Pakistan at their anxious best


Pakistan vs. India Super Eight

(Photo Credit:Jiggs Images)

What promised to be an intense romantic tale turned out to be a sorry one-sided affair. Of all the times that India and Pakistan have clashed in the recent past, this one stands out as the most lacklustre display by Pakistan. Nerves got better of them yet again and they were spooked enough to throw it away without showing any real resistance. Pakistan were at their “anxious best” and that pretty much describes the day for them. More than anyone else it was the skipper Mohd. Hafeez who went into his shell and never really came out till there were no more Indians left at the Premadasa.

Virat played a beautiful and commanding innings yet again and it is hard to find a better batsman around. All due credit to him for his performance but for Pakistan the match was lost even before Virat took guard. The way Pakistan batsmen batted is hard to explain. They made part-timers look like genuine bowlers who could do no wrong, Yuvraj in particular. Yuvraj bowled a good spell but in between he bowled numerous half-trackers which were punched to extra-cover or third-man for singles. On another day these were six hitting deliveries, right over mid-wicket, at least 85 meters; ask Shane Watson and he would know.

Afridi’s promotion didn’t make sense at all given the fact that he is seriously out of form and has turned into a bowler who can (read may), bat a bit. Also, with him coming at 3, the overall batting order gets skewed and someone like an Umar Akmal then has to walk in at 7, well, you don’t want your class A batsman bat that low, do you. In T20 you cannot have people who chew up deliveries at the top; that puts tremendous pressure on the middle and lower order.

Another strategic error that Pakistan management has made in this tournament is leaving out a match winner of the class of Abdur Razzaq. He, in matter of few overs can turn a match on its head. Also, with his experience he can bring some calm to this highly effervescent Pakistan side that can so easily fall apart in crunch matches. They are one side who really need someone to ease out the things a little. Razzaq can be the man for this job.

India held their nerves and thus emerged winner. There is something special about this Indian side; with skills they have the temperament to conquer big matches. Both India and Pakistan have one game each to go in the Super-eights and these are must win games for them. India seems to be on a roll after this win and looks like beating South Africa. Pakistan however have to be back with their A game to be able to fight a tough Australian side on the Super-Tuesday.

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Chennai Super Kings Must Derail Rajasthan Royals


CRICKET-ENGLAND

(Photo credit: Ravinder Singh Gill)

Dhoni’s men rarely find themselves looking down the barrel. But IPL 5 is different. They won few, but not consistently and now they face a situation from where they must keep winning invariably to keep their play offs’ hopes alive.

There have been instances of individual brilliance from Super Kings but collectively they haven’t fired too often this IPL. They however need to, NOW. Dhoni is a brilliant leader, calm and composed and he’ll be ready with his plans. Though the boys must step up and execute those plans on the day.

Rajasthan Royals have come back very well in their last few games after losing some of their earlier games. Especially their one run loss to Delhi may have been heartbreaking, but the way Rahul has kept the side motivated is commendable. Watson has added strength to their batting which was primarily dependent on Rahane and Dravid. Oawis Shah and Hodge also look in good touch which makes their top-order really powerful.

The thing with most T20 games is, however strong a team looks on paper it is a matter of few crucial moments in the game that turns it in favour of one or the other. Each of these two very good teams know that and would be looking forward to winning those moments. Because folks, mind it, from here on, it’ll get tougher.

Ganguly’s Men Must Start Winning


Shaun Tait at a training session at the Adelai...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With eight losses from twelve games, it’s time Pune Warriors start winning. Their playoff chances are bleak but run-rates and rains play funny games. And for that reason many believe IPL 5 is still wide open with only top two teams comfortably hold play-offs spots while six others still battle it out.

Pune started off very well but lost their rhythm somewhere on the way. Today evening they must raise their game and start winning. For them, key men remain Steve Smith and Angelo Matthews. Both are match winners with the bat, handy bowlers and brilliant fielders, (who can forget Smith’s super acrobatic fielding effort at wide long-on). Ganguly has been batting well top of the order but he has to pace his innings better. Dada has some good scores in the tournament, however, his strike rate can be better.

Rajasthan Royals’ playoff chances are comparatively better after their last win against Kings XI Punjab. With inclusion of Shane Watson and Shaun Tait they look a far balanced side. But Dravid still remains the key man who will hold the innings together. Rahane couldn’t fire the last game which means he is due, so, watch out!!!