Friday, June 19, 2009

T20 World Cup.......Proteas Choke again in the semis

T20 world Cup is now on the final stages.

Pakistan vs South Africa :

In the first of semifinals, it was a clash between favourites South Africa & mercurial Pakistan. South Africa have always been very good & clinical in the league stages, but are known to falter when they reach the knockouts. They have till date won only the mini World Cup in 1998 as a big tournament, & have been known as the Chokers, messing up just when things look to be moving their way. On the other hand, Pakistan has been going through very tough political situations back home for the last two years & the cricketers have been in indifferent forms. They were heavily dependent on the individual brilliance of Afridi, Misbah & Umar Gul.

Having won the toss, Younis, the Pakistan skipper decided to bat. They opened with Kamran Akmal & Shah Hasan in whirlwind fashion with Kamran hitting two sweetly timed boundaries through the offside cordon in the very first over from Dale Styn. But Parnell on the other end, the very next over got rid of S Hasan to a skier taken by Merwe, with score reading 8 for 1. Afridi walked in next & pulled two consecutive boundaries immediately & one more off the last ball. It was match on with score reading 22 for 1 in two overs. Both team looked hungry & bold upfront. Kamran hit a six in the next over but in wanting to hit the bowlers out of the park holed out to Styn. In walked Shoaib Malik. With Afridi showing glimpses of his fearless hitting Pakistan reached 47 for 2 at the end of 6th over. At the end of 10th over it was 68 for 2, but in the 11th over 18 runs were plundered as Afridi let loose on Botha. 50 for Afridi came off just 32 deliveries in the 12th over. He was looking good, but got out immediately after, holing Duminy to the mid on. This put brakes in the Pakistan run assault. Malik could not push the score & when he got out in the deep, Razzak walked in, but he too could not find the boundaries. Parnell was extremely good at the death bowling & pakistan ended up with only 149 for 4 in their 20 overs. Certainly at least 15-20 runs short of what was expected of them.

South Africa started as usual with Greame Smith & Jaques Kallis. The start was good & they reached 40 before Smith got out at the end of the 6th over. Gibbs came in & was straight against the maverick Afridi. He was bowled to a beauty & then AB, their star batsman till now in the tournament, too got out in similar fashion. Suddenly, the chase had become difficult, with score reading 50 for 3 in the 9th over. Kallis & Duminy did try their best, but the Pakistan bowlers were just getting better & better. Umar Gul was just brilliant with his reverse swing & yorkers, & the asking rate kept on increasing. Kallis got out in the deep trying to hit out for a hard worked 64 in 54 deliveries, & at the end of 19th over it was still 23 runs away. Duminy did try hitting, but finally the Proteas fell short by 7 runs. Shahid Afridi was simply pumped up & absolutely outstanding in the match. After a blistering half century with the bat, he again shone with the ball with 2 wickets for just 16 runs in 4 overs. Truly deserving to be the man of the match.

The best team of the tournament till now, South Africa had been tamed by the maverick Pakistanis, & once again, the Chokers fell in the semis.

Pakistan reach the T20 World Cup finals once again.