Thursday, March 3, 2011

World Cup 2011 : Pakistan vs Canada...

Pakistan against Canada at Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, a match expected to be a cake walk for the maverick Pakistanis.
Afridi won the toss & elected to bat, with the idea of putting up a big score & get necessary batting practice for the whole of 50 overs. After their easy victory over Kenya and an impressive upset victory over the Lankans, they decided to rest Shoaib Akhtar from this game. However, it was probably overconfidence that spilled over onto the batsmen & they started losing wickets to a resurgent Canadian attack. Openers, Md Hafeez left for 11, with score at 16 for 1 in the 4th over & Ahmed Shehzad got out for 12 with score at 42 for 2 in the 9th over.  Younis Khan & Kamran Akmal did not last long either, & suddenly it was 67 for 4 in the 16th over. Misbah & Umar Akmal put up some kind of resistance & took the score to 140, when, in the 35th over, Umar got out LBW to Balaji Rao for a well made 48 off 68 deliveries, missing out on what would have been a deserving fifty. In walked Captain Afridi, with a clear intent of hitting out of trouble. However, as I have said earlier about the Pakistan side. They are brilliant one day & mediocre just the next day. Afridi, Misbah, Razzaq & Riaz fell one after the other...as if in a heap. The final score showed a poor 184 all out in the 43rd over, & this was inclusive of 24 extras !!! The Canadian attack had managed to bowl out a strong but complacent Pakistani side with 8 overs to spare. Baidwan with 3 wickets & Cheema, Balaji Rao and Hansra clipping two apiece. The last four wickets had gone for just 3 runs, as the Canadian attack made good use of the overcast conditions.

Though the target was not too steep, it was Canada's frail batting order against a top quality Pakistan attack, even in the absence of Shoiab Akhtar.  As was expected, wickets fell cheaply. First to go was Gunasekhara, LBW to Umar Gul with score reading 16 for 1 in the 4th over. In the very next over, NR Kumar fell to Abdul Razzaq, with the score at 16 for 2. By the end of 12th over, the score was 30 for 2, as Bagai & Surkari struggled to keep wickets intact, runs being hard to come. Bagai fell with the total at 44, & it looked curtains for Canada. But for the 4th wicket, Surkari & Hansra stayed firm on the wicket taking the score to 104. The bowling looked jaded at that stage, & it looked to be a good contest. However, Afridi decided to take over the bowling & suddenly the match turned on its head. Wickets fell like nine pins, as Afridi ran through the Canadian defence taking 5 wickets in a jiffy.....it was 5 wickets for just 23 runs. It was all over with Canada shot out for 138. Pakistan wins by 46 runs. Three in a row for them, & now a berth in the last eight looks certain.

Man of the Match : Who else but Shahid Afridi....he is now the leading wicket taker in the tournament with 14 wickets.

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