Sunday, December 29, 2019

Pakistan Cricket's Decade: The Highs 2010-19

As this year 2019 comes to an end, this decade is also drawing to a close.

This year belonged to Babar Azam. He played that one match winning ODI innings that will define him as a batsman for many years to come; he came into his own as a Test batsman ending the year with 3 centuries in 4 tests; and he ended 2019 as the only batsman in the top 6 of ICC's Batsman Rankings across formats.

This decade, however, was about the many accolades that Pakistan won across formats; the many memorable moments the team gave us despite all the turmoil that surrounds them.

We started the decade with Pakistan as the World T20 Champions; we are ending it with Pakistan as the number one ranked T20 team in the world.

We started the decade with Pakistan an average ODI team; we are ending it the same way. However in the middle of the decade, Pakistan toppled over the best in the business and won the ICC Champions Trophy.

We started the decade with Pakistan mesmerized by a new teen pace sensation; we are ending the decade with Pakistan mesmerized by a new teen pace sensation.

We started the decade with Misbah taking over as captain of the test team; we are ending the decade with Misbah taking over as Head Coach and Chief Selector of Pakistan's cricket team.

We started the decade with a season in Pakistan that had no tests played in the country; we are ending the decade with the country hosting its first test series in 10 years.

Following Pakistan cricket is no less than a roller coaster ride. The bumps, twists, and turns are aplenty, but it is the highs amidst all the lows that we all live for as there is no other feeling in this world that compares with that of the highs.

Here is my list of 10 of the greatest moments in Pakistan cricket that we witnessed over this past decade ... in chronological order ...

July 2010, Leeds
Pakistan vs Australia
Pakistan registered its first test victory over Australia in 15 years in a match they had no business winning! 1-0 down, a captain retired, a new captain in place, a young and inexperienced team, and Pakistan managed a test win as the world witnessed the emergence of a new left arm teen fast bowler from Pakistan who could have been the next big star ...

January 2012, UAE
Pakistan vs England
Up against the number one test team in the world and what does Pakistan do? Push them aside, clean sweeping them 3-0 winning each of the three tests in remarkable fashion on the back of Saeed Ajmal's and Abdur Rehman's heroics.

March 2012, Dhaka
Pakistan vs Bangladesh
Bangladesh were on course to win their first ever Asia Cup but the unlikeliest of heroes for Pakistan, Aizaz Cheema, delivered a near perfect last over of the Asia Cup Final to take Pakistan home by a margin of 2 runs!

November 2013, Port Elizabeth
Pakistan vs South Africa
Chasing 260 odd, South Africa required 20 off 18 deliveries with 6 wickets in hand. Hashim Amla, batting in the 90s, and JP Duminy were at the crease. Pakistan's magic was in the works as South Africa failed to chase handing Pakistan a 1 run win, which made them the first Asian side to win an ODI series in South Africa.

March 2014, Dhaka
Pakistan vs India
A close Pakistan vs India game is a thing of the past century and pretty much a myth for anyone born in the new millennium. But this game was closer than any in the past and it ended with not one but two sixes of the bat of Shahid Afridi when Pakistan required 10 runs to win off 5 deliveries with only their last wicket standing.

October 2014, UAE
Pakistan vs Australia
Pakistan's first test series win against Australia in 20 years! And it was quite an epic win with Australia outplayed in all departments in both the tests to give Pakistan a 2-0 series victory. I will always remember the series for Misbah Ul Haq's fastest test ton equaling Sir Viv Richard's 30-year old record (it has since been broken by Brendon McCullum).

July 2016, Lord's
Pakistan vs England
Another Misbah century, another test victory, but this one was special because of the push ups! What a celebration it was as the team paid tribute to the army jawaans who had helped train the boys in green for the tour.

May 2017, Dominica
Pakistan vs West Indies
Pakistan had never won a test series in the West Indies. This series was tied 1-1 and the third and final test was in its last few minutes with the West Indies having fought it out till the end! It was also the last test of Misbah's and Younis Khan's careers. The way it ended was simply fantastic with Yasir Shah picking up the final wicket of his final delivery of the match.

June 2017, The Oval
Pakistan vs India
After getting hammered by India in their opening game of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Pakistan were down and out. However remarkable wins over South Africa and Sri Lanka, followed by an unlikely win over England in the semi final, resulted in Pakistan reaching the final. Up against India, whom they had barely beaten in recent times, Pakistan had a herculean task in front of them. But they lived beyond everyone's expectations on the back of Fakhar Zaman's hundred and Mohammed Aamir's wickets of India's top three.

June 2019, Edgbaston
Pakistan vs New Zealand
This was just epic. Not because Pakistan won and gave themselves an outside chance of qualifying for the semi finals of the ICC World Cup 2019. Not because Babar Azam scored a career defining and match winning hundred. Not because Aamir started proceedings by clean bowling Guptill. This was epic because of the Birmingham crowd, a 25,000 strong Pakistani crowd. This was by far the best crowd experience I have ever had at any sort of event. There is truly no sight better than an in-sync passionate and energized group of Pakistanis cheering on the boys in green.

By winning the Champions Trophy and the Test Mace in this past decade, Pakistan achieved a rare of feat of winning every single ICC trophy (U19, WC, WT20, CT) and the Test Mace. Nothing short of EPIC!

You can reminisce about this past decade with all these magical moments and think that it was fabulous, or you can think of all the disastrous ones and feel that it was a terrible decade.

That is Pakistan cricket for you, best defined by Nasser Hussain's quote of the decade "Pakistan cricket at its best. One minute down. Next minute up."

Make your pitch on this post...

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6 Pitched:

  1. Blogsports said...

    Pakistan players have always been inconsistent. The nation has produced many tremendously talented players but individual talent cannot prevail so much in a team game.The batting line up in recent times has been reshuffled many times, we got old players coming in, new ones going out & many other experiments but it just doesn't seem to improve.

    There are No more fiery fast bowlers.Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, these 3 names are some of the biggest in the history of fast bowling. Such bowlers are rare to find and were gold for Pakistan in the past but the quality of fast bowlers coming through now has deteriorated. The present ones are still very capable of doing what these greats did, but they just can't instill the fear in the minds of batsmen like the 3 mentioned above.

    Pakistan is a team which can play brilliant but end up on losing side, and also play poorly and end up winning. They are really the most unpredictable team.

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  3. Maverick12210 said...

    Hi Q,

    You forgot Pakistan defeating India in an ODI series played in India 2-1.

    That was also a key highlight of this decade for Pakistan Cricket team

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