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June 12, 2009

Twenty20 World Cup 2009

It's the batting, stupid

Kamran Abbasi
Abdul Razzaq bends his back during practice, Lahore, June 11, 2009
 © AFP
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Pakistan thew away a golden opportunity to put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup. A target of 151 was better than Pakistan could have imagined once the Sri Lankan Frying Pan and Battering Ram were laying into their opening bowlers.

The recovery from Pakistan's bowlers proved that their mix of speed and spin is capable of helping them succeed in this tournament. And, today, even the fielders managed a decent performance.

Pakistan might worry about the number of extras conceded but it was their batting that lost them this match. Younis Khan is shoring up his team's batting effort and requires more consistent support from his senior colleagues. Misbah-ul Haq, in particular, has failed to live up to his magical Twenty20 reputation, while the rest are too inconsistent in their hitting ability.

All of this could mean that the New Zealand game is ideal to recall Abdul Razzaq. Pakistan require more power hitting, something that Razzaq specialises in. Salman Butt could be the man to lose out since Fawad Alam deserves more of an opportunity and Sohail Tanvir requires more overs to return to match-winning form.

It is a straight knock-out for Pakistan from this point onwards, and the batsmen cannot afford to panic in the way that they did today against an efficient if unspectacular Sri Lankan bowling effort.

Razzaq might be capable of giving the batting the boost that the performance of the bowlers deserves.

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

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Posted by Abdullah Kaluma on (June 13, 2009, 21:46 GMT)

For Razzak to be playing is totally wrong and great damage has been done as far as Pakistani cricket is concerned in the long run for the sake of a few victories in a game which many established cricketers regard as FUN CRICKET. Razzak was out of form and subsequently dropped in the last Twenty20 World cup, that instead of going back to the nets and find his lost form to squeeze his way back in the squad, he preferred to cross the border & join the unrecognized ICL league. What about the hundreds of local cricketers who patiently waited for a chance to don the green & yellow blazers & rejected to be lured by the ICL’s juicy contracts? What impact will Razzak’s inclusion in the squad have as far as general discipline is concerned in the team? What if Andrew Symonds was Pakistani, so he would have had a license to do what he pleased & wait for a change of guard in the cricket establishment………………………..Its a long way to go for Pakistani cricket which has tremendously lost direction.

Posted by Jude on (June 13, 2009, 19:05 GMT)

Dear Sir, COuld you please tell me why you didn't post my comment I wrote this morning?

Posted by Junaid on (June 13, 2009, 16:38 GMT)

Relax guys. We have to admit that we don't have superstars like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram etc anymore so it will take some time before Pakistan will win big tournaments. I mean if you see players at domestic level than do you feel a superstar is left out by selectors? Now Salman is not performing so everyone is asking to replace him with other average players and when they will not perform than we will demand their replacements. What is the choice right now? What is the big deal with this Fawad Alam guy? He is an average bowler, at his best he will score run a ball 20-30 and that is not good enough to win 20/20 games. Right now our only chance is if bowlers (spinners) can perform well to restrict other sides below 150 and than lets pray that for a change batsmen can hit a few four and sixes to come close to that target.

Posted by Elliot on (June 13, 2009, 16:37 GMT)

I was listening to Nick Knight earlier, "former England cricketer" and even him, an expert and cricketer believes that Shahid Afridi has to open, its common sense, apart from in the Warmup match, Afridi has only been out once out of three times on the boundary, and if he was in in the first 6 overs he would have been not out and he would have picked up runs. So wake up Younis, Pakistan, everybody he can still hit the ball, maybe not for sixes much atm, but he can still hit it. Pakistan have to throw caution to the wind now,so if you do go out, go out trying. Get Razzaq up there aswell, and keep Akmal there, get rid of Butt maybe have Shehzad somewhere but just try. Before this series, anyone who saw the ODI series in the UAE vs Australia. Shahid Afridi hit some runs there, so for goodness sake, try Pakistan, I'm not a Pakistani as you can see by my name, but I want them to do well, because there is ability.

Posted by Mudassar on (June 13, 2009, 16:21 GMT)

Well, i have a problem with our middle 3 guys, malik younis and misbah, they come in and ruin each game for us,i do not understand there strategy of playing for singles. This simply tells me they are play for their own stats. Please get rid of Misbah, he's the biggest liability on the team, Yes he had that good tournament last year, he has not done anything, has not won anything for pakistan, they guy simply plays too slow..so frustrating to watch!. The bowling has been awsome, but batting equally miserable. I'd like imarn nazir, imran farhat to return as our openeres, no place for butt! Please for god sake move afridi up to in order, the guy can not play a shot down the ground so why on earth is he batting with fielding spread out?

The couching is equally terrible very old schooled, every country has realized that first 6 overs are to get runs, whereas we're still in 1992 era. This has always happened to pakistan, never gone into a tournament with proper players!

Posted by Mohammed on (June 13, 2009, 15:08 GMT)

This is not just power hitting and tight bowling. whatever happened to paki tradition of wasim waqar imran of killing the opponent off.. who made intikhab alam coach and younis khan captain, seems like an indian is running pcb not a pakistani. now thats vs England and Sri Lanka pakistan have been shameful if u cant make 150 then go home please. And what the hell is the point of afridi at 7, does he average much more down there? thats retarded he should be opening with Akmal and younis and misbah 2 sensible players are enough is shoaib malik trying to be a senior playing like them? after sohail tanvir bowls a 10 ball over younis khan decides to give him another over..dude u just have 20 overs to bowl so please use some brain. if ur gonna give 60-70 runs in 1st 6 overs and ur batting is struggling to make 140 just leave seriosly and to be honest younis khan or his coach have absolutley no excuses nor does the stupid PCB.

Posted by abdul ghaffar on (June 13, 2009, 14:30 GMT)

after restricting lankas to only 150 .pakistan have a great chance to win and go to semis but then miss out , i think pak miss the trick to place afridi in lower order.selection of salman butt is look stupid for t20.i only wish he can play for team in any coming mathces ,he is such a selfish player ,with only one shot the cover drive,sohail tanveer also deserve to drop from the remaining matches ,he show no will wat so ever .

Posted by sanjeev on (June 13, 2009, 13:16 GMT)

I am an Indian well India is not playing well but I am hopeful both India and Pakistan can will reach semis..I was a supporter of Afridi..well it is close to 2 years and he has failed with the bat notably in the 2007 wc final and then against SL..hmm he is a good bowler may be Pakistan can choose an extra batter and Younis Khan, Misbhah should move up the order..best batters should get maximum balls to face..any comments on Afridi folks??

Posted by Shahid on (June 13, 2009, 13:12 GMT)

This is so stupid that player like Fawad Alam has been wasted for last 2 years, if you look his first class/domestic record, he always play in the top batting order and his average is 56+. Afridi should open because he can't play spinners. I think the following order should be worth trying -Kamran -Afridi -Fawad -Younis -Malik -Misbah -Razzak -Umar Gull -Tanvir -Aamir -Ajmal

Posted by moazam on (June 13, 2009, 13:01 GMT)

I think yesterdays match was lost becoz of three reasons 1.salman BUtt 2.sohail tanvir and the 3rd reason is the sudden pressure on the players. if i was the captain wid this squad my batting order would be 1.kamran akmel 2.abdur razzaq 3.mibah ul haq 4.younis khan 5.shoaib malik 6.shahid afridi 7.fawad alam 8.sohail tanvir 9.umar gul 10.saeed ajmel 11.amir afridi can open but we need his bowling so we cant blame him of anything xcept y does he closes his eyes while playing a shot. i hope pak beats new zealand tonite and then the ireland next time srilanka shud beat new zealand aswell MAY ALLAH HELP THE PAKISTANI TEAM IN THE GROUND.

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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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