Pakistan’s performance - ICC World Cup 2011

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Robbie McEwen

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Cricket News
  • Pakistan’s performance - ICC World Cup 2011

The Pakistani team has shown terrific performance in the group matches of the ICC World Cup 2011. Before the start of World Cup, the general perception was that Pakistan would be an easy prey for other teams. The green shirts have proven that this negative impression incorrect with their attitude, approach and most importantly, their fighting spirit.

Pakistan has trampled Sri Lanka and Australia in the WC group matches which shows the sky-scraping potential of the Pakistani team. The game against New Zealand was the only match where Pakistan has exhibited a weak performance.   Under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi, who is leading his team from the front, the team seems to be sailing its way through the World Cup so far.  One of the highly noticeable aspect of the team’s performance has been that every member is  contributing  in Pakistan’s winning voyage.

The four Pakistani batsmen Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal have scored fifties whereas Umer Gul has taken 2 wickets and Afridi was the best bowler by taking 5 wickets against Kenya. Pakistan defeated Kenya by 205 runs.

The win over Sri Lanka was also courtesy of brilliant partnership between Younis and Misbah. Speed star Shoaib Akhtar provided important break-through to his team when he bowled out Mahela Jayawardene at a curial time although it was Afridi who lead the bowling department of Pakistani team in this match, as he picked 4 wickets. Other bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to get easy runs and contributed their role in victory as well. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 11 runs.

Misbah and Umar Akmal supported their team after an early batting line up collapse in the match against Canada. The Pakistani skipper, Afridi rattled 5 Canadian batsmen and shook up their batting line up. All Pakistani bowlers (Saeed Ajmal, Wahab Riaz, Gul and Abdul Razzaq) except Mohammad Hafeez took at least one wicket  in the match against Canada. Pakistan won this match by 46 runs.

At the end of 42nd over of New Zealand’s inning, it was Afridi’s XI who were  dominating the match in their favour. However all of a sudden they lost the grip on the match and showed panic manifestations. Ross Taylor hammered Pakistani bowling battery all around the ground. New Zealand settled the target of 303 for Pakistan to win. In reply the green shirts repeated the history of rash display of batting and eventually lost by 110 runs.  

In spite of being crushed by the Kiwis, the green shirts were determined to gear up Pakistan’s flight towards excellence. Pakistan came back strongly in next matches, as they have learnt from their previous mistakes.

Pakistan thrashed Zimbabwe by 7 wickets. Zimbabwe managed to put the target of 152 runs on the board, as the Pakistani bowlers didn’t allow Rhodesians to score easily. Gul picked 3 wickets showing that the Zimbabweans were unable to play him. Apart from Abdur Rehman, rest of playing bowlers took one wicket each. Pakistan comfortable chased the target because of Asad Shafiq’s 78 runs.

The triumph which made the green shirts favourites to win the World Cup came up against the world champions. Surprisingly, Pakistani’s side smacked Aussies in their last group match by 4 wickets. Pakistan’s bowlers easily chequered the strong Australian batting worm.  It was Gul’s luminosity that initiated the thrill meanwhile left arm spinner Rehman contained Australia’s batsmen. Every bowler wanted to shake Aussies. Gul took 3 important wickets; Razzaq was phenomenal with the old ball by picking 2 wickets while Rehman, Afridi, Riaz and Hafeez bagged one wicket each. Pakistan fielders backed up their bowlers admirably, as they showed superb presence of mind on the field. Pakistan bowled out Australia on the total of 176. The young guns Asad and Umar Akmal were stupendous when they had to shoulder the pressure of the tense situation. Both helped Afridi XI to achieve the target successfully.

Pakistan will play Quarter-Final against West Indies on 23rd March. The high-quality performance in the group matches will boost the green shirts’ spirit and confidence for this match.