Pakistan cricket team has once again succumbed to the magnitude of the encounter with our World Cup “nemesis” .
Despite an overall dismal performance in the field and a grey score line,there were positives which can be taken from this less than satisfactory performance .
Recognition of Younis Khan’s inadequacies as an opener so early in the tournament, a short but full of promise innings by Harris Sohail, emergence of a good attacking death overs bowler in Sohail Khan and above all the visuals of some much needed aggression in the field plan atleast in the early overs, are positives that might prove invaluable in the fore-coming matches.
Some difficult but potential dropped catches might always haunt our memories as to the possibilities that could have been had these been held.
The fact that Misbah remained calm and did not shrivel under pressure of the rapidly increasing required run rate as well as swift departures of fellow team-mates at the other end made his innings the highlight of the match for us .It was however overwhelmed by some critical negatives.
Failure to take control of the situation while his partners seemed to be in a rush to get back to the pavilion and accelerate his own strike rate while viable batting options were available at the other end were the only drawbacks in the “lone warrior” like stint.
His innings synonymous with many of his previous,exploded into a performance of futile substance a few wickets and overs too late . The stroke play which ensued, once the realization had set in that the match is doomed, was a feat which might only be of use to help the disgruntled fans get over the severe post traumatic stress.In addition to achieving slight respectability in comparison with the challenging 300 put up by India it was of little practical use.
Decision to play Younis Khan as a makeshift opener to make way for a fifth bowler and a somewhat dubious but most likely correct decision that brought an end to Umar Akmal’s stretch will be the most likely scapegoats instead of the much more obvious “nervousness ” which the Pakistanis failed to hide in the field and the “incomparable batting prowess of our opponents “.
We, as a nation, are exceptionally emotional when it comes to cricket and this impassion reaches ecstatic heights when it’s a World Cup encounter with our arch rivals India . We cannot take away from the fact the In the face of loosing some vital players to injury and chucking controversies ,Misbah has been able to resurrect a team which at least had a chance. A chance which we all wanted to realize but an extremely professional performance by the current world champions was just “too good”.
The tournament is still wide open and there is still a lot to play for.Just like the 1992 campaign, we can still turn this around.If Misbah takes a leaf out of Imran Khan’s book and use this as an opportunity to improve rather than drowning in remorse and pointing fingers, we might still have an interesting World Cup ahead of us.
Let’s just hope that one average performance doesn’t bring the well forgotten Misbah versus Afridi animosity (glimpses of which were apparent during the match) back in our ever so fragile team camp.
The shortcomings that this encounter has exposed so early in the tournament might be a blessing in disguise.