Saturday, May 15, 2010
Cometh the hour Cometh Mr. cricket!!!!!!!!
So what was that???? I thought I had seen lots of games and there wasn't anything which was going to surprise me on a cricket field, but yesterday's match was something else as to score about 50 runs in three overs, with the opposition having a plethora of slower bowlers, on a pitch that was slightly helpful to spinners and that too in a semifinal just can't be described in words. I just have to bow to the prowess of Hussey. My commiserations to Pakistan's fans as Pakistan were very good yet they lost. I don't know what England's players would be thinking about it. If any of the players had watched it on the T.V, they would have got goosebumps for sure.
It all looked different when Australia won the toss and elected to bowl first. Both captains may have been in a dilemma with the rain around and the moisture in the wicket. In fact, it was a good toss to lose for Pakistan. I say it again that once a team negotiates the first few overs safely there has been no significant movement to worry about at either Barbados or St. Lucia. Too much has been made about the early moisture in the wicket.
Anyway, Pakistan played out the first couple of overs safely and it clearly looked like for once Pakistan were using their brains. Once the moisture dried out, it became easy for batting as both Akmal and Butt took the fight to the opposition ranks. Akmal would either make room to smash it for a four or was looking to play lofted shots. Butt was really timing it well and was also finding gaps through the off side. Interestingly, Butt could have been out, but none of the Aussie fielders appealed for the catch! Now how can Australia not appeal for a catch??? It made me remember watching a video on youtube when the current Indian selector, Srikkanth had got out hit wicket but leaving Jones, none of the Aussie fielders appealed and neither did the umpires see it. During those days, there was no third umpire either. unfortunately I couldn't get that funny video, but it shows that even the hard-nosed Aussies sometimes may not appeal.
After a brisk start, Pakistan seemed to have lost their way as David Hussey's bowling and Warner taking some fine catches in the outfield pegged Pakistan back. The hero for Pakistan was of course Umar, who at a crunch time came to the party by playing some audacious pull shots and lofted strokes against the Australian fast bowlers. Razzaq smashed a few lusty blows to take Pakistan to 191. It was about 25 runs above the par score and at that time Umar seemed to have taken the match away from Australia but it wasn't to be.
Pakistan started well with the ball too as they got Warner and Watson out quickly. Amer gave a warm welcome to Warner with a short delivery to say that he can't slog by coming forward and got him the next ball. Watson again seemed to be in a mood to sledge as he and Amer exchanged a few words. He also had the sense to smash the dibbly dobbly medium pace of Razzaq. I still can't believe that it required Australia to smash the medium pace of Razzaq and as expected he was taken out of the attack. Watson though, undid all the good work by getting sucked into a plan by Pakistan. Pakistan deliberately had a long on fielder for Watson as he does hit those lofted shots down the ground well and with the left armer's angle there was a good chance of it going straight to the long on fielder. It worked very well for Pakistan as Watson hit it straight to the long on fielder and guess what? he got out to Amer which made him look like a fool!
Clarke came to the crease and played a typical knock as he took 19 deliveries for his 17 runs. He got out as Akmal stumped him, but ironically Akmal could have shown his talents of missing a stumping as more overs Clarke plays, better it is for the opposition. As Clarke got out, the obstacle for Australia was removed. White smashed some great hits to keep Australia just in the game. He is no doubt one of the cleanest strikers of the ball. Just at the right time Pakistan got the crucial wickets of White and Smith. It looked like the fat lady had sung as they required 48 runs of 17 balls, but cometh the hour cometh Mr. cricket as Huss played a knock that I would struggle to describe in just words to take the game away from Pakistan.
I think the turning point of the match came in the 19th over as at that time, they required 34 runs of 12 balls and it looked like a daunting task. Huss paddle swept the first ball for a four, but with seven balls to go, they required 22 runs and that isn't easy. Huss again got a crucial boundary of the last ball of the penultimate over. 18 runs were required of the last over and that still looked like a daunting task as Huss was up against one of the better bowlers in T/20 cricket, but that four of Amer just about kept Australia afloat. More magic was yet to come form Huss's bat as he smashed a rank bad long hop from Ajmal for six. I could clearly see that Huss was waiting a little longer for Ajmal to deliver the ball as Ajmal stops mid-way through his action before he delivers the ball. It shows that cricket is more than just a game of bat and ball. The next ball he slog swept Ajmal for another six. The pressure now was on Ajmal, who had a couple of options of either firing it in or just trying to bowl it a touch wide of off stump as Huss was mainly looking to slog sweep. Ajmal could have fired a yorker, but he went for the other option of bowling it a touch wide of off stump yet, Huss was able to get some bat onto it and get a boundary past the backward point fielder. It again shows cricket is more than just a game of bat and ball. The scores were level and Pakistan's players were just stunned. Pakistan did most of the things right yet, they were staring down the barrel! Huss duly finished the match with another six and that was the end of a great contest. Ajmal could have bowled a better last over as he could have fired in yorkers instead of length deliveries, but leaving that first delivery, the over wasn't that bad. It was just unbelievable batting by Huss. Ajmal also seems to struggle against lefthanders.
I just feel for Pakistan's players and fans as they deserved to win the match, but one man just played a knock that was out of the world which bought tears to Pakistan's fans and players. Australia with this win have got the momentum and they would play the final at their favourite ground Barbados. It would require England to play out of their skins to get past Australia at Barbados.