected of Afridi with the bat. He should bat lower in the order; after the likes of Fawad Alam as well.

Razzaq at 3 should work. He can take any attack apart on his day and an out of form Malik will be better off at 6, with Younis and Misbah in between.

At the end, Pakistan lives to fight another day in the Super 8s.

Ireland also presents a do or die situation, and we all know what Pakistan does when faced with that!

Make your pitch on this post...



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20 Pitched:

  1. Naked Cricket said...
     

    Go Party! You're in the semis, Ireland's gonna be ripped apart.

  2. maza786 said...
     

    What a convincing victory from the boys. Umar Gul is a yorker machine !

    Afridi's catch was the highlight of the day !

  3. maza786 said...
     

    Earlier Wayne Parnell was outstanding as RSA beat WI in a tight encounter.

    RSA are looking an invincible outfit and undoubtably the tournament favourites.

    On the whole a gr8 day of t20 action under gr8 weather !

  4. maza786 said...
     

    Naked cricket, lets not get carried away because lets remember 2007 WC when they (IRELAND) beat Pakistan out of the Caribbean canrnival.

    Nevertheless we shall beat them and be in the semi finals. I reckon Umar Gul is the best t20 bowler in the world at the moment.If he maintains this strength he could be a strong contender for player of the tournament.

  5. Leela said...
     

    Congrats Q!
    What a performance by Pak.
    I hope Team Ind was watching, and get inspired.
    :-)

  6. Stani Army said...
     

    Butts were made for the bench Q.

    Cannot wait for the Ireland game. I just hope it don't rain......and Ireland turn up.

  7. 12th Man said...
     

    Someone picked Gul as the leading wicket taker in the tipping competition.

    Not without reason :)

  8. raj said...
     

    Q, after the loss to england, I remeber this xomment space. There was shit thrown at younis and others. I said we need pakistani flair in the second round. Even you said you weren't sure they desreve it. Yesterday showed why notions of deserving shouldn't have place here. Pakistan were always capable of this. That is why they deserve to be here ahead of netherlands. That is why we must not get romantic and support underdogs like ireland. Sure they manage 1 win per tournament against big nations but then, is the tournament enriched? Just imagine, if the draw of groups favoured the big nations and aussies were here ahead of irelnd, wouldn't the tournament be better?
    This is why I rued aussiesk loss unlike the pontings who gloated at indiaks crashing out of world cup 2007.

  9. Ankit Poddar said...
     

    Q,

    you forgot me asking for the team to win, after reading your comments over at APU! how could you do it, ya?!

    Congratulations nevertheless!

  10. Q said...
     

    NC,

    That's what i was doing man! But the Irish give me nightmares.

  11. Q said...
     

    Maza,

    Yep it was extremely convincing. Good to see a lot of positives from this game and to see Pakistan play with a lot of enthusiasm.

  12. Q said...
     

    Leela,

    Thanx!! I think India will have England for dinner tonight!

  13. Q said...
     

    Stani,

    And that is where they should remain!

  14. Q said...
     

    12th Man,

    I like the fact that u had so much faith in Gul to deliver! :-)

  15. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    I'm with you man. I completely agree with what ur saying and surely it would have been better to have Australia in the Super 8s. No doubt abt that.

    Though, the shit thrown at Younis and Co. was just from the fickle minded Pakistani fans, who are as fickle as the team itself :-)

    As for me, I just asked the question, "Does Pakistan deserve it?" .. I never made that statement ;-)

    Those who know me know that my belief in Pakistan never dies!

  16. Q said...
     

    Ankit,

    Thanx! And i have a surprise for u - wait for my next post.

  17. Q said...
     

    Raj,

    I stand corrected. I just went back to that comment space and I saw my comments - I did say that we didn't deserve to qualify.

    My fickle and sorrowed mind!

    The thing is though, its always such a see-saw performance from Pakistan that such statement do come out.

    Its not always abt a loss that frustrates people. Its the way they lose.

    The warm ups, the match against England, then against SL, Pakistan never even looked interested.. there was no fight.

    If u go down fighting, I don't see many Pakistan fans not liking it.

    But usually they do down without a fight and looking uninterested. Thats what bothers most of us.

    Last night, the way they were on the field, I think it just inspired a whole nation.. all 150 million of them.

  18. Ankit Poddar said...
     

    Q,

    i did be waiting!

  19. Q said...
     

    Ankit,

    Its up!

  20. raj said...
     

    Q, right you did. That's why I highlighted it. Let me say it again - I am not in favour of minnows qualifying for later rounds. ireland and Bangladesh screwed the WC 07 with their abject super 8 performances. For all the joy the Aus-Eng-NZ axis took in Ind and Pak's misfortune, and for all Ponting's comment that Ind and Pak didnt deserve to be there, India and Pakistan in the Super 8's would have made a better spectacle. Unfrotunately, we had the ICC(secretly) and the Aus-Eng-NZ blogging world having orgasm at Pak/India being knocked out

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