Pakistan’s victory = Misbah’s victory

Published: April 29, 2011

Misbah-ul-Haq plays a shot during the third ODI between West Indies and Pakistan at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, April 28, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

On a pitch that offered pace and bounce, especially if the bowler was willing to bend his back, Ravi Rampaul did well in reducing Pakistan to 12 for 3 as the top batting order of the greens disintegrated.

Although they were not defending a big target, it looked as if West Indies could make a match of it at that point. But this was a short-lived dream, as Misbahul Haq’s calm presence at the crease not only assured Pakistan victory in the match but also an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five match series.

Recently, Misbah has faced heavy criticism for his innings against India in the World Cup semi-final that some believe lost the match for Pakistan. Many have even called for his head for his performance in what was the most anticipated clash ever. But, the selectors did well to give him a place in the squad for this series, as currently he is the lone experienced member of the batting line-up with an average of over 40 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs).

The target was small and so it allowed Misbah to play his natural game, which is to play risk free cricket. At first, he was accompanied by the aggressive Umar Akmal on the other end, who made quick runs as Misbah settled in his groove.

The importance of Misbah’s innings was the role of the sheet anchor that he played. As wickets fell around him, Misbah continued to ground out runs and did not panic, making sure he was there till the end, as it was evident at the moment that if Pakistan batted out the full quota of 45 overs, they would surely win the game.

Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam hit a brace of 30s to give Misbah good company.

Azam, who was playing his first ODI innings, showed good technique and seemed like a good prospect for the future, as a genuine all-rounder for the team. He needs to be given more opportunities and should be asked to bat higher up in the order in the remaining two matches to see how he handles the situation and pressure of chasing a bigger target or setting one.

We have already seen Azam’s potential at the Under-19 level. He also displayed good sportsmanship on the field when he left immediately after being given LBW when he had actually edged the ball. He is certainly a keeper.

After Azam’s dismissal, a mini panic set in the batting ranks as Shahiid Afridi and Muhammad Salman both were dismissed quickly, but this was followed by some big hitting by Wahab Riaz which removed all doubts about the outcome of the match.

Earlier, Pakistan bowled well to dismiss West Indies for under 200, though they were assisted by some inept batting from the opposition.

Simmons continued his rich vein of form and received support from Darren Bravo but once these two departed, the rest of Windies batting told a familiar tale of ineptitude as it folded rather easily.

The Pakistani bowlers, for their part, did well to limit the extras to 11 after having given over 20 extra runs in the last two matches.

There are still two matches to be played and hopefully a 5-0 whitewash is on the cards. That should provide a good launching pad for Pakistan in the upcoming Test matches where we seek to win our first ever series in the Caribbean.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

A Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the MPH program at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He tweets @amynmalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Salim Taj

    Well done Pakistan, after a long time everybody looks focused, new talent is refreshing , wealth of new talent and Good Selection team argue well for future, at this point we must not forget hard work of selectors PCB and team Management, our graph is up wards, good bench strength should be maintained, all our batsmen need to practice against new ball on regular basis, bowling is again looking good after long time ,we must choose best wicket keepers Kamran Akmal has not done well with gloves therefore specialist keeper is a must to support talented bowlers, both Misbah & Shahid doing great.Playing overseas has improved our technique, we must maintain our momentum to reach top as a cricket team. Keep going green shirts you are doing fine Recommend

  • Syed Rizvi

    Misbah did that very professionally in all 3 ordinary and unimportant matches .. its only in the finals and semi finals against India he plays for the money and not for the country. We will never forget both losses only because of him.Recommend

  • Rana

    Misbahul Haq will always be regarded as Chetan Sharma of Pakistan’s cricket history. He is just a crap. Stop praising this goof. Recommend

  • http://www.wpf.org.pk Chup Shaw

    @Rana: I would like to second your comments Mr. Rana.Recommend

  • parvez

    @Syed Rizvi: Correctly spoken. Recommend

  • it

    You guys have zero analytical skills. Do you realize that every batsman has a temperament with which he plays? Misbah has the role of steadying the ship and playing solid cricket while maintaining wickets. He has done his job to perfection in all the WI series as well as the WC including the India semifinal. It’s when wickets fell around him that you start blaming him for poor run rate but turn a blind eye to all the other guys who played poor shots with zero concentration and got out. Point in hand, our own very captain Afridi. Now i’m a Afridi fan and admire his leadership qualities however as a batsman he always comes in with the same mindset regardless of the situation. Either way, it’s pointless trying to be rational with people in the comments section as it’s filled with a bunch of know-it-all’s who think and talk like they are the world’s authority on cricket.Recommend

  • Syed Rizvi

    @it:
    so in the end you also proved that you are the only one who has the wisdom and you know the game very well. Thank you for your revealing your intellect if not your identity. Recommend

  • ali

    Misbah ul haq is True saviour for Pakistan and as far as the SEMI FINAL against india is concerned so i would like to say to all those people who are blaming misbah for playing slowly and not hitting out every… – YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT CRICKET , talk when you are old enough to know the game and understand it . MISBAH UL HAQ is a masterclass…May Allah Bless Him.LONG LIVE MISBAH UL HAQ!!Recommend

  • Usman

    To be very honest, Misbah is a crap. He has no elegance & has a tendency to create ‘situations’ out of simple equations. Remember his innings in the T20 & WC 2011 Semis against India.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed

    Its essential, he performs in these useless games, otherwise he will not be selected for crucial money making game.Recommend

  • zam

    @ supporters of Misbah

    he is a gud player but sometimes he plays real selfish cricket ( as Basit Ali also said in one program )
    the WC semifinal innings was the example of that if you all (supporters) play cricket u must realize the fact that as Misbah was playing there was real pressure on the other batsman to score and play the way they did b/c Misbah was not going more than 2 runs an over when we required well above it…….. he must have realized that his display is putting pressure on other batsman but………Recommend

  • saqib mumtaz

    Misbah is only showing the rest of the team and the nation that how targets can be chased and the same he did in the semifinal against India. If only one batsman has stayed with misbah Pakistan would be playing final against srilanka. He proved that match was winable and he carried the match to the last over. At the present his role in the team is just like that of Javed Miandad in 80s and 90s. Well done misbah keep it up without caring for the people who little understand the game of cricket.Recommend

  • rk singh

    Hey guys, why are you panning Misbah like that, He is a good player.

    Listen kiddos, Indians are champions,

    we are the best there is,

    we are the brightest there is,

    we are the fastest there is,

    we are the quickest there is,

    oh….. did i mention we are champions????Recommend

  • SAIR BAJWA

    *No offense to my friends who have given the followed up comments after the well written blog You guys have zero analytical skills……I totally agree with @it….You guys have zero analytical skills. Do you realize that every batsman has a temperament with which he plays? Misbah has the role of steadying the ship and playing solid cricket while maintaining wickets. He has done his job to perfection in all the WI series as well as the WC including the India semifinal. It’s when wickets fell around him that you start blaming him for poor run rate but turn a blind eye to all the other guys who played poor shots with zero concentration and got out. Point in hand, our own very captain Afridi. Now i’m a Afridi fan and admire his leadership qualities however as a batsman he always comes in with the same mindset regardless of the situation. Either way, it’s pointless trying to be rational with people in the comments section as it’s filled with a bunch of know-it-all’s who think and talk like they are the world’s authority on cricket.*
    Misbah is one of the best cricketers in Pakistan… **Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,Karachi

    @ author: sheath anchor have heard that for the first time. Its sheet anchor and pls if you cant write english then do us a favor by not writing!Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    @ RK SIngh..No offense but when was the last time you guys had the fastest or the quickest bowler(s)? Champions yes but only because of your batting…

    @ Umair Waheed…friend that is a small error that was missed while reviewing and editing….and before you tell someone not to write or how to write, write something first, yourself. Have never read you here… Recommend

  • parvez

    @rk singh:
    Your comment brings to mind an advice of Winston Churchill to the British nation after World War II which went something like ‘ In victory it is essential to be humble… ‘. But then that was Churchill and the British nation, we Pakistanis and Indians have much to learn.Recommend

  • closedstreet

    Mibah is out best player – what a dark day of Pakistani Cricket !!!Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    Amyn, good work dude! Good to see there are more people out there like you, @IT and others who are sticking up for Misbah. Some people expect Misbah to score at Afridi’s or Umar Akmal’s pace in every game. He has become a common target among those who fear Misbah may one day take Afridi’s place as the Pakistani ODI captain (you’ll find me with a sheepish smile on that day) but they often fail to see the reality of Misbah’s contributions. Im not the type of person to get emotionally attached to a player, my value of a player are always based on statistics and number crunching. So here it is: Misbah has been Pakistan’s best ODI batsman since January 2010: ODI batting average of 59.80 in 17 ODIs (598 runs). Umar Akmal follows him as our second best batsman with an average of 34 during the same period! I hope this clears up any misconceptions people have about Misbah. He is the best batsman we have at the moment. People often don’t understand the importance to having someone like Misbah with all these youngsters in the squad. The way he batted with Hammad Azam was wonderful. He kept the youngster’s head in the game and made him play a role which was needed at that time, full credit to Azam for keeping his head in. Perfect example of learning while working. Hope Misbah’s good form continues because there is much our youngsters will learn from his experiences. Recommend