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October 17, 2006

Champions Trophy

A win to relish

Kamran Abbasi

Some commentators have dismissed the Champions Trophy as a meaningless jamboree but the encounter between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was as emotionally charged as any match Pakistan have ever played. The heat was on Younis Khan but he didn't fry thanks to a stunning batting display from Abdul Razzaq and a catching blunder by Sri Lanka's Dilshan.

Razzaq, the ex vice-captain, put in a captain's performance with bat and ball and Younis, the ex dummy captain, put in a yummy performance that showcased his natural leadership skills, obvious in his enthusiasm, energy, and positivity.

It was always going to take an outstanding perfromance to cool Sri Lanka's red-hot streak and Pakistan managed that with a composed chase under lights. The Razzler razzle-dazzled but the pursuit was steered by sensible knocks from Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik, and given an early thrust by Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat.

In the absence of their two best bowlers Pakistan will still struggle to win this tournament but more of this positive approach and India's batsman-friendly wickets could still carry Younis Khan's team a long way.

This was a tremendous team performance and Younis and Bob Woolmer must take the credit for that. Many of Younis's disillusioned supporters will have only now begun to forgive him. Continue like this and he could be pardoned just as enthusiastically as he was damned.

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Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Posted by Kashif on (October 23, 2006, 13:31 GMT)

Why does pakistani cricket bring tears to my eyes... Is it because they are exceptionally brilliant one day and a misery to watch on another?? Either way, the odds were stacked against us and we played like a team of cornered tigers... If we can use Afridi more wisely, I think we have the talent to beat any team, on any day. Lets have some self belief and faith in the Almighty..

Posted by mawali on (October 23, 2006, 12:06 GMT)

If I may digress a moment. I tend to agree with Sandeep about the Younis Khan statement "We are "MUSLIM TEAM" and thats why we won". Why do we have to drag religion in every mater. Religion is a private matter and leave it at that. Now, a great win by a TEAM. This was a total team effort that was won more from team spirit and enthusiasm than skill. I have witnessed such performance in football (American) and basketball. It is a special thing to watch. Go Pakistan beat New Zealand!

Posted by Abdul Kadir Hussain on (October 19, 2006, 5:35 GMT)

Excellent win, especially given the mauling we took in the 1st ten overs. One comment on strategy, I think Afridi should have a set role and that is that he should be the first player to walk in after 35 overs. If the openers last 35 overs he should come in 1 down, if we have a batting collapse, Akmal, and Razzak should be sent above him until we reach the 35th over then he should come in.

Posted by Awais on (October 19, 2006, 5:23 GMT)

Despite all the controversies it was absolutely fantastic performance by our team. Hats off to all of them specially Razzaq and i wish them a very best of luck in future.

Posted by Hasnain Ali on (October 19, 2006, 5:22 GMT)

Abudl Razzaq is a great player...and no doubt younis is also a great player and a great captain..with this victory now we are feeling good after some such a painful events.A big thanks to all tigers for a great victory.keep it up boys inshallah everything will b ok.

Posted by Jibran Baig on (October 19, 2006, 4:38 GMT)

It is not news that Pakistan has gone through humiliating phase in recent times and there is no better way to put it behind than winning consistently. It is a good step forward, but it be wonderful if the all come together and win it all. If they do that than everything that has happened recently will be overshadowed.

Posted by Talha Hadi on (October 19, 2006, 4:31 GMT)

The funny thing is this is not our best lineup, had inzamam not got suspended and Asif and akhtar not been accused of drug scandal this game wouldn't have been a game it would have been humiliation for SL. Pakistan still have a big chance to win, they might not have the big stars in the line up but they have the big hearts needed to play a proper game of cricket.

Posted by Kashif Anwar, M.D. on (October 19, 2006, 4:25 GMT)

Thats the performance where paki power can give sleepless nights to the oppositions! amazing team performance with such unity is a rare sight. Sitting in USA watching fully knitted team fighting for dignity re-ignitted our patriotism and emotions for the country. Hats off to whole team and woolmer. Shame on You PCB for never ending dirty politics!!

Posted by Priyantha Wijayaunga on (October 19, 2006, 4:06 GMT)

Dilshan should be dropped. He is not a match-winner at least recently. If the selectors want to give him a chance give orthers also, who are waiting.

Posted by Abdullah on (October 19, 2006, 2:28 GMT)

Unity in Diversity...Pak proved this n won over a strong Sri Lankan side...Shahid Bhai should be asked to bat at a particular order n not anywhere without prior knowledge...

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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