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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't spoil Pak team's potential

Misbahul Haq has proved his critics wrong by playing the innings of his life to guide Pakistan to the two-wicket victory against New Zealand at Napier. 
After winning the toss, Kiwi skipper Vettori decided to bat first was a decision which bounced back as the Kiwis lost five early wickets but like in the past Pakistan let them off the hook and they scored a daunting total of 262 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their quota of 50 overs.
James Franklin, although is known for his bowling abilities and too has improved his batting a lot in the recent times, was the main contributor for the Kiwis as he hammered a well played 62 runs. He was ably supported by Brandon McCullum's 37 runs while his brother Nathan McCullum chipped in with unbeaten 53 runs.
Wahab Riaz was the pick of Pakistan bowlers grabbing 3 for 51 runs while Razzaq, Hafeez and Afridi claimed a wicket apiece. Pakistan's reply was a decent one but they kept on losing wickets with regular intervals. At one stage when Afridi was trapped LBW of the bowling of Vettori the match was swung in Kiwis favour, but like in the past Misbah came to Pakistan's rescue and slowly but steadily guides Pakistan towards victory with a well-played knock of unbeaten 93 runs. Ahmed Shehzad and Younus Khan also played well and scored 42 runs apiece. Overall it was a close call for Pakistan if they don't go for the kill and allowed the rival teams to make a comeback in the matches, it will be almost impossible for them to beat them.
The World Cup is around the corner. The PCB to every one's surprise is holding back the name of the captain for this mega event, which is certainly disturbing the performance of the team and the ship is rolling without a captain. Ijaz Butt is in New Zealand. Rather than waiting for the 4th February, he should respect the public sentiments and announce Shahid Khan Afridi as the captain of Pakistan cricket team for the World Cup being jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The opening pair issue is still a point where the coach and the management have to focus on. Having the services of Younus, Misbah, Umar Akmal, Afridi and Abdul Razzaq in the middle Pakistani batting certainly looks more reliable than in the past. One or two changes in the batting line and bowling can prove the critics wrong who have written off Pakistan team's chances in the upcoming World Cup. They can be the dark horse of the tournament like in the 1992 World Cup when Imran Khan and his side which was a very weak one as compared to this current Pakistan side had managed to win the World Cup.
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