Twenty20 World Cup 2009 June 13, 2009

Afridi lights the fire

Umar Gul fried New Zealand at The Oval but it was Shahid Afridi who lit the fire, with a sprinting catch and some mesmerising bowling
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Shahid Afridi's array of drifters, spinners and yorkers bamboozled New Zealand © Associated Press
 

Umar Gul fried New Zealand at The Oval but it was Shahid Afridi who lit the fire. Afridi's sprinting catch off Scott Styris was a delightful surprise for all Pakistan fans, and it set the tone for a sparkling performance and swung the psychology of the match in Pakistan's favour.

Let's be clear, Pakistan still have their problems. The fielding can be geriatric and the batting isn't entirely convincing but Pakistan's bowlers are becoming a formidable combination. The root of this is a varied bowling attack that can halt the run rate through aggression.

Gul produced a glorious record-breaking spell but his first wicket belonged to Afridi's exhilarating race to grasp Styris's soaring strike. By then Afridi had already bewildered New Zealand's batsmen with his array of drifters, spinners, and laser guided yorkers. For Afridi fans it is a relief that his bowling has become so formidable in cricket's shorter versions, else he might have been lost to the international arena.

What's more, Afridi also found time to revert to a batting approach that can restore his confidence. He remains a beautifully clean striker of the ball but he betrays his ability when he allows impatience to force him to hit across the line.

Afridi is at his best striking through the ball and straight, an approach that requires at least a few sighters before an all-out assault. Now Afridi and Pakistan have a further opportunity to fine tune their form and strategy when they seek revenge against Ireland and a berth in the semi-finals.

This was a good day for Pakistan. Apart from Afridi and Gul, Shahzaib demonstrated some promising firepower, and Aamer again showed ability and temperament that helped him recover from a poor start. Abdul Razzaq made a vital and emotional return too.

Pakistan know all too well that a team that times its run right can cause a surprise. A Pakistani triumph in this tournament would still be a surprise but only three straight Twenty20 victories, with the first against Ireland, is an appetising challenge.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sohail moin pakistan on June 24, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    With the grace of God Pakistan is now become World Champion of T20 Cricket 2009. We are all very happy and hope that Paistan will maintian their performance in comming years

  • taimoor bashirr on June 17, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    i wl proud on pakistan. pakistan wl win world cup. the team wl strong by coming of abdul razak

  • a on June 16, 2009, 20:54 GMT

    It's so exciting to watch Afridi bowl or bat. You never know what he's gonna do.

  • waseem on June 16, 2009, 17:04 GMT

    Afridi:

    Please beleive in your self, take some time on wicket and start hit the ball cleanly. Do not hurry and don't listen the spectator (the enemies in disguies). No one can hit all the ball so take time to see the ball and hit the bad ball of overs, not all then after you can hit 12 sixs in row. I like you and like your style of batting. Only you need to open the inning and clear the 30 yard circle and play the shot where feilder is not posted. Please see the feilding before hitting the ball and be patient and watchfull in early of the inning. Once you get in touch you are the best hitter......

  • Murtaza Moiz on June 16, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    I agree with you Mr. Usman Zia, our media is inexperience, the matter which they should utilize, isn't utilized unlike other medias who exploit us too much easily.

  • Balkrishna Adhikari on June 16, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Afridi is in track... he is really doing better than others. Team should upgrade to Afridi in batting line. Most of the time he was being out by hitting spinners ball... If team management will send as a opener, he can do well by hitting well.. he can hit to Fast bowler. if so then there is no any doubt of winning tweenty20 worldcup by Pakistan!

  • proud to be Pakistani on June 15, 2009, 18:24 GMT

    I love Pakistan I Love Pakistan I Love Pakistan I Love Pakistan well done pakistan Insahallah Pakistan Will win the trophy its time to boost the pakistani team and pray for them inshallah pakistan will win inshallah go pakistan go all pakistani will pray for pakistan team agar best of luck pakistan

  • Sathyamurthy on June 15, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Afridi with his wily spinners has proved that he can make the headlines with the ball for a change instead of talking with the bat. He has ensured that he is able to keep up to the reputation and hopes that Younis has kept on him in continuing to be part of the team even though he hasnt fired with his willow. Hope they go a long way in this tournament to prove to the world that they feel more for cricket amid the happening at their country.

  • Gohar on June 15, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    Thats what i stated when Pak won the match!! that momentum was setup by Afridi!! that was the lifting moment when he pulled the team n crowd. And Darting yorkers og GUL was magnificent. Strikong Vettori by Shahzaib was alarm for all teams. He has the ability of clearing the Feild he need bit confidence and I hope he'll earn from match against IRELAND!! Hope Pakistan will bring Trophy with Them... GO Green GO!!

  • Mohammad Awais Rana on June 15, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Well done Afridi! i would like to suggest team management to make the use of afridi in the batting by sending him as operner and get the maximum of first six overs. keep the Kamran as back of Afridi or at number 6.

  • sohail moin pakistan on June 24, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    With the grace of God Pakistan is now become World Champion of T20 Cricket 2009. We are all very happy and hope that Paistan will maintian their performance in comming years

  • taimoor bashirr on June 17, 2009, 6:36 GMT

    i wl proud on pakistan. pakistan wl win world cup. the team wl strong by coming of abdul razak

  • a on June 16, 2009, 20:54 GMT

    It's so exciting to watch Afridi bowl or bat. You never know what he's gonna do.

  • waseem on June 16, 2009, 17:04 GMT

    Afridi:

    Please beleive in your self, take some time on wicket and start hit the ball cleanly. Do not hurry and don't listen the spectator (the enemies in disguies). No one can hit all the ball so take time to see the ball and hit the bad ball of overs, not all then after you can hit 12 sixs in row. I like you and like your style of batting. Only you need to open the inning and clear the 30 yard circle and play the shot where feilder is not posted. Please see the feilding before hitting the ball and be patient and watchfull in early of the inning. Once you get in touch you are the best hitter......

  • Murtaza Moiz on June 16, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    I agree with you Mr. Usman Zia, our media is inexperience, the matter which they should utilize, isn't utilized unlike other medias who exploit us too much easily.

  • Balkrishna Adhikari on June 16, 2009, 5:56 GMT

    Afridi is in track... he is really doing better than others. Team should upgrade to Afridi in batting line. Most of the time he was being out by hitting spinners ball... If team management will send as a opener, he can do well by hitting well.. he can hit to Fast bowler. if so then there is no any doubt of winning tweenty20 worldcup by Pakistan!

  • proud to be Pakistani on June 15, 2009, 18:24 GMT

    I love Pakistan I Love Pakistan I Love Pakistan I Love Pakistan well done pakistan Insahallah Pakistan Will win the trophy its time to boost the pakistani team and pray for them inshallah pakistan will win inshallah go pakistan go all pakistani will pray for pakistan team agar best of luck pakistan

  • Sathyamurthy on June 15, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    Afridi with his wily spinners has proved that he can make the headlines with the ball for a change instead of talking with the bat. He has ensured that he is able to keep up to the reputation and hopes that Younis has kept on him in continuing to be part of the team even though he hasnt fired with his willow. Hope they go a long way in this tournament to prove to the world that they feel more for cricket amid the happening at their country.

  • Gohar on June 15, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    Thats what i stated when Pak won the match!! that momentum was setup by Afridi!! that was the lifting moment when he pulled the team n crowd. And Darting yorkers og GUL was magnificent. Strikong Vettori by Shahzaib was alarm for all teams. He has the ability of clearing the Feild he need bit confidence and I hope he'll earn from match against IRELAND!! Hope Pakistan will bring Trophy with Them... GO Green GO!!

  • Mohammad Awais Rana on June 15, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Well done Afridi! i would like to suggest team management to make the use of afridi in the batting by sending him as operner and get the maximum of first six overs. keep the Kamran as back of Afridi or at number 6.

  • Mohammad Awais Rana on June 15, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    Well done Afridi! i would like to suggest team management to make the use of afridi in the batting by sending him as operner and get the maximum of first six overs. keep the Kamran as back of Afridi or at number 6.

  • Asif Siddique on June 15, 2009, 7:16 GMT

    Mr. Kamran, 1st of all it is "RAZZAQ" lights the fire not Afridi but ofcourse Afridi is one of the best bowler you can find in any form of the game and Afridi performed as he always do with his bowling or his bat. Gul was the master and to see Pakistan playing so well is some thing like AMAZING. The only thing Pakistan needs to work on is their batting. Best of luck to Pakistan. God bless Pakistan. INSHALLAH TALLAH WE WILL WIN. Ameen

  • Muhammad Hafeez on June 15, 2009, 6:15 GMT

    My first reaction to that hit was "oh! thay have't posted a amn there" but the way Afridi sprinted back, galloped that catch perfectly and after that he held his momentum was a delight to watch. well done Afidi!!

  • Hasan Khan on June 14, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    Great win for pakistan much neee. I stil think Afridi should open with Akmal he should make use of the first 6 overs but paksitan team dont get it, do they?. Umar gul amazing performance aswel as razzaq. the fielidng was much better but the battig needs improving. i think Malik was unlucky he got a good ball, worried about misah's form i though he would click in this tournament. anyway pakistan zindabad... HOPE THEY HAMMER IRELAND ON MONDAY, FORECAST DON'T LOOK GOOD!!!

  • yasin baig on June 14, 2009, 12:46 GMT

    mlik is not playing upto his standards, he should show some potential, afridi plays better updown the order

  • sakib on June 14, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    well,that's a fantastic performance all of them.pakistan showed what they are.i hope they will perform that kind of match.inshallah they will have a T/20 Cup.

  • Muhammad Asif Siddiqui on June 14, 2009, 10:21 GMT

    Just read a few of the comments posted here and I'd like to say that Ujjwal Pandey's comments made me think. Well, no doubt there is still a long long way to go specially when you are expected to be up against (if through to semis) the likes of South Africa, West Indies (due to their current form) and India. In my humble opinion, what's missing is the hunger of winning. It has been proved every now and then that this team even can do the unbelievable if they want to.The ignite and flame of the hunger of winning and more serious attitude (specially from seniors) can lead this team to the highest post on the victory stands. What they need to do is to set the target and aim for it sincerely by erasing the word of losing from their dictionaries. T20 is the cricket of Pakistan. I myself has played many at club level and I know what it takes. So Team Pakistan should believe in itself and put their everything in and the victory is 95% guaranteed.

    Thanks...

  • Rauf on June 14, 2009, 10:12 GMT

    You need to perform in two of the three i.e. Batting, Bowling and Fielding to win any match. Pakistan was able to do that in Bowling and Fielding against NZ but our problem continues to be batting. By that I mean big hitters up front. Shahzaib is impressive. Pair him with Imran Nazir and we may have 20/20 opening dilemma resolved but Nazir can't join now because of his ICL ties.

    Watch out in next few days for everyone to question Gul's reverse swing against NZ when he took 5 for 6. One article has already appeared on Cricinfo. Pakistanis never get a break in international press I guess.

    And like some else already said... Kamran, please change your photo. That smirk needs to go... really ;)

  • sayed on June 14, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    what a performence!keep it up.boys

  • Alex on June 14, 2009, 10:03 GMT

    Good to see the team perform against NZ. Don't understand why some of the bloggers calling on Rao to come in. He is an average bowler who is ideal to get tonked in this format. Malik needs to go. Very little contribution with the bat and poor show with the ball. I think he's taking a back hander somewhere. Maybe if they convince the ICC that Tanvir is injured there may still be time to get Rana in. ALso get rid of that plonker Salman Butt-erfingers and bring in ....yes u all know Imran Nazir. Hopefully if all goes to plan against Ireland should be in the semis as I can't see NZ beating SL. From there it is anyone's game on the day. However, it's nice to know that Pak have a decent squad now with teh return of Mo Yousuf, potentially Mo Asif after his detox and people like Nasir Jamshed, Mo Amer etc for the future. However as always the mishandling by the PCB will prob result in a lot of these guys just fading out as usual.

  • Faisal on June 14, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    Throw Malik and Misbah out. Fawad Alam needs to given a proper chance!!!! Razzaq doe snot have a good technique against spin so he should be place in a position where he does not expose the lineup. Speaking of Afridi....Well as much as Pakistani's love him hitting boundries, the guy has no technique. He is better off nudging around for one and two like the 40 he made against Australia. He was out on the last ball yesterday anyways, had the catch not be dropped. Our batting will always be weak until Malik and Misbah are not replaced. Imran Nazir may be good for a 20/20 but he plays liek a 'jungli' with terrible shot selection. The South Africans had him figured out in after the first ODI in 2007 before the WC and he failed miserably. I still think that with a good coach his shot selection can be improved....nobody doubts his ability. Also the ball is not swinging so Afridi might as well be tried as an opener....we won't have anything to loose!

  • Zeeshan Sadiq on June 14, 2009, 9:38 GMT

    Let us see todays match of Srilanka and hope they didnt get a big win. Then tommorrow pakistan would have run rates of NZ & SL before thier match against Ireland. Pakistan need to beat them with such margin that we go on top of the group in terms of runrate with equal points. this would confirm that pakistan reaches the semifinal and NZ vs SL match would be irralivant for us.... Cheers

  • Faraz Khan on June 14, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    This was an excellent performance by Pakistan team, mainly due to the right team selection. I would like to see Afridi as an opener, to free his arms against the quickies, when the field is not spread as Razzaq can now left for slog overs where he can be more devastating. Razzaq, Afridi n Gul, hats off to you guys!

  • Aamir Akhund on June 14, 2009, 8:48 GMT

    Go Team Pakistan. Its amazing how each different set of pakistani teams have one thing in comon. The way they keep on coming back from dangerous position is a remarkable trait. Yonus needs to find a way to spark the love of the game in Malik. That chap is a vital part of our team and by the looks of it if we qualify for the semi finals we would be facing South Africa (the baby blue indian team will be out of the running by that time).

  • Marlo on June 14, 2009, 8:47 GMT

    Well done Pakistan. A better fielding display but cant they do it again. Nice to see som score coming of afridi's bat. And to end with, a lot of miss JEOFF LAWSON in Pakistani dressing room. A true gentleman really.

  • Faisal Hashmi on June 14, 2009, 8:38 GMT

    Finally we have something to smile about. Hard work always pays off. Well done Pakistan! Will see you in the final... hopefully with India. Umer Gul is a fantastic bowler.

  • shaikat hasan on June 14, 2009, 8:07 GMT

    Umur Gul is the king of pacers in present time.. oh my god 6-5 what bowling figure! & what a cath from Afridi! it's a goog sign that Afridi hyas batted with responsibilities...he was great yesterday... & Razzak a fgreat come back! Sahzeb had a good debue.... good luck for pakistan! WAKE up & show what uCAN???????!!!!!!!!!

  • irfancharming on June 14, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    well AOA! to aLL... and Thanks To ALLAH for the this winning ...

    1st of aLL i would like to highlight tht there is smething woring in the camp still...

    malik is not weling well to bat then y he is in the team ??

    he want captaincy .. just through out this politician from the team he is spoiling the whole team...

    " Aik gandie machlie poray talaab ko ganda karthie haay "

    this wht i want to share bas

    thanks Allah hafiz.

  • qaysy on June 14, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    well my doubts are still the batting performance. shazaib seems a hitting prospect lets hope he maintains his sense while doing the job. razzaq's inclusion is like a Red Bull for the team. i am not convinced about fawad in playing 11. y is he there. he can be replaced by a proper batsman to strengthen the batting.

  • Zubayr on June 14, 2009, 6:18 GMT

    Well done pakistan..good fielding...seen how Umar Gul dived to stop that shot,or Younis's effort to dismiss Vetori,not to tell of Afridi's catch.I Think our bowling is the best but they are some shackes in batting..My batting order for rest of the team would be Shazaib Razzaq Afridi Kamran Misbah Younis Malik Fawad Gul Amir/Ifthikar Ajmal hope Ifthikar gets a decent chance

  • mtwrps on June 14, 2009, 6:06 GMT

    great job done by all pak team especialy gul and abdul razzaq well done pakistan and we know about the ability of afridi how he hitting the ball but he need some confidence and i hope he got it from today match

  • Dr.Abrar Ahmed Khan on June 14, 2009, 6:02 GMT

    ''welcome back razzaq sir , its great of u n not only pakistan cricket but aslso the world cricket was incomplete without u'' its really emotional n great to see abdul razzaq on the field for pakistan n he provided the early breaks what pak was desperately needing so far in the tournament , afridi is great with the ball n he got some runs also , good to send him up ,i think pakistan shud send him up in the order n finally UMAR GUL , no words to praise him , 1st time a bowler is doing reverse swing in t20 cricket its amazing to watch , i thought he could have took 6 wicket as he just bowled 3 overs its great , now pak need a big win against ireland , other wise newzealand have their chances as thy will excactly know what they have to do to get into the semi's coz their match is after pak vs ireland match

  • Ali Raza on June 14, 2009, 6:01 GMT

    I think they should injure someone and get IMRAN NAZIR back. Great fielder and a great bastman.

  • TurboKam512 on June 14, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Wake up call for Pakistan cricket, for the past few games of crocket with the Pakistan side either poor fielding, bad batting, the commentaters on every live broadcast would criticise the team and their performance but then there was Pakistan vs NewZealand and there was Shahid Khan Afridi to take a catch normally the best fielders from the cricketing world would not dare to try , it was a true compassionate effort from the most loyal of all players in the Pakistan team which got rewarded as a victory for the nation deprived of its international gallor's an swept to the sides by an unforgiving and cruel Terror struck happenings. The nation and the people around the world watching and supporting Pakistan are very happy with the result and congratulate them on a great victory, showing Pakistan of how good they are and they should always be confident and Proud to be Pakistanis. All the best to them and all our prayers are with them in all matches to continue this streak and win the T20cup

  • Khurram Dawood on June 14, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    Great performance by Pakistan. Thanks to Salman for not playing thats why we won :)

    And dont forget Shazeb they new opener he played well. He was shaky in start but after few overs he start to play VERY well. I tink he and ahmed shahzad can be new openers ?

  • Zulfiqar Ali Kazmi, Atlanta on June 14, 2009, 5:38 GMT

    Well done Pakistan. I've a question. Does any one know the equation for Pakistan? I mean what does Pakistan need to do against Ireland inorder to qualify for the semis? Especially if New Zealand beats Sri Lanka. An answer will be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

  • Surpised on June 14, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Surprised we were indeed. I fully expected that not only would Afridi drop that catch but also that he would manage to kick over the rope for a boundary, to add insult, given the lightning speed with which he was running. But what a brilliant effort in the end. I think that catch really lifted the spirits and spurred the team on to deliver a great performance.

    Lesson that should have been learnt: A good fileding perfomance is a key precursor to a good bowling performance.

  • Nauman Zahir on June 14, 2009, 5:28 GMT

    Another roller-coaster ride for Pakistan in this world cup:). Just when you give up on team Pakistan, they have something special in store. It does seem however, that only the 3 pathans in the Pakistani team are playing. Maybe we should change the team to an all pathan lineup :).

    Fabulous return A. Razzaq, out of the world Afridi but I have no words to descrbe Umar Gul.

    Keep it up Team Pakistan

  • Giovanni T on June 14, 2009, 5:25 GMT

    This victory is meaningful; NZ are always a competitive ODI and T20 side, evidenced by their very narrow loss to SAf, who are in amazing form.

    Afridi's bowling has been fantastic lately, and his confidence is clearly help to bring his batting back. I think having him open against South Africa (if Pakistan bat first) could really pour the pressure on them and turn the game on its head.

    Well done and good luck.

  • Muhammad Ammad Javed on June 14, 2009, 5:14 GMT

    Finally Pakistani supporters got something to cheer about.Pakistan outclassed the opposition completely And thats what they can do on their day to any opposition Best of luck for next matches

  • Mansoor on June 14, 2009, 5:13 GMT

    Pakistan would be a much better team if they kept Geoff Lawson. Why? because you need an analyst. Today's cricket is not being played like they it was in the 80's or 90's. An Australian coach like Lawson, even as an assistant coach, can provide the technological help Pakistan lacks. Current coaches are old school. And today's terrific performance was due to players' commitment. They would've won even without the current coaches. Pakistan have always performed better under foreign coaches, Miandad is an exception.

  • Zak on June 14, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    Nice going gul, razzaq, afridi, ajmal, shahzad, akmal... i guess you get the point, it was a great team effort from pakistan that i have seen after a long time hopefully it continues through the tournament and we can win it. btw the catch Afridi took was a a big surprise for us, we were thinking it was a 4 with no long-on in place, but boy what a catch! GO Pakistan!

  • Mohammed on June 14, 2009, 5:11 GMT

    It's nice to see Pakistan winning the match with NZ. It is also nice to see someone had guts, in making Razack play rather than have him sit on the bench. I hope the same guts are employed to replace Shoiab Malik with Salman Butt. This should give some batting and fielding power, and Fawad Alam be used for spin if required. And lastly I hope Shahid Afridi uses his common sense to place his innings rather than opening his arms without using his brain.

  • Junaid on June 14, 2009, 5:09 GMT

    Great to see Abdul Razzaq back in Pakistan team. It would have been great to see Imran Nazir open with Akmal but no worries. Only weak moments in today's match were that misfielding by Hassan and first lose over by amer but both are young and learning. Next target is to win big against Ireland to ensure we can qualify for semis. If we bat first than target should be minimum 180-190 and restrict Ireland to 125. If bowl first than restrict Ireland to 120-130 and chase in 15 overs. I might be getting a bit optimistic but it is not impossible.

  • Salman Riaz on June 14, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Seems like the typical trap is set for Pakistan again and these simple (not dumb -trust me) administrators of PCB are going to be sucked into it. As usual any Pakistan bowler starts doing something that the australians, kiwis or poms can't play - Wooh comes the suspicion of Ball tempering. Vettori's comments today said all that in hidden language. If some body is NZ is not smart enough to get the ball to reverse swing ever thats not Gul's Fault. The Art of reverse swing was developed and polished by Pakistan by much better players than Vettori, some of them so great that ppl like vettori would just be lucky enough to get an autograph from. Vettori should wake up and look up the history of NZ cricket as it took them almost 2 decades to win their first test match. Never had any body other than Hadlee or may be martin crowe who would be classified as an above average cricketer. Better get ur house in order Mr Vettori.

    Salman Riaz

  • Mohd zaid on June 14, 2009, 4:51 GMT

    Razzaq u r 2 gud man .Mccullum early wicket by razzaq changes d game welcome back razzaq it gud 2 see dat afridi play sum ground shot wid bat but d bating was not still enough we lost 4 wicket to chase 100 plz take care of bating

  • fhs on June 14, 2009, 4:38 GMT

    Congrats!!!

    Kick Malik out - he is hurting Pakistan. when we need 150 runs, he makes 25, when we need 100, he makes 9. when he bowls, he gives full toss and do no balls. Tanveer needs to replace Malik - we will need Tanveer in big games. This is true that Tanveer display of no /wide balls against SL was not up to the standard but aside from those balls, I do not think he bowled badly. I personally think he become a scapegoat and a result, it cost his spot. In reality, it was the consistent poor performance of senior palyers that cost us the loss against SL. Comments?

  • Irfan on June 14, 2009, 4:27 GMT

    Yeah, yeah, it's all good. They put up a good show but pardon my cynicism if I keep my fingers crossed to see them do something which is more than hot & cold. Where inclusion of Razzaque is heartening; exclusion of Salman is a relief. To me the prospect of two young openers at the top of the batting who can hit well (Shazaib and Shahzad) is exciting. However, I know that it's a fools dream as it chews up the spot for an allrounder. If, we can have both of these young bucks vying for this spot and excelling in the process Pakistan stands to benefit enormously in the coming days. As for Afridi what more can I say but that he is Kamran's favorite. He is in the news when not performing; imagine what happens when he does perform. It's funny how Kamran lavishes praise on Afridi for that running catch off Umar. Funny, that a norm with any other cricketing side to complete those difficult catches becomes a laurel for Pak fielding. Looks like things are coming together for Pak. Good JOB guys.

  • Faraaz on June 14, 2009, 4:26 GMT

    I would like all the cricinfo readers to take notice of the article The confounding Mr Gul by Mr. Alex Brown. Mr. Abbasi you need to take notice of the hidden inference. What if Simon Jones or Andrew Flintoff would have achieved reverse swing in 12th over, would Mr. Brown write such an article?

  • muhammad riaz on June 14, 2009, 4:25 GMT

    welcome back to the great alrounder.he is the man who can take the pakistani team to the final.it is the winning team.but the bating order need some changes.if yonus khan is not going to bowl with fawad alam.then he should be replaced with ahmad shezad.who can bat nicly.i think the bating order will get some strength.afridi can provide a good start in the opening.

  • Salman Malik on June 14, 2009, 4:23 GMT

    Well done - for once. Most comments do justice to Razzaq's selection. The problem is with PCB, how the didn't select Imran Nazir, Rana Naveed, Abdul Razzaq and Mohammed Yousaf is beyond comprehension. The most important thing here is Shoaib Malik..he needs to be told he is in the team to score runs...not to cement his place in the side...he may be in a defensive mode as the ICL discards come knocking..especially Yousaf..if Shoaib Malik's batting fires in the next two games, Pakistan will be in the Finals for sure.Barring Sri Lanka, Pakistan's bowling attack looks the most formidable...SA is good, but they don't have a spinner.

  • Zainab Khan on June 14, 2009, 4:20 GMT

    What a wonderful game it was yesterday, it just goes to show how team effort, and belief in one self, really makes the big difference.. Our bowling is becoming strong and strong, and it's just a matter of the batting becoming super, that our team can perhaps be what it used to be in the days of Miandad and Imran Khan =) Hats off to Uner Gul, for his tremendous bowling spell, new comer, Shahzaib looks amazing too, and cant forget the unforgettable Afridi Bhai who took a stunning catch.. Boy was our fielding improved in this match,, we have to keep it up and take the title back home InshAllah!

    Pakistan Zindabad!

  • Shariq on June 14, 2009, 4:17 GMT

    Pakistan think tank has got it seriously wrong, which is what has let our batting down. The antiquated method of saving wickets till the last few overs might work in 50 over games but it won't in 20-20. Having a defensive posture in the first few overs of 20-20 is a throw back to the Imran Khan era and is prob also influenced by Inthikhab Alam. Hitters have to come out first because in 20-20 getting of to a flyer is crucial, there are only 6 overs with field restrictions. in 20-20's its all in the way a team starts. Despite good middle periods against Sri Lanka, Pakistan was effectively trying to salvage the match from disastrous starts in both batting and bowling. Because of the short duration of 20-20's it is best to start with a bang, and focus the pressure immediately on the opposition. Doing so will decrease pressure on players coming in later to do miraculous things with the bat. If some batsmen comeout firing and fail, so be it, younis, akmal, misbah can come later and accumulat

  • Kamran on June 14, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    I think pakistan need imran farhat back in the side. That stylish left hander can take pakistan to the title, i don't know why people are not talking about him. Also, pakistan need to drop ajmal as we have too many spinners in the side. Maybe give rao iftikhar a chance. He is under rated just because he is not stylish.

  • shariq on June 14, 2009, 4:07 GMT

    Great win for Pak. I still think Fawad Alam is taking up a batting spot in the side if he is not going to be asked to bowl. That space if filled by Imran Nazir to go out with Shahzaib might make for an explosive opening pair. Akmal should be sent down the order, and Afridi should be promoted up the order so he gets enough time to get his eye in before going for a shot. It is still Pakistan's batting that worries me, I seriously doubt they could chase a total of 150+ posted by a top side

  • aflal on June 14, 2009, 4:05 GMT

    wow what an inspiring win.beauty of this match was everyone contributed afridi,gul,razzak,shezy.wht a stroke maker the yong gun of pakistan.i don't think pakistan have any fielding problems when they show commitment.thy have a very good chance to make in to final if thy beat ireland and hopefully west indies or south africa.gul he was awesome treat to watch pak fast bowlers regain there artistic skill of reverse swinging the ball.when pakis fighting lik this it is treat to watch thy always come out with miracles hope thy 'll delete thr old memories and become champs this time as thy can have a PLACE in semis.well done pakistan.again u all proved the importance and excitement pakistan can bring to the game regardless of the format when thy are truely commited.

  • Bilal on June 14, 2009, 3:28 GMT

    welcome back Abdul Razzaq and surly a welcome victory for Pak.special thanks to ICC for the approval of Razzaq's inclusion in the best 15.i m really happy for him and his performance after being suddenly called for duty that he deserved.i admit that out of form players are sometimes left out from the team just to let them settle down, mostly get their form back.but in Razzaq's case it was unfair to not let him play the T20 WC 2007.A player with Razzaq's calibur sholdent be left out in the first place even with no form.Tournment like these give players the chance to get their forms back.forget the chance, he has been a match winner for Pak for over a decade.You just cant afford to leave them out.But since he is back all that history talking about him dosent matter.as far as Afridi's batting goes, he is 29 years old he has still got 5 cricket years left in him.this is alot of time to work on his batting.as far as his bowling goes, he is doing a superb job and he is only gonna get better.

  • J Zarif on June 14, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    Looking at Razzaq'a performance today, Dr. Nasim Asharaf and company must be ashamed of their actions two years ago. It was Razzaq who set the tempo in Pak;s favour by removing Macclum. Pak should keep the same team for the rest of the tournament. It appears that they will play with SA in the semifinal and winner of this match, to my mind, will lift the tropy.

  • Sakib on June 14, 2009, 2:55 GMT

    I have a feeling Pakistan team is peaking at the right time but then it's their being unexpected and lack of consistency that scares me. I hope it's all good from here. Would you also touch on the response that Gul's bowling is getting from people like Alex Brown as in support of Denial Vettori he has tried to cast a shadow on doubt on Gul's Rerverse Swing performance and made it sound like cheating. Please address this issue as it hurts to see such people not being honest enough to aknowledge such mastery and the art that has always been exhibited best by Pakistan. Not to mention, out of best 7 Twenty20 Bowling performances Gul has 3.

  • Faraz Ishaq on June 14, 2009, 2:51 GMT

    Shahid "The Pathan" Afridi, is one of the most entertaining cricketer in the world. From 1996 till 2009, every single year, he has produced a masterpiece and for last two year he is consistently the best bowler in Pakistan Cricket Team. Yesterday's catch surely lit the fire and I am sure there are few on the way. For the first time, I think Younis has used his best options. I will open with Kamran and Shahzaib at any given day in this form of cricket. And if Imran Nazir get in the side than I am sure that Pakistan is unstoppable in this form of cricket and can carry the same flow to the One days...Long Live Pakistan and long live Shahid "The Pathan, The Boom Boom" Afridi...

  • Fahad Majeed on June 14, 2009, 2:35 GMT

    Great game! Pakistan bamboozled NZ! Such an unpredictable lot. Rubbish in start, not even supposed to pass Stage 1 but here we are in the Semis and India who were ranked to go to Finals are going out of World Cup.hahahah i am loving it!!!

  • Bhaskar Joshi on June 14, 2009, 2:23 GMT

    Pakistan never seem to fall short of quality pacers or bowling in overall...its the battig and fielding that lets Pak down...hope to see Imran Nazir soon in their lineup which would strengthen both batting and fielding...

  • Shafi Hafiz on June 14, 2009, 2:21 GMT

    Its really a surprising catch 4m my one of da favourite player Afridi!we just looking 4 better cricket 4m him either bollowing or batting!he showed excellent ballance that totally unexpected 4m pakistani team!it brings inspiration!

  • Tazeen on June 14, 2009, 2:09 GMT

    its too early to expect miracles

  • Shahzad on June 14, 2009, 1:40 GMT

    Us Pakistani’s do have a tendency to get carried away, lets hope the Pakistan team doesn’t get carried away, after all we did play a weakened NZ team who have only won against two minnows.

    All in all it was a delight to see Pakistan perform for once, and Afridi’s batting was more of a relief then anything else. Lets hope he opens against Ireland and gives another calculated performance with the bat. Gul is a unsung hero, who deserves all the delayed credit he is getting.

    Apart from that as a Pakistani Fan the only concern is the inconsistency!!!

  • Don on June 14, 2009, 1:36 GMT

    You just never know what you'll get from Pak do you? But their batting is still shaky and Gul can't make superhuman performances every game. I still don't think Pak is a contender for the cup. Windies and RSA still frontrunners, I think.

  • Syed Mehdi Ali Kazmi on June 14, 2009, 1:35 GMT

    Hi, I love these moments, because i watch this type of team work from Pakistan side from some time. If Pakistani team went to semi final which seems realistic now then every thing can happens. Regards

  • imran haider, sargodha on June 14, 2009, 1:17 GMT

    its good for pakistan that afridi has get some form with the bat too and i think last night pakistan use their best combination in the tournament.

  • Imran on June 14, 2009, 1:15 GMT

    I am happy and impressed by Pakistan teams effort, if they want to win this tournament they need to be consistent and aggressive, In my opinion Imran Nazir's run out in the final of 2007 T20 cost us the game, in the past few games our top order batsmen have been getting run out they need to be careful it changes the whole game. Considering net run rate Pakistan needs to beat Ireland comprehensively to make it to semis, Shahid should bat at no 3 with razzaq coming at 4, if we look at south africa kallis is either opening or coming at 3,Pakistan also need to give as much strike to Afridi and Razzaq. Well done guys make us proud again .....

  • JamJar on June 14, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    Here we go again Mr Abassi, jumping on the Afridi bandwagon at the earliest opportunity. Credit where credit is due, Afridi's catch was stunning and brought some relief to those of us fans watching. However, on the eve of Gul's mesmerising spell, I'm dumbstruck you seize this opportunity to lavish praish on Afridi. Your fellow columnists have all heaped praise on the majic of Gul yet when it comes to you, surprise, surprise you twist it to lavish praise on Afridi. Give it a rest and put the spotlight on the true hero today - Gul.

    However, it was good to see Afridi take some responsibility with the bat and notch up some runs while seeing Pakistan home. Hopefully it'll do his confidence good for the next match.

  • Faizan on June 14, 2009, 0:51 GMT

    Afridi for president.

  • Khalid Jamal on June 14, 2009, 0:39 GMT

    Finally an inspired showing from Pakistan.I would like to ask the Pakistan team think tank why was such a talented opener like Shahzaib sitting on the bench when Pakistan was struggling to hit over the top in the first six overs of power play? Hopefully this guy can be the difference maker like Inzi was in 92 world cup?

  • Naveed on June 14, 2009, 0:34 GMT

    "Abdul Razzaq made a vital and emotional return too" He had great return. It was his breakthroughs that gave an excellant start to Pakistan and for the first time during this whole tournament incuding practice matches too that Pakistan did well in first 6 overs bowling. As you can see Mohammad Amir infact had a poor start of his first over and just imagine if Razzaq had also gone for 12 runs or so without any wickets. So bottom line is he also needs praise that just mentioning a liner as you did.

  • Ali on June 14, 2009, 0:23 GMT

    boom boom afridi... Tonight he was also good with the bat!!!

  • Qamar Elahi on June 14, 2009, 0:17 GMT

    Indeed, day belongs to Pak and things went into their favor too. As mentioned, Batting is still not upto that par it suppose to be. I hope and wish good luck Pakistan

  • Irfan Ahmad on June 14, 2009, 0:15 GMT

    With the inclusion of Razzaq in the side, Pakistan was looking a much confident side than previous matches and in my opinion it was him who started the real damage.Had it been more ICL Players allowed to join the squad, Pakistan had much better chances of picking up the title but still they have as their main rivals will be struggling to reach the semis. Carry on guys.

  • Muhammad Iqbal on June 14, 2009, 0:14 GMT

    Is this so called "Unpredictability" of Pakistan team? Its the same team that was playing like a club team before. Anyways, it is a great win and a rare moment of happiness for all Pakisanis. Umar Gul and Afridi are making a big difference and also inclusion of Abdul Razaq. Best of luck Pakistan....don't look back now and play with high confidence and spirits. We don't care if you win or lose, just play with full force.

  • shah shaikh on June 14, 2009, 0:09 GMT

    I went to watched the match today it was amazing, the crowd went crazy it felt like pakistan won the world cup. after the match roads were blocked out side the stadium, specially when afridi came to the window and waved at the crowd pakistan zindabad Mashallah

  • salman on June 14, 2009, 0:08 GMT

    It's quite sad the lack of respect given to Umar Gul as a bowler, cricinfo have recently done their bit but when you listen to commentators, the more brain dead type never even give him a mention when talking about best T20 bowlers.

    Aamer is also very impressive and is bowling as quick as Dale Steyn at only 17!!!. Razzaq had a good match, but how long will that last.

  • Arshad on June 13, 2009, 23:58 GMT

    I wouldn't get too excited just yet guys, but yes, it is a step in the right direction.

    For those of you that watched, todays Afridi innings was reminiscent of the afridi innings against Australia in the middle east last month. He was showing maturity in those innings and today again he palyed in the same way.

    Every batsmen has a temporary loss of form, but we can not do without the firepower and acceleration that a afridi innings provides.

    We can go all the way now, but one game at a time, firstly a score to settle with the Irish in a match that is not on St Patricks Day, then asemis and a final against one of the two toughest sides in the world. I sincerely hope its India and not south Africa, I cant remember the last time we beat the Saffers in a game that had any meaning.

    Whereas India, well that even my dead grandfather would get a adrenalin rush for and pick himself up to do a bit of Hindustani bashing!

  • Attiq ur-Rehman on June 13, 2009, 23:56 GMT

    I'm really happy to see Shahid Afridi & Umar Gul in their best form. Especially Styris's catch was superb.Pakistan batting is still a trouble, despise Shahzaib good performance.Shoaib Malik should play responsibily.Hopefully we will be in Final.

  • Zakir Khan on June 13, 2009, 23:36 GMT

    breath taking display of fast bowling from Umer Gul.this guy deserve all the credits.as rightly pointed out by Osman Samiuddin in his post early today, Omer Gul once again showed that what an outstanding bowler he is.we are proud of his achievement today and hope that he continue with his great form and play a vital role in Pakistan success. Shahid Afridi is a brillient talent.no doubt about it.over the last couple of years he has improved his bowling significantly and today he is the main stay of our bowling attack.but despite of all this his image in the eyes of Pak Cricket fans is that of an explosive batsman who change the complexion of the game in just few overs.we all want to see that explosive batsman in him in full fury again. overall good performance from Pak side but again the batting needs a whole lot improvement if they want to win this world cup.even while chasing such a small target we lost four wickets.

  • Noman Aziz on June 13, 2009, 23:28 GMT

    Lets not get over excited. We know Pakistan cricket all too well. lets just get ober today and look at Ireland. lets just talk a bit about today when Pakistan repeat this performance against Ireland. Come on boys do it for BOB!

  • eddy on June 13, 2009, 23:15 GMT

    I believe the win was because of Abdul Razzaq's and Mohd Amers early breakthroughs. The bowling was great but batting still has to improve. Nice to see Shahid Afridi playing some ground shots. Its also good that Pakistan is not taking Ireland lightly, it the complacency that defeats Pakistan, similar to what happened in ODI WC 07. South Africa is still the favorites but they are known chokers, Srilankans are good but can be beaten. Tomorrow's game between India and England is huge, at least for India. As for Pakistan, today was our day. The team should take one day at a time. We also hope that Srilanka will beat NZ, or else it can get messy in the group.

  • Fahad Kamal on June 13, 2009, 23:09 GMT

    Today's victory was heartening and reminiscent of an earlier era when a Pakistan outfit could dazzle and stun if they woke up on the right side of bed. There still remian dangerous questions of consistency; this balloon could easily deflate with an all to possible Ireland victory. Nonetheless, today is cause for celebration, and is well deserved. The coming days will prove if there the seeds sown today will bloom into a cause celebre or an all too familiar collapse. The nation truly is desperate for heros in these difficult times. The ecstatic diversion of a deep run in this tournament will bring smiles where there are far too many real-world sorrows.

  • Omer Saleem on June 13, 2009, 23:08 GMT

    I agree with you that today was the best performance of pakistan so far.Iam thinking about Malik that what happend to him.Last T20 WC he was the man who provide us 2 or 3 run chase's but now he just throwing his wicket away.Is their any tussel between The Captain n Ex Captain.My ans is "Yes".But i hope inshAllah our team perform very good against Ireland n grabe the place in the Semi's.InshALLAH

  • AZ USA on June 13, 2009, 23:00 GMT

    It is becoming obvious that Pakistan cannot break beyond 120-130 in batting. Their game plan should be to get the opponent out within that many runs, anything above 140 seems out of reach from Paki batsmen. We lost 4 wickets, and Afridi almost was gone on the last ball - this is when the target was only 99 - not a convincing batting at all with such a low target. If I were them, I would tighten up the fielding and try to stay with 130 (do or die). Anything above 140 and game over...

  • AZ USA on June 13, 2009, 22:56 GMT

    The best goes to Razzak who got dangerous Brendan McCullum, that was the prize wicket - you got him, you got the game - Afridi, Umar Gul - they all very formidable - but the key was Razzak to start the domino effect...

  • PakiFan on June 13, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    Shahzaib was a pleasant sight today, particularly that square cut for six was reminiscent of Virender Sehwag. One wonders why, having known his power-hitting reputation, was he not selected for the earlier games, particularly against Sri Lanka when batting fire-power, or the lack of it, proved fatal to Pakistan in the end. Hope he's given a chance in other forms of the game too.

  • Bilawal on June 13, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    Umer gul is outstanding this is the team that we need welcome

  • PakiFan on June 13, 2009, 22:38 GMT

    Shahzaib was a pleasant sight today, particularly that square cut for six was reminiscent of Virender Sehwag. One wonders why, having known his power-hitting reputation, was he not selected for the earlier games, particularly against Sri Lanka when batting fire-power, or the lack of it, proved fatal to Pakistan in the end. Hope he's given a chance in other forms of the game too.

  • muzz on June 13, 2009, 22:37 GMT

    I am still pinching my skin, is it true we have won? yes we did. ----good cricket but your column yesterday has almost has all the ingrdients which was used today --------- fantastic

  • Ahmad on June 13, 2009, 22:33 GMT

    This is the first time I watched Shahzaib Hasan, he looks like a right handed Amir Sohail! Same swagger and "in your face" attitude. Hope he does better than the lefty!

  • khalid on June 13, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    I like the positive attitude of openers in the power play. However, Razaq should come later in the inning with his explosive batting. Don't understand the role of Fawad Alam in the team, esp. if he is not required to ball. We should pick another technically sound young batsman. Could Alam play that role?

  • zahi on June 13, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    well avery good performance by pakistan team one great things was there feilding was 90% good today i think sohiab malik is no more good to this pakistan team he is useless he so greedy that he want to perform as a captain i think from the day he is sacked by his captaincy job he swire to good that i will not score runs well that what i am thinking every one have their opinion gul was great and this new lad shazaib maet be the solution for the pakistani team in the opening slot good luck pakistan team we want you tobe in the final and win this tournament for our pride goodluck

  • Hassan Farooqi on June 13, 2009, 22:24 GMT

    I beg to differ sir. While I am a die hard fan of Afridi, I would say it was Razzaq who started the fire by getting the world's most dangerous T20 batsman McCullum. PCB has done enough injustice to Razzaq, the last thing he needs is you doing injustice to his fiery comeback.

  • Shoaib on June 13, 2009, 22:21 GMT

    starting to dream!!

  • Wajahat Khan on June 13, 2009, 22:19 GMT

    we cant say anything about bowling, Pakistan is the best bowling side of the competition,problem is batting, u hav lost 4 wickets to chase 100 runs, need more work in batting, they waste akmal to play him as opener, bcoz then you wudnt have any proper hitter for last overs, razzak is playing already no. 3 which is his good position, and we can not trust on afridi in low order, so pls bring alam or afridi as opener instead of akmal, and puts akmal on no. 6/7 so that we could save us for last few overs, and akmal is the good hitter of last overs, thnx Allah that Gul is come back with his actual power and hope he will continue from todays. Pakistan will have to must wins with big difference from Irishes, bcoz if NZ will won against SR than it will be go with run rate. must win with big margin, I slute Pakistan's Bowlers, they are great than others and if batting would support them no one can defeat us. HOpe everthing will be fine and they will bring trophy in Pakistan.. InshaAllah..

  • Farooq on June 13, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    Great bowling performance by Pakistan today. Batting stuttered today more than it needed to. Although, after early jitters, Shahzaib was delightful to watch. Only complaint, as there is always one, is that today was the perfect opportunity (after Razzaq's dismissal) to give Fawad and Misbah some much needed time in the middle. Let's hope the team maintains the form against Ireland and not repeat the fatal mistake of taking them lightly.

  • Osama Khan (Washington DC) on June 13, 2009, 22:18 GMT

    I totally agree with you Kamran. It was Afridi's stunner that turns the tables for Kiwis and shifted the game in Pakistan's favor. I am also pleased with the combination of the team. This is the right balanced team with 8 batsman. I still think Shoaib Malik is not playing upto his potential. Goodluck for the next game.

  • Syed Aarish Ali on June 13, 2009, 22:17 GMT

    Good performance from Pakistan but let see what they do against Ireland and also in the semi-final if they make it to that stage.

  • Voice on June 13, 2009, 22:12 GMT

    Our team is funny this way. When you expect them to do well, more often than not they end up disappointing you. You give up hope and expect nothing of them, and they come up with an excellent performance and surprise you. Pakistan were in a league of their own today. Their fielding was such an improvemnt from what we've witnessed in the past, and their batting and bowling were spectacular. Afridi took a million-dollar catch indeed, and was superb at both bowling and batting. Abdul Razzak is such a welcome addition, he took the most precious wicket of the match i.e. Brendon McCullum and made sure NZ wouldn't have a fiery start which a classy batsman like Brendon McCullum is always capable of. ( Yes, I'm a hugeeee fan of the wonder cricketer that B. McCullum is, and I always want him to do well because he's a pleasure to watch on his day, but I'm a Pakistani first.:-))But the star of the match was undoubtedly Umar Gul, who performed magic with the ball and did his nation proud. Bravo!

  • deder on June 13, 2009, 22:08 GMT

    he is a nice allrounder in the world cricket.

  • adil on June 13, 2009, 22:05 GMT

    pakistan look a much stronger side with razzaq. pakistan should have picked him last world cup. for future world cup this should be the team nazir,akmal,malik,younis,razzaq,misbah,afridi,gul,ajmal,asif,amer if pakistan went into this world cup with this team they would have won world cup easy.

  • Vaj on June 13, 2009, 22:05 GMT

    I never doubted the ability of Shahid Afridi. If he stays a little bit focused while batting, he can be the star performer for Pakistan. Umer Gul obviously is their best bowler. But my only concern is ever failing mercurial Shoib Malik (highly overated player by any standard) and out of form, out of sorts Misbah. The rest of the team is doing ok. And let us not forget Syed Ajmal, who I think is fine tuning into a very good Offie.

  • Tariq on June 13, 2009, 22:00 GMT

    I was pleased at long last that Pakistan finally showed they can play! And it was all because they finally picked an ICL player who showed he knows how to control the new ball and lay a platform for the spinners and Gul to do their stuff.

    Razzak was the main reason Pakistan finally showed how good they can be with the ball. He got the key wicket of McCullum early on and then when he got the 2nd he put the team on course where NZ could not do anything against the firepower.

    Now if we can get the right result against Ireland and get through to the semis, then anything is possible.

    Razzy demonstrated what a pathetic board the PCB are. Imagine if Imran Nazir, Rana Naved and some of the other better Pakistani T20 players were here, surely we would not have lost to a very ordinary England side nor the Lankans (impressive as they have looked).

    Razzy also allowed Afridi not to feel as though he is the only hitter in the side and with the pressure eased, Afridi batted sensibly.

  • sadidi on June 13, 2009, 21:55 GMT

    lets just pray and hope that he continues batting this way cause for afridi, one good batting performance comes once in 50 matches

  • Fayyaz Qadir, MD on June 13, 2009, 21:55 GMT

    Well a pleasant surprise Shazaib :), Still I think Afrdii should open alongside Shazaib ( Akmal can be saved for late order - he is one of very few who can hit late in the inings even when the field is spread out). If Afridi doe snot open the second best position for him is when spinners ar eon and he tries to improvise. Gul was "Out of the world GOOD" today. Shazaib, Razaq and afridi have raised hopes for the title.Lets hope Misbah and Shoaib M find form again.Shoaib actually when going well is extremely dangerous.

  • H. A. Majeed on June 13, 2009, 21:54 GMT

    Excellently said. The bowling attack was perfectly executed with each player playing a vital role in the first innings. Pakistan's return of Abdur Razzaq was an exciting one for the team and each fan of pakistan cricket, as he showed his potential in this version of the game. Umar Gul showed his pace and dominance today which had a vital contribution. Hasan's innings was beautifully done, a sorrow he wasnt at the end. A well played match and deserved victory to the entire team, Pakistan.

  • aurangzeb on June 13, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    Marvellous performance. Bowling perfect, fielding above average, batting so so. If Pakistan was put first to bat, the situation might be precarious. Against a small total to defend, perfect bowling attack becomes mediocre. It is safe to say most t20 matches are decided in first 6 overs. If Pakistan is put to bowel first in next few games, Pakistan bowling attack is up to the task. But if Pakistan is put to bat first, I guess it would be hard if not impossible to win the game.

  • shezad210 on June 13, 2009, 21:49 GMT

    Good one. And most of all needed one. personally thnk that this victory still belongs to Gul as five wickets n a 20/20 is equal to a batsmen scoring near 130. Afride plays hs role but stll have to be better tming his shots. Good come back for Razzaq too and ths can open the door for other ICL players like Moyo and Nazir. But one thing i really don't understand is the way they calculate the NRR. Pakistan has upped ther NRR by 1.8 wich is nothng as compared to the 3.3 ponts New Zealand has dropped from this match. Please explain.

  • yasir khan on June 13, 2009, 21:47 GMT

    Im very pleased with today's performance. the bowling was brilliant, the fielding has imroved and i think we have found a good opening batting partnership. looking forward to the next match against ireland. hopefully we can avenge the world cup defeat in style and book a place in the semis

  • Kashif on June 13, 2009, 21:43 GMT

    I think the most important change was Razzaq's comeback. He is such an important player in this version and i have absolutely no doubt that had he been in last 20/20, we would have won the final. just one question, what is Fawas Alam doing in the team, useless, not bowling, not batting. anyway it seems that Pak will play against S.Africa and Srilanka will play against India in semifinal.

  • Tahir Rashid on June 13, 2009, 21:42 GMT

    Enough of inept fielding, bowling and batting from Pak team. It's high time we won a cricket tournament starting right here right now!

  • amjad ali on June 13, 2009, 21:36 GMT

    i have been saying this for ages now that pakistan cricket team is incomplete without A.Razzaq, Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul.

    awsome razzaq showed his class after two years of exile..i missed his trademark wicket talking bowling.. afridi as usual with his best effort on the field .bowling and fielding..always energatic..and gul a true force with his yorkers bouncers and ability to move the ball earlier on and then the reverse swing..

    Go pak Go...

  • Dr Raja on June 13, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    It was great to watch the Pakistani team at their best, as the tournament progresses the rustiness is being rubbed off to reveal the shining, mercurial Pakistan.

  • Aziz south africa on June 13, 2009, 21:35 GMT

    Brilliant catch from Afridi changed the pace of the game. Gul is an excellent bowler and razzaq took alot of pressure allowing gul to deliver the knockout blows. Afridi should be opening the batting though. It is most annoying that the indian author of cricinfo's article on pakistans win states that BCCI should be thanked for razzaq's amnesty.I am south african. Give the Pakistan team credit for an outstanding perfotmance.

  • Mark Vent on June 13, 2009, 21:34 GMT

    Kamran, please change your photo!!

  • Khuram Ahmad on June 13, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    It was refreshing to see a rejuvinated Team Pakistan taking field in this all-important match against Newzealand. I hope this match will bring back the confidence of the team and will give the much-wanted fire power that has been missing ever since Pakistan arrived in UK. I think there is still need for improvement and Pakistani players should take the match against Ireland to avenge their defeat in 2007. Pakistan, now has the best chance to make it to the semi-finals and we all know that funny things happen once you are in the semis. Hopefuly Lanka will beat the Kiwis and Pakistan will cruise into the semis. I liked the way our battting order was shuffled today because it gives power-battery like Kamran, Shoaib and Afridi to make full use of the fielding restriction. I hope Younis will stop making the mockery of our entire Nation by giving stupid remarks about t-20 cricket and finally concentrate on taking our team to a worldcup glory.If we can continue our this form,i have high hopes

  • I LOVE PAKISTAN on June 13, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    Okay lets be clear pakistan depends on sri lanka to win against nz they can do it for sure but pakistan need to get ther game rigth witch i think they will not against ireland i think they got to much ego know and they will not win bye a big margin monday but hope for the best razzaq is back thats huge thing they dropped salman butt finally !! they should open whit i think Afridi they always lose wicked so who cares if he failes

  • Ahmed Raza Shah on June 13, 2009, 21:33 GMT

    That was some match ... one we Pakistanis were waiting for very long .. They made us proud the way the bowled. Batting was fine .. better than before

    Hope they calculate their chances of qualifying for semis before facing Ireland.

  • Usman Zia on June 13, 2009, 21:32 GMT

    First of all great performance by Pakistan. I think i was the only one who was leaving positive comments even after the defeats and today i feel very satisfied that the team has done exactly what i thought it will do. I keep on saying that even if Pakistan lose, it will not be the end of the world. They only have to perform to their ability and leave the rest to luck. This is 20/20 game and anything can happen. Look at NZ, they have perfomed well in this tournament, but today they were horrible in their batting approach. One thing i want to say is about the negative media news from our own channels. I was watching Geo Super comments before the game and they were talking about rifts in the team and captain not getting along with coach. Now such things wouldve fueled if Pakistan had lost today. Even if there is a problem, they should not be discussing it on national channel. In the end i hope Pakistan win this one for all of us. I am always behind them no matter happens. Go Team Pakistan

  • EYE OPENER on June 13, 2009, 21:23 GMT

    Well Done Kamran, You forgot Razzaq completely. Interesting... Right? I hope the common sense prevails and Pakistani Team Management will be able realize that To MAXIMIZE the RUN RATE is their prime target for the match against the Ireland. Afridi, Razzaq and Shahzaib are vital for that.

  • Vajid Ali on June 13, 2009, 21:18 GMT

    Great work by Gul. He's a credit to his nation and is carrying the national bowling reputation on his own back while the likes of akhtar and asif have done nothing but disgrace the green shirt. Congratulations Umar your a credit to the nation.

  • tariq on June 13, 2009, 21:18 GMT

    the problem is their inconsistency... on another note here in the UK we have Geoff Lawson commentating on the BBC.. and i have to say i quite like the guyu. the way he has been treated by the PCB you might think he would be bitter, but no - he has nothing but good stuff to say about Pakistan and said he still of them as "his boys". shame on you you PCB !%"!£%.

  • Eesa on June 13, 2009, 21:16 GMT

    Bow down to king Gul.

    A true superstar.

  • Mamoon Dasti on June 13, 2009, 21:12 GMT

    Good one from Pakistan, they have to keep this up InshAllah. Butt should stay out and Razzaq should stay in until the end.

  • Israr on June 13, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    I always believed..........and I still do that Pakistan can topple any side if our strong bowling is supported by decent fielding and batting performances. SA and SL are the two current favourites but SA's bowling, although very good, is not as good as ours and runs can definitely be scored against them as was shown by lendl Simmons today. And for SL, we came very close to beating them and WILL beat them if we meet them again. We can knock out India, England or West Indies looking at today's performance. Go Pakistan!!!!!!!!

  • ihtasham cheema on June 13, 2009, 21:09 GMT

    wat a performance 4rm pakistan i knew they had it in them it was just a matter of time i hope its no looking back 4rm here for pakistan and thay can go all way and bring bck da cup and three cheers 4 umer gul he is da best go pakistan go

  • Faisal Javed Siddiqui on June 13, 2009, 21:08 GMT

    I wrote yesterday that Pakistan now must stop thinking about losing to SL instead must look forward as to how to beat NZ. This is exactly what the guys did. Abdul RazzaQ's inclusion did wonders for our team as he kept it tight and got wickets as a result. He managed to take a wkt in his 1st over and bowled his 3rd over as maiden which is a great feat. There were reports in TV media(local) that there seems to be no interaction between players and captain but all of this was proved wrong when the team played as a single unit. I dare say that the batting is still full of hiccups but its encouraging to see the bowling and fielding do well. We all saw how spectacular Afridi was but we should not forget Misbah's catch to remove Oram nor should we forget Younus' fielding effort to run out Vettori. Moreover the dive from GUL at short 3rd man to stop runs was fantastic too. Having said that our NRR is still lower than NZ n SL hence battering IRELANDis still what we must next concentrate on

  • Faisal Jamali on June 13, 2009, 21:07 GMT

    Finally, we try Shazaib!! It is early days but he is a good clean striker of the ball. I still think Shoaib Malik and MIsbah need to go!. We have a great find in Amir and if he takes a leaf from Parnells book and spends time with WasimAkram, i am sure he can get those yorkers going. Great find for a 17 year old! For the champions trophy, our batting order should beShazaib/Akmal/khurram manzoor as the openers,Younis,Mullah yousuf,Fawad Alam,Afridi,Razzaq, Asif,Gul,Amir( and Shoaib Akthar for the odd match because he will certainly not last teh whole tournament. The extra 12th man can be ajmal. This would be best team Pakistan will ever field in the cricket ground this year.

  • Born2win on June 13, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Well done Paki,but still loss of 4wickets doesnot indicate good sign of batting,still need to work batting line up, kickout Malik give chance to Ahmed Shehzad.

  • Fahad Yaqoob on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    I agree.. Afridi and Razzaq provided the platform for Gulli to Launch the assault.. The catch was amazing and styris was looking good as well.. I can just hope that the team plays to it's potential and if they continued such performance, no team can stop them from winning!!!!!

  • Shakib Ahmed on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    yeah gud to see afridi got runs.. their bowling came good.. but batting is still in doubt.Pakistan should take target 200+ against Ireland to boost their batting if they got batting first. Razzak inclusion gave pak some encouragement.All the best for the rest of the games..

  • binsuleman on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    Job well Done by Pakistan!!!

  • Tahir Ahmed, Germany on June 13, 2009, 20:57 GMT

    Umer Gul is a hero, he is super DUUUPER star of cricketing world. then why dont you write an article for him?

  • HaMmy on June 13, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    good decision must be made "tomorrow", the management should really gear up to show quality, we are in a good position to play in the next round and we dont have a moment to lose.

    congrats to pakistani team and fans around the world, too delighted by today's performance

  • HaMmy on June 13, 2009, 20:41 GMT

    wellcome win for pakistan, the fielding was not the best but certainly better, the misfielding of shahzaib annoyed me, over all, it was a very good, miraculous come back but pakistan especially the gul and razzaq bowling, certainly the addition of razzaq has strengthened the pak pace bowling but it needs to improve more before the pak bowling can be termed as formidable, weaknesses of Mhd.Amir esp, it was not nice and welcoming to see a boundary in the very first bowl.

    while the bowling is getting better, pakistani batting has to be improve considerably, good strategies like the selection of right opening pair and the middle order is the key to success, it was a good decision to send afridi two down but i think afridi should come one down and the pak inningings should be opened by fawad alam or shahzaib or shahzaad or akmal, these batsman are very suitable. malik should not lose wickets like this and he should really bowl the spin well like he did against NED!!

  • Ujjwal Pandey on June 13, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    Well, good show by pakistan today. They are going to have to absolutely demolish Ireland to properly seal their place in the semifinals though. I always thought Afridi was a bowler before a batsman but I have also always believed that should Pakistan become a real force in the international arena, the kind that the Windies once were and despite their T20 slump, Australia are, it will be if and when Afridi hones his all-round abilities to perfection. My observation is that he only lacks faith in himself as a batsman. With Abdul Razzaq back in the lineup, hopefully Afridi gets to bat a bit higher up and without shackles as Razzaq is the type of batsman most expect Afridi to be, a pinch-hitter. Afridi is more of a bowler at the moment but should he ever find the self-belief to become a proper batsman as well, Pakistan will become twice as dangerous as they are now. That and bring Yousuf back to strengthen the middle order perhaps. Maybe also find someone like Asif minus the antics.

  • pardesi on June 13, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    Consider this. If NZ had scored 125-135 and we lost one more wicket at say 65/5. What if? The point is bowling is a strength, its the batting that fails this team.We still didn't bat decent enuf on a belter.120 balls to play with 10 wkts. U can afford to lose 1 wkt every 12th ball and still be able to finish 20 overs. Knowing that,can we not plan and execute to achieve 8-8.5 runs per over if we bat first? 160-170 is a tough target if you bat second and specially if the other side has decent bowlers. If you chase 150 its only 7.5 per over. About a run a ball and a 4 every other over.I know its easier said than done but after all we have professional cricketers representing our country.Today we lived for another day and we r trailing NZ on net rr and if its a 3 way tie we lose,if tied for 2nd with SL or NZ we r going to need to bat first and score around 200 against IRL to have a better chance in any scenario.We r still way behind NZ on net rr.Abbasi said it right its the batting stupid.

  • Shahid on June 13, 2009, 20:18 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, The difference is obvious. Fielding improved astonishingly. It means they have the ability if otherwise they want to give it their 100%. In my opinion Kamal akmal should be one down so that I can promote Razaq to face all the fast bowling he can and to save him from spin. I still want Younis to use Fawad alams left arm a bit to let him feel the ball so that he can be handy in coming situations. Worried about Misbah's form a little. But Afridi and Gul were really wonderfull today but my credit goes to Razaq for striking at their heart. early wickets and early scores are the key to all this "fun" thing.

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  • Shahid on June 13, 2009, 20:18 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, The difference is obvious. Fielding improved astonishingly. It means they have the ability if otherwise they want to give it their 100%. In my opinion Kamal akmal should be one down so that I can promote Razaq to face all the fast bowling he can and to save him from spin. I still want Younis to use Fawad alams left arm a bit to let him feel the ball so that he can be handy in coming situations. Worried about Misbah's form a little. But Afridi and Gul were really wonderfull today but my credit goes to Razaq for striking at their heart. early wickets and early scores are the key to all this "fun" thing.

  • pardesi on June 13, 2009, 20:24 GMT

    Consider this. If NZ had scored 125-135 and we lost one more wicket at say 65/5. What if? The point is bowling is a strength, its the batting that fails this team.We still didn't bat decent enuf on a belter.120 balls to play with 10 wkts. U can afford to lose 1 wkt every 12th ball and still be able to finish 20 overs. Knowing that,can we not plan and execute to achieve 8-8.5 runs per over if we bat first? 160-170 is a tough target if you bat second and specially if the other side has decent bowlers. If you chase 150 its only 7.5 per over. About a run a ball and a 4 every other over.I know its easier said than done but after all we have professional cricketers representing our country.Today we lived for another day and we r trailing NZ on net rr and if its a 3 way tie we lose,if tied for 2nd with SL or NZ we r going to need to bat first and score around 200 against IRL to have a better chance in any scenario.We r still way behind NZ on net rr.Abbasi said it right its the batting stupid.

  • Ujjwal Pandey on June 13, 2009, 20:35 GMT

    Well, good show by pakistan today. They are going to have to absolutely demolish Ireland to properly seal their place in the semifinals though. I always thought Afridi was a bowler before a batsman but I have also always believed that should Pakistan become a real force in the international arena, the kind that the Windies once were and despite their T20 slump, Australia are, it will be if and when Afridi hones his all-round abilities to perfection. My observation is that he only lacks faith in himself as a batsman. With Abdul Razzaq back in the lineup, hopefully Afridi gets to bat a bit higher up and without shackles as Razzaq is the type of batsman most expect Afridi to be, a pinch-hitter. Afridi is more of a bowler at the moment but should he ever find the self-belief to become a proper batsman as well, Pakistan will become twice as dangerous as they are now. That and bring Yousuf back to strengthen the middle order perhaps. Maybe also find someone like Asif minus the antics.

  • HaMmy on June 13, 2009, 20:41 GMT

    wellcome win for pakistan, the fielding was not the best but certainly better, the misfielding of shahzaib annoyed me, over all, it was a very good, miraculous come back but pakistan especially the gul and razzaq bowling, certainly the addition of razzaq has strengthened the pak pace bowling but it needs to improve more before the pak bowling can be termed as formidable, weaknesses of Mhd.Amir esp, it was not nice and welcoming to see a boundary in the very first bowl.

    while the bowling is getting better, pakistani batting has to be improve considerably, good strategies like the selection of right opening pair and the middle order is the key to success, it was a good decision to send afridi two down but i think afridi should come one down and the pak inningings should be opened by fawad alam or shahzaib or shahzaad or akmal, these batsman are very suitable. malik should not lose wickets like this and he should really bowl the spin well like he did against NED!!

  • HaMmy on June 13, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    good decision must be made "tomorrow", the management should really gear up to show quality, we are in a good position to play in the next round and we dont have a moment to lose.

    congrats to pakistani team and fans around the world, too delighted by today's performance

  • Tahir Ahmed, Germany on June 13, 2009, 20:57 GMT

    Umer Gul is a hero, he is super DUUUPER star of cricketing world. then why dont you write an article for him?

  • binsuleman on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    Job well Done by Pakistan!!!

  • Shakib Ahmed on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    yeah gud to see afridi got runs.. their bowling came good.. but batting is still in doubt.Pakistan should take target 200+ against Ireland to boost their batting if they got batting first. Razzak inclusion gave pak some encouragement.All the best for the rest of the games..

  • Fahad Yaqoob on June 13, 2009, 21:02 GMT

    I agree.. Afridi and Razzaq provided the platform for Gulli to Launch the assault.. The catch was amazing and styris was looking good as well.. I can just hope that the team plays to it's potential and if they continued such performance, no team can stop them from winning!!!!!

  • Born2win on June 13, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    Well done Paki,but still loss of 4wickets doesnot indicate good sign of batting,still need to work batting line up, kickout Malik give chance to Ahmed Shehzad.