Pakistan team scratched past an energetic looking Zimbabwe team in a match we were expected to win probably even before the World Cup groups were finalized.
A relieved looking Misbah, a jubilant Pakistani team, a euphoric nation and an appeased PCB. All of that after our team merely edged past Zimbabwe???
Something doesn’t add up…
The match which saw Younis Khan’s luck run out and Misbah finally submitting to the necessity of a fifth bowler started off deplorably for us.
The toss finally went our way but nothing much following that. The nation was left flabbergasted as the two openers were back in the pavilion even before the punters could open their books!
Misbah and Haris came together in the 4th over(not for the first time) and tried to stabilize this rocking ship.From then on in, it was a tale of “tuk tuk” against an average bowling attack which possessed little venom .
Haris left when the score line was just beginning to look respectable .He was followed by meager knocks with some flashes of brilliance from Umar Akmal and Sohaib.
Wahab played a cameo and followed it up with a very clinical bowling performance in the second half of the match to help Pakistan win this crucial encounter.
For large periods in the second innings however, Zimbabwe looked well-set to chase down Pakistan’s modest tally of 235.Their inexperience and lack of ability in addition to some not so accurate (to put it mildly) umpiring decisions, which went Pakistan’s way, helped the greens reach home.
Wahab’s emergence as a useful bowling all-rounder, wickets for Irfan and improved keeping by Umar Akmal were definite positives that can help us keep our hopes alive.
One has to feel sorry for Misbah who has so far not pointed any fingers at the pathetic show being consistently put up by the two openers in this World Cup. Taking the entire blame for the low total because of the deliveries he consumed for his 70 odd runs is truly depictive of Misbah’s leadership.
I find this accusation,of Misbah bogging down the runrate, from his critics somewhat flawed .The fact of the matter is that it was the withering top order performance which saw Misbah going into his “infamous shell” and the score coming to a halt.
Also, despite Misbah “using up” all those overs, we were only left with a not so gifted “tail” from the start of the 46th over onwards as no other batsman offered more than a glint of support to their captain.
He definitely lacks the ability to rotate the strike while consolidating the innings and the ensuing inertia which sees him choking the flow of runs while trying to see-off the new balls ,gets blamed for the laxity of his confederates.
We,however, need to realize that Misbah is a human being who can only be as good . He cannot come in the 4th over (read:open the innings),play out the fifty overs and score at the speed of knots in every match. He is a mortal who gets tired and expecting him to hit indomitable sixes after being on the crease for nearly 3 hours is a touch outrageous!
The match against another so-called “minnow” UAE can be taken as a blessing in disguise for our team to gets its combinations finalized before getting into the business end of the tournament. If Sarfraz is being considered for the opening slot and Yasir Shah’s immense talent is to be put to any use in our remaining campaign, Misbah needs to assess it in a real match situation and it cannot get any easier than this(if there is a thing like that for Pakistani team!).
Overall, it was a much needed victory but the way it transpired has left a sour taste in the mouth of many fans and critics alike. This performance was far short of world class and has definitely unearthed plenty of potential problems ,which Misbah and his men need to come up with solutions for quickly if we are to put up a meaningful claim for the title….