Pakistan vs Canada: Notes from an unhappy fan

Published: March 4, 2011
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The bowlers bailed Team Green out for the umpteenth time with stellar performances.

After a tie with India and a horrific loss to Ireland, England were all over the news. Being the spoilt brat that it is, the Pakistan team couldn’t take it; how could it watch silently as England stole the limelight? They wanted the attention back on themselves, and their match against Canada did just that.

Electing to bat first, Pakistan put up one of the worst batting performances by a top ranked side in this tournament. In their match against Zimbabwe, Australia also went slow but eventually put an above par total on the board and kept wickets intact.

But Pakistan had a totally different game plan.

They went slow and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They seemed to have no intention to bat the complete 50 overs, let alone put up a significant total.

While I agree that the conditions were better suited for bowling, the Canadian side is not strong enough to have made such an effective use of them. Our batsmen made their bowling look unplayable with most getting out with soft dismissals or rash shots.

Abdul Razzaq was granted his wish to do more for the team than he has done in previous matches and came out to bat while a decent number of overs were still left. But he didn’t make the most of it and played a straight delivery that would have taken the middle stump.

Afridi was granted a chance to play a captain’s knock and looked well set before his aggressive instincts got the better of him and he got caught out at point.

All these dismissals meant that when the batting Powerplay was taken, Pakistan had just one wicket left and only Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal were at the crease. At the end, we used one over of the Powerplay as the team was all out for 184 with seven overs remaining!

Whether or not the Canadian team was inspired by Ireland’s performance or whether it was Pakistan’s inherent unpredictability rearing its ugly head, for a team that has batsmen down to number eight, our performance was abysmal.

Thankfully, the bowlers bailed Team Green out for the umpteenth time with stellar performances especially from the captain himself. To be fair to Canada, the inexperienced batting lineup had little chance against an experienced and varied bowling side under yesterday’s conditions.

For a good part of their innings, the Canadian batsmen applied themselves well and showed the merits of playing with a straight bat. Luckily, Afridi sent their wickets tumbling and was helped by some good fielding.

The end result is that Pakistan have qualified into the quarter finals of the World Cup. We now sit comfortably at the top of the table in Group A with three wins out of three.

But do not be misled: this was a mediocre effort by a team that seems to have become overconfident. This formula will not work if they intend to win this World Cup.

Had it not been for a solid stand of 73 runs between Umar Akmal and Misbahul Haq coupled with the superb performance of the bowling unit, Pakistan may well have joined England on the receiving end of a World Cup shock!

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

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