Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Reason For Pakistan To Smile

In the recently concluded one day series between Pakistan and Australia, if our memories are long, Australia won the series by a margin 3-2 Pakistan won the first one day match only to lose the second and third followed by a consolation win in the fifth one day when at one time in the match they gave a hint that the result would be 4-1 favoring Australia. Anyway, Pakistan finally ended up victorious after beating the Aussies by 7 wickets despite losing three quick wickets. And in the only T20 match that was a part of the series, Pakistan had almost everything theirs for, on one side they were champions of the game compared to Australia and on the other side, Australia were not playing T20 the way they play either ODI or test cricket.

As expected, Australia crumbled for a partly total of just 108 which is as good as a 3.0 per over run rate in an ODI match. It was fascinating to see Australia have just three players who could manage to score a double digit score. The top scorer in the Australian side was opener Shane Watson who scored 33 runs. This was good only in comparison with the rest of the batsmen and not as far as the game of T20 cricket is concerned. I wonder as to how come Australia could sink so low in T20 cricket that players like Andrew Symonds, Hopes and Hussey could not lead the Aussie batting despite having made names for big hitting in international arena.

On the other hand, Pakistan could win the match without the services of the big hitting Shahid Afridi and captain Younus Khan who opted out of the match and Misbah takes over the captaincy for yet another time. For a change, Shahid Afridi was found striking with the ball bowling his regular leg spin when he is known for his big hitting that can rather be called a slog instead. Shahid Afridi is always found hitting the ball blindly irrespective of the position at which he is batting and the position his team is in. Sometimes, the ball that gets hit covers the distance and during other times, just finds the fielder.

However, off late, Shahid Afridi is found to bowl his leg spin with a wide variety that often makes the batsmen think twice before selecting a shot. Perhaps! Shahid Afridi can now think about a role as a bowler in cricket for, his blind slogging of the ball often disappoints his team rather than be of some service to the same. Until now, Afridi's varying spin bowling was limited only to minnow like Kenya and Zimbabwe. Now, he has got even the decent opposition like Australia under control with his varying leg brakes. For the first time, I can see two bowlers belonging to the same team being given the man of the match award. Probably, this has happened for the first time I guess. I remember Gibbs (RSA) & Ponting (Aus) being awarded the man of the match in the historical match where RSA chased down 434 imposed by Australia.

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