Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s unsung World Cup hero

Pakistan needed 22 off 20 balls with three wickets in hand against Afghanistan. How Pakistan got themselves into that situation is a whole other story, but at that moment desperation had kicked in. World Cup dreams, pride, honour and reputation were all hanging by a thread for Pakistan as a defeat at the hands of Afghanistan, handcrafted by Pakistan’s players, seemed inevitable. Out came Wahab Riaz with a fractured finger to rescue Pakistan on a pitch that offered turn from the east coast to the west. This sounds exaggerated, almost like something out of Bollywood’s lacklustre flicks, but it’s not. ...

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#PAKvsAFG: Imad Wasim pulled off what Dhoni couldn’t – a late onslaught

Pakistan’s fate now hangs in the balance. At the start of the weekend, the equation for the Men in Green was simple: Pakistan must beat Afghanistan and India must defeat England. Unfortunately, one of these matches didn’t go according to plan. Nonetheless, Pakistan’s World Cup hopes are still alive because they managed to clinch a crucial victory against Afghanistan, but only just. Going into the match, Pakistan were tipped as being the favourites, even though Afghanistan had previously given India a run for their money. Any fan of Pakistan cricket knows that chasing down a target in an ODI ...

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Defeating the undefeated: I believe in #TeamGreen and their dream

When Pakistan lost the toss to New Zealand, I felt that Sarfaraz Ahmed secretly wanted to lose it. Had he won the toss, his decision to bat first or bowl would have been critiqued from all angels. Had he won the toss and batted first, fans would have said, “why bat in overcast conditions?” and had he won and bowled first, fans would have asked, “why chase when we’ve won the last game defending?” Regardless, Pakistan were sent in to field first and the story which unfolded was similar to their previous games. Mohammad Amir was sensational, striking early and ...

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#PAKvsNZ: Will history repeat itself today?

The 12th iteration of the cricket World Cup is currently underway in England and Wales with 10 teams battling against each other. So far, three teams, South Africa, West Indies and Afghanistan, have been knocked out of the tournament. Two teams, Australia and India, have essentially confirmed their place in the semi-final, while the remaining five teams, England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are in the hunt for the remaining two semi-final spots. England and New Zealand have their destiny in their own hands, but the remaining three teams not only have to win their group matches, they ...

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Pakistan cricket has many problems; removing Mickey and Inzi will not solve them

After Pakistan’s dismal performance in the first half of their World Cup campaign, fans have been angry to say the least. The team is being criticised from left, right and centre, in both acceptable and unacceptable ways. It seems that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), like in all the previous World Cups where we didn’t live up to expectations, is feeling the heat and will be looking for scapegoats. After being whitewashed by England prior to the World Cup and their unpredictability in the tournament thus far, questions have been raised and fingers have been pointed. As a cricket fan ...

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No one can ever call the Pakistan cricket team ‘predictable’ or ‘boring’

At the iconic Lord’s cricket ground, Pakistan won the toss and smartly chose to bat first. The real test for Pakistan was whether they could see off the new ball against quality bowlers like Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi. The openers definitely delivered on that front. Just to put things in perspective, after five overs, Pakistan had scored 35 runs, courtesy of seven boundaries. All the shots played were quality strokes, mostly played against good deliveries. This was crucial because when Pakistan’s opening batsmen deliver and lay a good foundation, it usually leads to the middle order firing as well. It wasn’t ...

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Is the ICC biased against Muslim players?

Recently, while going through my Twitter feed, I came across a rather amusing tweet. It was by the former vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr Adil Najam. The tweet names and shames the International Cricket Council (ICC) for being biased against Muslim players by making them play ODI cricket during the month of Ramazan and on Eid as well. According to Najam, the ICC gave preferential treatment to Indian players by giving them ample time to refresh prior to the World Cup. But is such a critique of the ICC fair? Is the governing ...

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From dropping catches to dropping matches, is it the end of the line for Pakistan?

On a morning when ominous looking clouds loomed above, Pakistan won the toss against India. But we soon realised it was to be the only thing that Pakistan would win that day. Due to the overcast conditions, Sarfraz Ahmed chose to bowl first, in what looked like a good decision. Over 330 runs later, he and the Pakistan cricket management realised it was in fact the wrong call. The game followed a similar pattern to the one which Pakistan lost against Australia last Wednesday. Mohammad Amir initially bowled well, only for the pressure to be let off at the other end, ...

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Pakistan has never beaten India in a World Cup match, but is that about to change?

June 16, 2019. The game we’ve all been waiting for is now just one day away. Will India make it 7-0 wins against Pakistan at the World Cup? Does Pakistan have a chance this time? Well, whenever there is a Pakistan-India game, cricket experts say that the team which handles pressure better will win the game, and that is true. But is it really that simple? Let’s look at the World Cup history between these two nemeses and attempt to decipher why Pakistan has not been able to crack the Indian code. Virat Kohli and Sarfraz Ahmed ...

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So close yet so far: what happened, Pakistan?

A quintessentially ‘Pakistan’ performance. Going into this match, there was a lot of talk about the role rain would play in the proceedings and I saw just how green the pitch was beforehand. These two factors led me to believe that whoever wins the toss should bowl first. That’s exactly what happened. Pakistan won the toss and bowled first, but what followed was hours of terrible bowling. I feel as if Shaheen Afridi was the root cause of it initially. While Mohammad Amir built pressure at one end, Afridi released it at the other by consistently bowling too short. [caption id="attachment_84197" ...

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