Monday, June 5, 2017

Sarfraz and Pakistan play Out of the Box Cricket

"On Sunday, you will see us doing some new things, which we have not done against India previously. We will try doing some out-of-the-box things. You will see this team playing differently."

- Pakistan team captain, Sarfraz Ahmed a day before the match.

So then, what exactly did Sarfraz and Pakistan do differently? What did they do out of the box? What did they do that they had not done against India before?

Let me tell you.

India scored 117 runs in the last 10 overs. That is the second highest tally in the last 10 overs against a Test nation in the history of their ODI cricket. Not to mention that this is the highest ever for India against Pakistan.

Yuvraj Singh's fifty was the fastest fifty by an Indian in all Champions Trophy matches. It was also the second fastest fifty ever by an Indian against Pakistan and the fastest ever in the past 34 years!

It was only the 4th instance ever in the history of India's ODI cricket that their top 4 batsmen scored 50+.

Wahab Riaz' 8.4 overs went for 87 runs. That is an economy rate of 10.03, which is the worst economy rate for a Pakistani bowler against India in all ODIs. Yes, in all 128 ODIs between them no Pakistan bowler had ever completed a match with an economy rate of more than 10 ever!

Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put on 136 runs for the first wicket. This is the highest ever partnership by Indian openers against Pakistan outside the Subcontinent/UAE. The last time Indian openers put on a century partnership against Pakistan outside the Subcontinent, it was 1985. Over 3 decades ago!!!

Hardik Pandya scored 20 runs of only 6 deliveries, including 3 successive sixes off Imad Wasim. His innings strike rate of 333.33 is the highest strike rate ever for an innings in double figures in ODIs between India and Pakistan.

Every batsman that batted in the Indian innings hit at least 1 six. I do not have the stats for this, but I am sure that this is probably the first time this has happened in an ODI.

All of this is what Sarfraz and Pakistan did differently. No one from Pakistan or India had experienced anything like this ever before in the history of ODI cricket between the two nations.

Sarfraz was absolutely right when he said we will see things that they had not done against India before.

We saw them for sure.

I also have a few questions for Sarfraz, regarding what he thought "Out of the Box" cricket really meant?

Was it when you decided to keep Junaid Khan out of the 12?

Was it when you decided to include Wahab Riaz in the playing XI?

Was it when you decided to keep the only man who smashed 6s and played a match winning inning in the warm ups out of the XI?

Was it when you decided to bowl first after winning the toss?

Was it when you decided to persist with Imad Wasim at the start when the new ball was doing a little and not go for pace?

Was it when you persisted with Imad after the rain break when the batsmen had to get their eye in again?

Was it when you brought back Wahab after Aamer and Hasan had bowled beautifull for 6 overs for 16 runs in the middle overs?

Was it when you thought it was wiser to continue with Wahab when Malik amd Hafeez couldve quickly bowled 3 overs to finish a quota of 9?

Was it when you had a resigned look and felt indifferent about taking a review for an lbw that your bowler insisted on being plumb?

Was it when your batsmen knew the total was out of reach maybe the message should've been to improve the NRR a bit than to go for broke?

You know I was never a fan of Misbah or Azhar the ODI captains. But at least they didn't talk big when they knew their team was limited in skill.

Maybe I got sucked into all this big talk before the match, maybe I had higher expectations of this team than one should have, maybe I was so engrossed in the Pakistan vs India euphoria that I did not realize what a bad ODI team Pakistan are and India would walk all over us.

Thank you Sarfraz for thinking "out of the box" and giving us the second largest defeat (in terms of runs) to India ever in ODIs!

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