Men in Green

Pakistan is the first team to have reached the semi-final in the ongoing Cricket World Cup 2011. On Wednesday, the men in green beat West Indies by 10 wickets after bowling them out for 112 runs. Pakistan seems to be peaking at just the right time. Our initial performances were not confidence inspiring but later on we have improved and are playing like a real team. The team spirit under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi is soaring. Afridi’s innovative captaincy inspired him to give the new ball to Hafeez against West Indies and it worked wonders. The West Indies’ side is known to struggle against spin and that is what we saw on Wednesday. South Asian wickets are generally good for spin bowling. Pakistan has plenty of spinners in its side and Afridi himself has been the highest wicket-taker so far in the World Cup. He is bowling a lot of top-spinners and googlies, which is bamboozling the batsmen. But there is no room for complacency now that we have beaten Australia to be the top team in our group matches and then West Indies in the quarterfinal. Our batting so far has been average. Our top order has not fired and the middle order is struggling. Usually reliable batsmen like Misbah and Younis Khan have not performed as well as they could have. Afridi’s own batting has declined but his leadership from the front as captain has proved to be good so far.

Now that India has won the quarterfinal against the Australians, Pakistan will face India at Mohali in the semi-final. There will be tremendous pressure on both teams to win the match. When India and Pakistan play against each other, it is not just your regular cricket game; it is a battle of hearts and minds. The Pakistan team must keep its nerve even though India will have the advantage of playing on home ground. So far, Pakistan has never beaten India in a World Cup match but that should not deter us because there is always a first time for everything. The Indians have a strong batting line-up and we have a good bowling attack. Pakistan’s top and middle order batsmen must now get down to the task. Kamran Akmal is still a very useful member of the team, especially when used as an opener. We need to be confident but not over-confident.

On another note, Shahid Afridi failed to thank the Sri Lankan crowd and the Bangladeshi crowd in their respective countries despite the fact that they were the ones cheering us in our matches against Australia and West Indies. It would have been a great gesture if he had thanked the local crowds. Our team management should teach our captain and the team to be thankful to local hosts and crowd who have been supportive of Pakistan throughout the World Cup.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

Comments

drqasba said…
Excellent analysis of the past and very good advice for March 30 ,Mohali semi final !
AbdulMalik said…
Bloodshed in Afghanistan

In your article from your blog named as above I found that you had greatly described the security personal of US army as someone cruel. But here I must ask that don’t you know about the people being killed by the terrorists and extremists in our motherland Afghanistan?? Don’t you see our Pashtoonkhwa watan introduced by the name of camping zone for these extremists and terrorists by the Pakistani intelligence agencies ISI, MI and so on?? Don’t you think that 9/11 was a start of peace for Afghans??

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