Before the match today I had no expectations from Pakistan. The batting on paper looked wafer thin at best.
The talks of Shahzaib opening and Umar Amin at one down had me thinking that Pakistan's top five would consist of three 20 year olds, out of which two were going to play their first ever ODI.
The other 20 year old has not been playing international cricket for even a year.
All of them are immense talents but to expect that they will be winning Pakistan games like Inzamam or Younis or Yousuf used to do would be wrong.
Not much can be expected from a batting line up in which Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik are the senior most members. They are far from being what a Saeed Anwar or an Inzamam were for Pakistan.
The fact that we even got so close to Sri Lanka's total is due to the huge hearted effort of one single man, Pakistan's new captain Shahid Afridi.
At 32-4, Afridi is the last person most people want to see coming in to bat. The innings in such a state required an anchor; someone who would try and consolidate and build the innings from scratch.
Afridi had other things in mind.
He played the anchor role no doubt, but he dropped anchor like no one else ever has.
Afridi's innings was probably one of the best counter attacks in recent times.
Not only did he hold the innings together, he also ensured that Pakistan stay ahead of the run rate.
He guided both the Akmals during the two partnerships and it was evident that he knew he needed to show the way to his junior team mates.
And show he did.
In many ways he did an Inzamam today. His innings and the way he was dictating terms was just how Inzamam used to do for Pakistan.
Everyone knows how Afridi raises his game to new levels when given responsibility. We all saw it in the World T20 in 2009 when he was vice captain and payed a significant role in winning the trophy for Pakistan.
We've seen it in domestic cricket for many years where he's led the Sindh and Karachi sides with success.
But the level that Afridi raised his game to tonight was far beyond my expectations.
The well pitched regulars are aware that I'm the eternal optimist and one of Afridi's biggest fans; if he exceeded my expectations then I wonder what the regular detractors of the man are feeling like today?
Sure the team didn't win, but the only reason they even looked like winning at some stage was Afridi.
The captain has shown the way and now its up to the new comers and the juniors in the side to lift their game and play with the heart that Afridi did today.
The bowling looks settled and the fielding is showing signs of improvement; its the batsmen that need to stand up and be counted for.
And what better than to do it in the next game against India.
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