Twenty20 World Cup 2007 September 24, 2007

Dhoni and Malik triumph for cricket


Cricket's greatest rivals played out a thrilling encounter, a feast fit for a king. The King of India has to be Mahendra Singh Dhoni whose energy and positivity filled his troops with confidence and a welcome nerve. Pakistan's captain did much the same for his men but the pressure of a World Cup final chase weighed heavily on Pakistan's batsmen.

Misbah-ul-Haq was magnificent but his fellow batsmen played without an ounce of his calm other than Imran Nazir, which is saying something. But Pakistan's batsmen have only themselves to blame for this defeat after the match had been handed to them on a golden platter by their inspired bowling attack.

None the less, Pakistan have gained much from this tournament. Foremost among the gains is the revival of Pakistan's bowling attack, a boon in any form of cricket. Umar Gul is the stand-out bowler of the tournament. A new player of obvious talent, Sohail Tanvir, has emerged to offer a dangerous swish of left-arm with ball or bat. An older player of latent talent, Misbah has broken through to stake a claim for Pakistan's middle order. And the leadership combination of Malik and Geoff Lawson has instilled a spirit that Pakistan fans had worried would be confined to their memories.

Pakistan can build from here, a tough year lies ahead. But there is no use in wallowing in the depression of a valiant defeat. Pakistan and India were the best teams in this tournament, a miraculous recovery after the Caribbean. This is a cause of celebration throughout South Asia. Today, India, the team that mastered its nerves better in the Bullring won a deserved victory. But Pakistan and India together scored a triumph for international cricket as a thrilling spectator sport. Congratulations Messrs Dhoni and Malik.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

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  • testli5504537 on January 8, 2011, 13:00 GMT

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  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 13:20 GMT

    If the you people (blog-owners) will pen down non-cricketing issues, then what kind of comments would you expect from us. Full stop.

  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 11:43 GMT

    There's a few posts which state that Dhoni didn't mention any pakistan players in his end of match interview,

    I'm pretty sure he did mention about 4 bowlers; becuase he said their (can't rememeber who exactly he mentioned) bowling was really really....(pause)...really really excellent!

    lol i only remembered that becuase it made me laugh!

  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 10:10 GMT

    Javed sb. thats a nasty shot (below the belt) and irrelevant whereas Amit seems to have shot himself in the foot by responding the way he did, you don't need to be a mathematician to figure that one out my friend. There is ofcouse no truth in either case.

    Yes Amit, and if the Pakistani players had given their 100% too, it would have still been a great contest.

  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 9:38 GMT

    First of all, congratulations to the Indian cricket team for their success in the T20 Finals. As much as I would have liked to have seen Pakistan win, the way it all happened “almost” made the outcome irrelevant. At the end of the day I feel more sad for Misbah not being able to finish it off rather than Pakistan losing.

    He really needs all the credit he can get. We can all sit out here and comment on what he should or should not have done but the way he kept his composure throughout the innings was remarkable. He almost cleared Sreesanth. Even if he had gone straight, he could have holed out in the deep. Had it paid off, we would have been harping eloquent about his performance. I think we should still do it. We didn’t hold back with our criticism when he was selected and we should not be so stingy with our praise after his performance throughout the tournament.

    I felt the Man of the Match should have been Gautam Gambhir as he was the difference between the two sides. If you neglect the top scorers (Gambhir and Misbah), there is not much difference between the total runs scored by the other top six batsmen.

    If any positives have to be drawn out of this loss is that it keeps us focused on the changes that have to be made. A win would surely have swept them under the carpet.

    Kamran Akmal was dubbed as the next best thing after Gilchrist in 2005 but now he is woefully out of form and must be replaced.

    Imran Nazir and Muhammed Hafeez would definitely not find a place in the test side but maybe they can be persisted with in the ODIs or T20. Imran did show signs of (slight) improvement in the last two matches. His run out was a turning point in the match which was more due to a brilliant piece of fielding from Uthappa than Younis’ call. He showed presence of mind to throw at the batsman’s end.

    Its just the other way around for Younis Khan, tests only if anything. Muhammed Yousuf would have been much more useful. He is a superb player barring his fielding in any form of the game.

    Yasir Arafat and Salman Butt would probably have played their last match for a while and should get back to domestic cricket. Same with Abdur Rehman, whose inclusion in this side was perhaps the most baffling especially with Fawad around.

    We saw a brief glimpse of Fawad Alam which didn’t tell much except that he is eager. Look forward to seeing more of him.

    Rao would remain on the sidelines. Once touted as a parchi player he actually is quite a decent bowler.

    This leaves Misbah, Tanvir, Afridi, Shoaib, Gul & Asif who in my opinion should continue in all forms of the game. It may still be a little premature to consider Misbah and Tanvir but they couldn’t have done more (perhaps made 7 more runs) on tour.

    If hopefully Yousuf returns, Yasir Hameed should be brought in as opener with Khurram Manzoor or Khalid Latif (have read so much about them on this blog, has anyone seen them play???). Same goes for the wicketkeeper (Sarfraz).

    So my test eleven for the first test would be,

    Khalid Latif, Yasir Hameed, Shoaib Malik, Muhammed Yousuf, Misbah ul Haq, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Muhammed Asif, Danesh Kaneria

    A word about Shoaib’s captaincy, he did very well and IMO his field placings were well thought out and for once there was a plan. The only blemishes were his ignorance of the bowl out rule and ofcourse his statement during the presentation ceremony (surprisingly Afridi spoke more sensibly than anyone from either side). He took everyone by surprise and it definitely was due to his weak communication skills than anything else.

    Finally, going through this blog, barring a very few, I was really pleased to see the comments from either side devoid of animosity and appreciative of each other.

    Gosh, how did this post get so long???

  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    It's children's cricket, no more no less! Get over it Pakistan, again you lost and all you can do is query someone's comments. Nice try at diverting attention from the fact that you couldn't even win the most ridiculous sporting "World Cup" ever held! The reason successful teams like Australia dismiss it as money grasping trivial nonsense is because that's what it is! A circus sideshow that genuine cricket afficianados do nothing but laugh at, yet you bloggers write as if it actually meant something. Bring on something serious like actual cricket!

  • testli5504537 on September 27, 2007, 8:19 GMT

    The last thing anyone would want to see is bringing in religion factor in sports. Unfortunately, Pakistan again got into headlines quite unnecessarily and yet again for radicalism. And this came from the captain of the national cricket team himself. If PCB had thought that getting rid of Inzimam-ul-Haq would clear the team of religious fanatics then they must think again; Pakistan team now have a new generation of those in players like Shoaib Malik. His post match chat was simply unprofessional and daft. He began by bringing in Islam from the get go. Doesn't he think that sports have no boundaries? Does he think that only muslims support the Pakistani team? He must have hurt a lot of people who aren't muslims but support Pakistan. Why didn't he mention those people? Not even all Pakistanis support their cricket team. If he didn't have the right words to say something then he would be better off keeping quiet especially on such a sensitive issue. Furthermore, he also didn't acknowledge the Indian cricket team for their victory in the final. That's just so unprofessional, period. He should have congratulated his opponents as customery in post game chats. He chose not to be generous and kind. He must understand that a game is just a game; even on-field hostilities must cease after the match. Regardless of the result, one must support cricket and the spirit of the game. All teams have their own fans but please don't segregate them on the religious basis. If people could suggest psychological classes for the other Shoaib then why not some communication classes for this Shoaib? Atleast he could seek help from Geoff Lawson on that. Being the captain, he must be extra sensitive and resposible. He didn't help his patron-in-chief's cause on projecting Pakistan as an ultra modern state. In the future, please be more cautious in using your words and learn how to be generous in sports.

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