Champions Trophy October 1, 2009

An opportunity missed in the middle

The semi-final will offer a further opportunity to judge the health of Pakistan's middle order, especially if Pakistan bat first
61


Mohammad Asif's return gives Pakistan the option of playing an extra pace bowler © Getty Images
 
Pakistan blew a golden opportunity to knock Australia out of this year's ICC Champions Trophy. Ricky Ponting's team is the one you don't want to meet in the final, a more important factor for me than the sentiment of battling India again.

As much as Pakistan beat India in the middle overs, with a wonderful partnership between Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf, it was the same middle overs that cost Pakistan this encounter. Younis Khan, in particular, broke the momentum of the innings, and Yousuf and Misbah-ul-Haq did not do enough to restore it. It was a deceptively difficult batting track but those unfocused middle overs meant Pakistan's impressive bowling attack was given just too much to do.

For me, the jury's still out on Yousuf, despite the volume of support he has received in previous blogs. Cricket lends itself to statistics but numbers alone are often deceptive. A successful batsman isn't simply one that records the highest volume of runs or achieves the best average, but somebody who makes the difference between defeat and victory, especially when the going gets tough. Yousuf, for all his excellence, has not been that batsman on enough occasions for Pakistan. Once he has, he can be rightly acknowledged alongside Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq. The next two years will establish his position in the hall of fame.

Now Pakistan prepare for a semi-final against New Zealand, a pleasing outcome considering their outstanding record against the Kiwis in major tournaments. Pakistan will be confident that they have sufficient force to overwhelm New Zealand, although the toss could play a decisive factor and again favour the side bowling first.

It's hard to allow for such a lottery but Mohammad Asif's return gives Pakistan the option of playing an extra pace bowler. Asif started gingerly but reminded us why his star rose so quickly. Yes, his double-wicket over was a throwback to his first stab at international cricket. But his ability to combine a high delivery arm with a penetrating line and length make him the bowler he is and more than compensate for his low 80s pace. He misfired more than he usually would but the metronome was in sufficient evidence to encourage his captain and supporters.

The semi-final will offer a further opportunity to judge the health of Pakistan's middle order, especially if Pakistan bat first. If they do so, they might want to consider using their last batting Powerplay before the final five overs. Pakistan's strategy has long been built on an assualt in the final ten overs. Why not take the final Powerplay from the 40th over or even the 35th?

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Faisal Wahab on October 7, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    Pakistan lost the semi final against NZ due to team selection & some other reasons listed below: 1. Mohammad Asif should have played instead of Rana Naveed. Asif had a good match ag. the aussies, and he could have provided the good support to Mohammad Aamir. 2. Umar Gul should have bowled his overs from 35th onwards not after the 45th. The last match ag. the aussies proved that he was not having good rythm in the death overs. 3. Umar Akmal Lbw decision went against us. We required quick runs. A target of 265 was competitive on this pitch. 4. Winning the toss & batting was a brave decision of Younis Khan, my view is that all the matches played on this wicket before the semi final, team batting second won, except for one match in which india beat the West indies, so younis should have opted for fielding, becos his bowling deptt is much stronger than his batting one. Bowling under lights is very tough when target is between 4.00 & 4.50 per over.

  • srivathsan on October 3, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    I agree with you on yusuf. But misbah is also equally dispensable. I feel pakistan deliberately let australia off the hook.How can you explain the scoreline when they could have easily got got atleast 60 runs more ? perhaps they wanted to avoid india getting qualified not because they did not want to but because of reaction back home in case they lose the match against india. But the reality is ,given the form, pakistan would have certainly beat india even if it played finals. Now the momentum is there & bowling has clicked very well & a little bit discipline in the fielding, pakistan will win the trophy.I WISH THE TEAM ALL THE BEST. YOUNIS KHAN HAS DONE VERY WELL & SHOULD AVOID MISTAKES COMMITTED AGAINST AUSTRALIA.

  • Billybob on October 3, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    Pakistan vs Australia final If Pakistan bats first they will post a modest total but this time there will be no late inning charge from the Paki bowlers and Australia will win comfortably but 4 wickets. If Australia bats first expect a 300 plus total and Pakistan bowled out for around 200 in the 43rd over. Lets see how close my prediction gets.

  • awais on October 2, 2009, 23:07 GMT

    i'm just simply delighted india are knocked out

  • Imran Khan on October 2, 2009, 22:50 GMT

    I really feel they are wasting the talent of Umar Akmal by playing him so late, why dont play him one down, what is Younis Khan and Misbah doing in the middle wasting crucial overs, scoring 20 out of 60 balls thats so crazy. Look at India how they developed player like Tendulkar and Sehwag by letting them open even though both of them were not regular openers, come on Younis Khan grow up, be bold.

  • Imran Khan on October 2, 2009, 22:49 GMT

    I really feel they are wasting the talent of Umar Akmal by playing him so late, why dont play him one down, what is Younis Khan and Misbah doing in the middle wasting crucial overs, scoring 20 out of 60 balls thats so crazy. Look at India how they developed player like Tendulkar and Sehwag by letting them open even though both of them were not regular openers, come on Younis Khan grow up, be bold.

  • rizwan on October 2, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    For a brief passage of time i could feel the pakistan team of old when two w's would turn matches up side down through their sheer skill.but again a few stupid acts as is the bane of modern pakistan players made the difference in yhe end, i mean how could akmal throw with his gloves on. As far as criticism of yousuf is concerned i mean it seriously defies logic.younis khan scoring 15 of 50 balls is ok but yosuf scoring 40 odd runs of 60 balls is bad--what an assesment.If there was to be a criticism of pak batting it should be the way we are making a waste of umar akmal. hope common sense prevails on younis khan.

  • Miten on October 2, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Allow me to vent about some of the comments you have received on team selection and Afridi. It's true what I heard once about cricket in Asia that everyone has an opinion about which players to pick and which ones to drop. Everyone talks about Afridi and how much of a match winner he is. He is performing finally after not doing so for over 10 years! If he were Australian he would have been dropped after the the first few games for sure. It's unacceptable for a batting all-rounder (although he convenientlto put his strike rate before his team. How many times has he gotten out in the first over he has faced? A cricketing brain commands initial control until some measure of the bowler and pitch has been gained. He has been an irresponsible cricketer who never commanded a space in the team. Now that he is finally performing - whats the big deal in that? Yousuf should stick to test cricket only. The one day game requires adaptability and atheltic ability and Yousuf has neither of those.

  • Dr K Shah on October 2, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Pakistan has erred by letting Australia off the hook.I absolutely disagree with your views on Yousuf.It is Misbah who should be dropped and not Yousuf.It looks like Australia Pakistan final .

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on October 2, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    For me I think Miandad is the best in Pakistan but Yousuf is near to him. I think after Miandad, Haq is no. 2 and then he is no. 3. Yousuf always has proved him. If someone say that he is not aggresive in one day than I can say that how his striking rate in one day is better than Haq. I think all three batsmen are like a jewels in batting.

    Miandad played very difficult cricket in which he faced bowlers like Hadlee, Lillee, Marshall, Ambrose, Wills and many others. Hadlee played 11 test against him and took his wicket four times only. Marshall 3 times in 11 test, Ambrose 3 in 8 test, Lillee 4 in 14, Botham 3 times in 13 test, Walsh 3 in 11 test. Garner 1 in 4.

    I think these are leading bowlers in test cricket but they all failed to get the wicket of Miandad at a better ratio.

    Beside this fact, his batting average always more than 50 with three highest scores 280, 271 and 260 proving his concetration.

    I think he is one of the best batsman that cricket ever produced.

  • Faisal Wahab on October 7, 2009, 18:17 GMT

    Pakistan lost the semi final against NZ due to team selection & some other reasons listed below: 1. Mohammad Asif should have played instead of Rana Naveed. Asif had a good match ag. the aussies, and he could have provided the good support to Mohammad Aamir. 2. Umar Gul should have bowled his overs from 35th onwards not after the 45th. The last match ag. the aussies proved that he was not having good rythm in the death overs. 3. Umar Akmal Lbw decision went against us. We required quick runs. A target of 265 was competitive on this pitch. 4. Winning the toss & batting was a brave decision of Younis Khan, my view is that all the matches played on this wicket before the semi final, team batting second won, except for one match in which india beat the West indies, so younis should have opted for fielding, becos his bowling deptt is much stronger than his batting one. Bowling under lights is very tough when target is between 4.00 & 4.50 per over.

  • srivathsan on October 3, 2009, 7:27 GMT

    I agree with you on yusuf. But misbah is also equally dispensable. I feel pakistan deliberately let australia off the hook.How can you explain the scoreline when they could have easily got got atleast 60 runs more ? perhaps they wanted to avoid india getting qualified not because they did not want to but because of reaction back home in case they lose the match against india. But the reality is ,given the form, pakistan would have certainly beat india even if it played finals. Now the momentum is there & bowling has clicked very well & a little bit discipline in the fielding, pakistan will win the trophy.I WISH THE TEAM ALL THE BEST. YOUNIS KHAN HAS DONE VERY WELL & SHOULD AVOID MISTAKES COMMITTED AGAINST AUSTRALIA.

  • Billybob on October 3, 2009, 2:45 GMT

    Pakistan vs Australia final If Pakistan bats first they will post a modest total but this time there will be no late inning charge from the Paki bowlers and Australia will win comfortably but 4 wickets. If Australia bats first expect a 300 plus total and Pakistan bowled out for around 200 in the 43rd over. Lets see how close my prediction gets.

  • awais on October 2, 2009, 23:07 GMT

    i'm just simply delighted india are knocked out

  • Imran Khan on October 2, 2009, 22:50 GMT

    I really feel they are wasting the talent of Umar Akmal by playing him so late, why dont play him one down, what is Younis Khan and Misbah doing in the middle wasting crucial overs, scoring 20 out of 60 balls thats so crazy. Look at India how they developed player like Tendulkar and Sehwag by letting them open even though both of them were not regular openers, come on Younis Khan grow up, be bold.

  • Imran Khan on October 2, 2009, 22:49 GMT

    I really feel they are wasting the talent of Umar Akmal by playing him so late, why dont play him one down, what is Younis Khan and Misbah doing in the middle wasting crucial overs, scoring 20 out of 60 balls thats so crazy. Look at India how they developed player like Tendulkar and Sehwag by letting them open even though both of them were not regular openers, come on Younis Khan grow up, be bold.

  • rizwan on October 2, 2009, 14:41 GMT

    For a brief passage of time i could feel the pakistan team of old when two w's would turn matches up side down through their sheer skill.but again a few stupid acts as is the bane of modern pakistan players made the difference in yhe end, i mean how could akmal throw with his gloves on. As far as criticism of yousuf is concerned i mean it seriously defies logic.younis khan scoring 15 of 50 balls is ok but yosuf scoring 40 odd runs of 60 balls is bad--what an assesment.If there was to be a criticism of pak batting it should be the way we are making a waste of umar akmal. hope common sense prevails on younis khan.

  • Miten on October 2, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Allow me to vent about some of the comments you have received on team selection and Afridi. It's true what I heard once about cricket in Asia that everyone has an opinion about which players to pick and which ones to drop. Everyone talks about Afridi and how much of a match winner he is. He is performing finally after not doing so for over 10 years! If he were Australian he would have been dropped after the the first few games for sure. It's unacceptable for a batting all-rounder (although he convenientlto put his strike rate before his team. How many times has he gotten out in the first over he has faced? A cricketing brain commands initial control until some measure of the bowler and pitch has been gained. He has been an irresponsible cricketer who never commanded a space in the team. Now that he is finally performing - whats the big deal in that? Yousuf should stick to test cricket only. The one day game requires adaptability and atheltic ability and Yousuf has neither of those.

  • Dr K Shah on October 2, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Pakistan has erred by letting Australia off the hook.I absolutely disagree with your views on Yousuf.It is Misbah who should be dropped and not Yousuf.It looks like Australia Pakistan final .

  • Zeeshan Ahmed on October 2, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    For me I think Miandad is the best in Pakistan but Yousuf is near to him. I think after Miandad, Haq is no. 2 and then he is no. 3. Yousuf always has proved him. If someone say that he is not aggresive in one day than I can say that how his striking rate in one day is better than Haq. I think all three batsmen are like a jewels in batting.

    Miandad played very difficult cricket in which he faced bowlers like Hadlee, Lillee, Marshall, Ambrose, Wills and many others. Hadlee played 11 test against him and took his wicket four times only. Marshall 3 times in 11 test, Ambrose 3 in 8 test, Lillee 4 in 14, Botham 3 times in 13 test, Walsh 3 in 11 test. Garner 1 in 4.

    I think these are leading bowlers in test cricket but they all failed to get the wicket of Miandad at a better ratio.

    Beside this fact, his batting average always more than 50 with three highest scores 280, 271 and 260 proving his concetration.

    I think he is one of the best batsman that cricket ever produced.

  • Asif Rathod on October 2, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    You can't predict Pakistan batting at any stage of the game. But, this is fact that, there most powerful batsmans always comes from middle order. In current team, there are players like yousuf, younis, Malik and new sensation Umar Akmal are good batting products. In semi finale they must go with these four batsmen. Misbah is not in great form. Later players like Afridi and Naved can accelerate scoring rate. But, I still think, they should use Afridi as Opener. Kamran Akmal is better player lower down the order. Also, this move will strengthen their middle and lower order. If Pakistan play to their potential, I m damns sure, they can win the trophy. Hey, but there is big question mark, will they play to their potential ??????????? God Knows... Unpredictable Pakistan...

  • Dr. Mubahir Hanif on October 2, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    Assalmaoalikum! Nahen kami bhai naheen. You are absolutely wrong here once again trying to compare Yousuf and Miandad. You yourself write that it was Younas khan who broke the momentum, right? Why are you after Yousaf?he still as scoring and rotating the strike. The difference was the support that he did NOT get this time from the other end. The problem with most of the writers and critics is that they have not played cricket. Believe me its a different thing sying things from outside the boundry line and be inside the boundry line. Yousuf again has done his job and will do his job when he gets support from the other end. You are free to think and write what you want but it wont change the fact, yousuf is a class of his own. Please stop comparing him to Miandad. Its a different era now. 250 used to be a winnig score and now its 300 thats why lets not get into different eras comparing different players.I am sorry but in this blog it seems like you just want ot win the argument.peace

  • Jawed Saleem on October 2, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    Mr. Abbassi, You have been spot-on about M. Yousuf (wrt ODIs). I agree with you - He is no match-winner, & his fitness ??? (in field - requires stretcher to move). Semis will be CRACKERS ! Suggestion to fellow bloggers: Prepare y’selv to absorb the “after-shocks”! PK V NZ Pitch + Toss will play the “PIVOTAL” part ! In case of playing on “MINEFIELD”, Pak. should - Play 4 seamers a/w Ajmal - Open with Malik & Kamran - Mid-Order Yousuf, Misbah, Umar (give him 25 overs) - Afridi & Rana etc to dazzle in death overs. - “Younus to sit out due injury”! - Respect ‘Sher’ Bond ! - For (Pak) Think-tank : Strategy - “maintain CALCULATED ATTACK” !

    Turning point of tournament : Letting Aussies “off the hook”. All three teams PK, NZ & ENG will pay for it!

    Jawed Saleem, Karachi

  • ARSHAD HUSSAIN -BRIBSBANE AUSTRALIA on October 2, 2009, 6:12 GMT

    i agree with kamran abbassi , the way pakistan team pursued the game was bizarre -while batting they were on cruise control -they were at one stage content with 180 but towards the end of the game it looked like a must win game for them -what a paradox. anyway the cup is there for the taking i would suggest opening with malik and kamran , my team malik kamran umar akmal younis yousuf misbah afridi m asif umar gul saeed ajmal m amir rana bowled really well in the last game but misses out looking at the wanderer's wicket asif can be a handful if the batting does well we can win the semis . congratulations to aleem dar on winning the award for the best umpire -our history is not very good when it comes to the umpires nice to see a young umpire doing so well. finally i agree with one of the respondents for whatever pakistan cricket team has gone through last year they should be with winners of the spirit of cricket award.

    good luck pakistan .

  • TAIMUR on October 2, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    i believe we can beat NZ. we have the right combination of pace and spin. Plus, NZ has a fragile batting lineup. But those are just the facts on paper. I hope our boys go out and give it their all against NZ. Whatever happens will happen for the best, inshallah!

  • PUSHTUNTUNIA on October 2, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    Kamran - when are you going to lay off YOUSUF?

  • Syed A Jamal on October 2, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    Hi Kamran: Pakistan just were not aggressive vs Auusies. They should play boldly and stop worrying about losing. Also, it is time for yunus to dleiver like Imran did in 1992. Inshallah we will win!!.

  • arhuja on October 2, 2009, 5:12 GMT

    aus match -younis scored 18 of 50 balls (including some other batters). -easy singles allowed to aussies. -afridi grassing a sitter. -afridi getting out to johnson first ball. -asif din bowl his 10 overs although he was the only one looking like taking a wicket when aussies were 8 down. overall a poor effort from pak.

  • Kamran Qureshi on October 2, 2009, 5:03 GMT

    I cant believe your blog.You started with one ridiculous idea of dropping Yousaf and now you are trying to justify your position by poor comparisons.All three btsmn are great.Was Yousafs innings against india not in need.The pitch against Australia was tricky and Pakistan could have collapsed under 100.In the end the match was an equal contest,could have gone either way and even the last ball run out would have resulted in a tie.If we were thrashed on the same pitch,I would have understood your comments.I dont know you make these comments because you want to create some sensaation or you dont understand cricket but for god sake stop minimizing Yousafs batting. I dont think we can drop Ajmal against NZ.Asif has not found his groove yet and Aamir is much more attacking and wicket taker,I can live with either of them.The big ? is who is our other opener.Afridi,Malik or Nazir.Nazir seemed to have lost his chances.I would stick with Afridi.Lets see.

  • fhs on October 2, 2009, 3:36 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi -

    1) Disagreement - Stop criticizing Yousaf please. He is Ace! 2) Agreement - Pakistan should have beaten Aussies. 3) Best - Ajmal is the best of the best. He is the Ace!! 4) Impressive – Younis captaincy has been impressive. He is positive, attacking and involves with his team mates. He supports his bowlers and as a result, bowlers do not turn him down!!! 5) No good - It is the fielding that is not impressive. Had we have the sharp fielding, we would have beaten Aussies!!!

    Pakistan’s performance in the tournament is impressive and consistent. The combination is working. I am confident that Pakistan will beat NZ in the semi final. Go Pakis!!

  • PakFan on October 2, 2009, 3:05 GMT

    Kamran Bhai, on this occasion I don't agree with you. Just imagine if Yousuf had not slowed down and held on to this wicket. Pak probably would have been all out by the 40th over. Personally, do not think Yousuf had any other chance but to hold on to his wicket and see through the paces / spinners. Yes he was too slow and at the end we were 10-15 runs short.

    We should be criticising Kamran Akmal for missing the run out chance on last ball, Also Afridi had a good start - should have played more sensible shots. He is no longer 16years and he'll probably won't get the fastest century again.

    If openers play 15overs and put on at least 100 runs on the board, Pak can play a 4th fast bowler for the semis - Asif, Rana, Aamir and UmerGul. But we'll need Imran Nazir, Akmal to give us a good start and see off the new ball. I'll probably drop Umar Akmal to fit in ASif and hope that our batting don't need to go that deep.

  • Irtaza on October 2, 2009, 1:07 GMT

    I don't think we should criticize Younis Khan's captaincy and how he handles the order right now. Otherwise, we may all be forced to eat our own words if Pak end up winning under him.

  • Sefal Khan on October 1, 2009, 23:54 GMT

    I agree with Richard S - leave Yousuf alone. Find me another player like Yousuf in Pakistan. You seem to have something personal about Yousuf. Please be neutral.

  • Thakur Baldev Singh on October 1, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    Can not agree with you more. A case in point is Rahul Dravid on our side; who manages to get the highest score every now and then but India invariably looses the match. And reason more often than not is this: his slow batting and momentum killing batting induces all sort of errors from his partners. Asking run rate becomes unmanageable and Dravid gets all the kudos for standing tall amongst ruins.

  • Sefal Khan on October 1, 2009, 23:47 GMT

    Hi Kamran - Please leave YOUSUF alone. Why don't you talk about Kamran Akmal who cannot keep - missed stumping, missed run out - why don't you put pressure on him. Why not put pressure on Misbah who doesn't know how to bat, Nazir - is he a batsman?,what about Younus's snail pace batting?. Please Kamran get real and stop beibg personal about YOUSUF. You are loosing credibility as a neutral observer. I also agree with someone earlier - Umar Akmal is being wasted by comming so late. GOOD LUCK boys GOOD LUCK Pakistan.

  • Krishna on October 1, 2009, 21:57 GMT

    You can criticize Yousuf. But He is needed for the sheet anchor. Unless you have wickets on hand, there is no way to score 300 or chase 300. IPL and slam bang cricket will not take you to 300. Pak's bench strength is just not there.With wickets in hand, the Powerplays become useful. Players like Yousuf and Dravid are always required. Pakistan's strength is Bowling and NOT batting. And Aussies and NZ will not be bowling like Indians. Without major contribution from Yousuf or another sheet anchor you cannot post good total.

  • Nabil on October 1, 2009, 20:59 GMT

    Nazir comes in for Misbah, and Aamer for Asif. Big innings due from a couple of guys such as Nazir-Afridi and of course our Cuptaan himself, but not in the Semi but instead in the Final!

  • Syed Ahmed Danish on October 1, 2009, 20:55 GMT

    As salam o aleakum... Kamran i am amazed that why dont you realise the importence of Muhammad Yousuf he is only the sound player in pakistan side along with umer akmal our all the players Like younus,kamran akmal, imran nazir, malik dont play well on seming tracks yousuf is a solid wall against the opposition although he is not a big hiter but he is the one who always do his best in middle overs at the other hand younus khan is not taking his reponsibility as a captian he is having alot of problems on the pitch he has to prove his self as a captian like Ricky Ponting and Greme Smith do any how please always do the positive critisium rather then to pin point yousuf that he is slow and dont deserve to be played in ODI's Misbash is not having ny worth to be selected for pakistan team he dont sound mentaly strong and the other thing that Afridi must have to learn from Umer Akmal that how to stay on wicket

  • desihungama on October 1, 2009, 19:42 GMT

    As they say "The Mojo is back".

  • What the hell is happening in ICC Awards? on October 1, 2009, 18:29 GMT

    Kmran & Osman

    Can you please make us undestand, how n earth Dilshan won the T20 performance of the year? not the Afriis all rounder display and gul's 5 or 6 could win it.....Why ICC wants to destro pakistan cricket and world cricket.

    2. Why Fawad Alam & Muhammad Aamir were even not considered for emerging plaers awards? is debut century against Mendis in their home turf, is making Dilshan a duck in the crease in a world cup final, and winning world cup is not a fair performance to even be considered from Pakistan teenagers.

    3rd and the most important: The Spirit o cricket Award: Ater all the hell of last few years, the way pakistan team has added generally t world cricket, and especially the 180 million of pakistan, after all the terrorism and then drugs etc...the way pakistan team come up, giving pleasure in the deserts o UAE, in England, in Sri Lanka----do any other team deserve spirit of cricket award more than pakistan?

    what a shame ICC, you have degraded yourself?

  • Nadeem Abbasi on October 1, 2009, 18:20 GMT

    Key to Success for Pakistani Team in Champuions Trophy. Notes to Younis Khan. (someone please pass these to him)

    1. Keep seamers on if sucessfull in Wanderers. 2. Keep spinners on if sucessfull in Centurion. 3. Do not go bat yourself and waste time in the top order. 4. Send Umar Akmal in 1, 2 or 3rd down. 5. Stop smiling in a tense situation, it makes people think you don't really care about the game. 6. Try to go in with a winning attitude from the Get Go and not "just a game attitude". 7. Just bowlers don't win the game, the team does. 8. Just being a Captain is not pithching in. If you can't score runs then get out trying and save the dot balls. 9. Tell Afridi to pay attention to the game rather then advertise his hair for more shampoo commercials. 10. Tell Kamran Akmal to cut out the "Shabash Shahid Bhai" deal. 11. Stress the bowlers to bowl to their field.

  • imran on October 1, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    So far not bad.Just the batting still needs room for improvement,but i wouldn't read too much into a dead match.Misbah though is rubbish and must go,he has no strokeplay and just a couple of slog shots in his armour,no thanks but thats what we have Abdur Razzaq and lower order sloggers for.Ahmed Shahzad would be a handy option in one dayers,although he's too slow for T20.Main problem is Nazir,lets give him a fair run and see if he can rein himself in,if he is too dumb to take the opportunity then do not fall back on Butt or Farhat,they are useless.Find another youngster of give it to Alam,its about time we started grooming the kids. I think Umar Gul looks tired,might be good to rest him, we don't want him getting stress fractures especialy since we have back up now, same with Mohammed Amer, don't burn our talent out selectors.Welcome back Asif,you've been missed, but behave yourself now and have a good long career.Oh and Shoaib Actor, we don't need you now,get lost.

  • Ahmer on October 1, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    Pakistan batting line up against Australia was the strongest batting line-up, I have ever seen in the pakistan cricket history. They should stick with the same batting line-up not only in this tournament but also in the series against Newzealand and Australia..

  • Sheraz Alam on October 1, 2009, 16:23 GMT

    just to conclude my point, Ajmal is so far the best bowler in the tounament and NZ ability will be check against a quality spinner without the big names in middle order. SO could it be Amer...as already we are hearing that he is having some stiff ribs...Tough job If we observe NZ batting, I would say one of the weakest among semi finalist. Beside Ross taylor they dont have any quality(established) bat that can handle afridi and ajmal. Mind you they are used to fast bouncy pitches so dont surprise if they have hurricane start like they already had in the tournament. So I would definitely like Ajmal....So Amer vs Asif...younis will have the last say. If Nazir comes than obviously Misbah has to go though after yesterdays batting younis should see the mirror. All the best Pakistan!

  • Sheraz Alam on October 1, 2009, 16:16 GMT

    AoA, Yes we lost to Australia once again,our nemesis in big matches like we are for NZ. Captain set the tone....compare younis to ponting....Awful display of sluggish and defensive attitude....yet called himself an aggressive person. We were already in the semis so Pakistan should have come all guns blazing against Australia to knock our nemesis out. I dont know about your feeling Mr. Kamran but i m disappointed. We had the opportunity and we should have nailed Australia.Anyhow, lets focus on Semi final. I still cant understand your problem with yousaf. You are persisitent in sparing Misbah...how dis that wide ball hit-wicket happened from a genuine batsman is still mystery to me...then i think its misbah yaar! What should b the team combination this is the main question? Green pitch..Asif should play or not?...he is quality and no second opinion, but whom should you leave out?..Not Rana after his yorkers and batting ability,,,younis will not leave GUL of course. ctnd

  • Saad on October 1, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Once again unsubstantiated criticism of Yousuf. Even a dasher like Akmal took 60 odd balls to score his 40 odd and he had the luxury to bat with powerplays. Yousuf on the other hand batted without one until the very end. Also, Inzi's recard is not all that stellar either when it comes to top teams and he had the luxury of batting after the great Saeed Anwar for most of his career. Saeed was a more superior batsman and a bigger match winner then Inzi. Yousuf can match his former captain in match winning knocks. The last time Pakistan beat India in an ICC event it was all courtesy Yousuf's knock. It's really hard to admit when one is wrong. Mr. Abbasi is going through this delimma.

  • Owais on October 1, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    Any word on Afridi's hand injury near the end of last match? If he is injured, then I would say play Asif. That gives pakistan a very strong bowling attack with Asif/Aamer/Rana/Gul on Wanderers pitch that assists fast bowlers and then Ajmal/Malik to trouble the NZ batters with spin. Also, I think for semi-final they wont be preparing a bad pitch with cracks, etc like it was in a couple of games. I'm watching highlights of NZ/SL game (wanderers) rright now, and I expect the SF pitch to be more like that. It may have bounce but more even bounce.

    Even though I like Younis as a captain, having him while injured (or any player) is not a good idea. Perhaps the injury was affecting his batting also, certainly affected fielding. Good that he played in crucial india/pak game, but perhaps he should have rested in the last game.

  • Kashif on October 1, 2009, 15:54 GMT

    There are too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. That was the best bowling performance I have seen from Ajmal and Rana, absolute magic. Pak lacked intensity in the match, apart from the last 20 overs bowling, the batting could have got 25+runs more. Fielding was 7/10. I think Younis wanted a tied match, we could have done it if K.Akmal hit the wicket last ball! Remember first T20WC Pak vs Ind bowl out, we allowed India to the final, we lost, not this time, thank God. Remember we are at war. Kamran leave Yousuf alone I think your a fool if you think he needs to be dropped. Younis is playing with a broken finger, so leave him alone as well! I think this Pakistan team is the BEST in the world, with near zero exposure to international cricket for 2 years, these boys are hungry for victory. I am sick of reading all these armchair coaches who think you know best, you don't, no really you don't. Inshallah we will win this championship, our bowling is formidible, our batting is almost there.

  • Shahriyar Ahmed on October 1, 2009, 15:42 GMT

    Imran Nazir will be back so we should get some momentum from him at the start of the innings. I would promote Shoaib Malik to 3 ahead of Younis...Younis has not done anything of note with the bat all series and it was because of him that we lost the momentum built by Akmal against the Aussies...so Malik at 3, Yousef at 4, Younis at 5 and Umar Akmal at 6. I would drop Asif for Amer. Any idea on the pitch we are playing at? I hope the Wanderers pitch isent another seaming track that the ICC mysteriously likes preparing for Pakistan's matches.

  • AZ USA on October 1, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    Younis does it again - wasting Umar Akmal in the last 2 matches and getting experience to dead rubber (Misbah). What a moron Younis is - we know we need Umar Akmal, he should have been given all the chances before the most important games. Now Umar Akmal will be playing again with no real experience from the last 2 games on these pitches...Younis is out of his mind. What is Younis's role? We have Afridi - Younis should be shows the door for the ODIs....

  • Wasim on October 1, 2009, 14:51 GMT

    You are right about Yousaf but the cheif culprit is Younis Khan. Pakistan decided very late in the match to go for a win. I still believe Asif needs a few matches to return to full form, I think it was a mistake not to play him against WI. But the biggest blunder Younis has committed is by not fully utilizing Umar Akmal, Umar in last two matches got only a few balls to face I was hoping Younis will send him before Misbah. There was no need to bring Misbah back and even if Younis had to do it he should have played him after Umar Akmal to give the in form youngster enough time to get some match practice.

  • desihungama on October 1, 2009, 14:36 GMT

    Look at the bright side. We get to play New Zealand in the semi finals. I do not know if other might have noticed but it's in the air. The australians are afraid of Pakistan. Should we make it to the finals, more than we win Australia will debunk it. Regrding Umar Akmal, as another pointed out he is being wasted by asking to slog in the last overs when he is technically a sound player. He must be played a bit up the order. Personally, I'd like to see him open with Kamran. For the next match and incase a final, Misbah sholud be replaced with Asif. I know a bowler replacing batter? But if you send Umar up the order, we may not need Misbah heroics afterall.

  • Syed Jaffery on October 1, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    It can be argued that loosing India in the final is a lot difficult pill to swallow than Australlia. At one time during their batting it looked like as if they were not really intrested. With six wickets in hand a nervy Australlians bowling they could have easily posted 250-260 runs. They will surely not sit back till 45 overs in a Do or Die situation. Secondly I would like to see Aamir in every match as he is young and has got lot to learn. I would say that not only we missed an opportunity to improve our record against Australlia but also missed a chance to play at Centurian against England which could prove decisive in the end.

  • Badar on October 1, 2009, 13:56 GMT

    A final between PK and AUS is a far away thought. I think NZ will eventually win this semi-final match against PK because their bowling is much better now; just look at their last 2 matches. PK batsmen already had issues playing against Aussie fast bowlers and I think they will have the same issues against NZ bowlers. Also, NZ batting line is stronger than AUS batting line so PK might need 4 fast bowlers. Study the tapes, Younus. It also might not be a bad idea to start the innings with the Akmal brothers followed by Malik, Younus, Yousuf, Misbah, Afridi, Rana, Gul, Asif and Amer (in the same order as listed). I think Afridi and Malik can fulfill the spinners duty so I dropped Ajmal and brought Amer back in but if Younus and the selecters think otherwise then they should give a chance to Fawad and have an extra batsman in the team. Are you listening Younus? Good Luck and know that everyone one of us is praying for your success no matter how much we criticize you.

  • AQ Azhar on October 1, 2009, 13:40 GMT

    Mr. Kamran , You have again singled out Yosuf for slow scoring and not performing , I think he is one of top scorers for Pakistan in this tournament with higher strike rate. I dont know wht you do not criticize Younus Khan's role as a No:3 batsmen who let us down everytime when it matters most and his strike rate is much slower than yosuf. Please can you justify your biased point of views ? And you are doing this when yosuf has played a matchwinning inning in a crucial match against india which infact has taken us to the Semis and he played reasonably well against Australia with respect to the performance of Yonus. I am sparing Shoaib Malik here as he has done very good atleast in a match against India.

  • Asima on October 1, 2009, 12:33 GMT

    To have India out is a blessing (no prejudice - just sibling rivalry!)

    In an ideal world we would have stuffed the aussies and India still would not have progressed due to NRR.

    Yousuf - leave the guy alone - you've been on his back for years - I still recall the colourful 16 or 19 run innings he used to make - indispersed with a final innings century or 2 in a losing cause - Kamran, you used t obreathe fire on Youhana back then, and now even more so on the bearded walla!

    Power Play is something a specialist coach (like Woolmer, RIP) needs to have a input into. I agree, it should come during the quieter 20-35 over period. It could have the effect of an electric last 20 overs - meaning the score always reaches 300 on any wicket, or 350+ on decent batting tracks. Now if we can raise our game to that level, no one will catch us - or till they catch onto the Power Play dilemma.

  • Qasim on October 1, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. We need to come out of the '92 mindset of preserving wickets in the middle overs (prevailent in the Pakistani team) which effectively rules out posting a decent total ie 300+ and not 240.

    Let us spare a thought for Rana Naveed as well who we all love to hate. His two maidens and Husseys wicket were vital in stretching Australia to the limit. Very happy to see the bowling attack perform with such consistency.

    Somebody needs to tell Imran Nazir that attacking cricket is not only about lofting the ball. He plays delightful ground strokes and if only he can concentrate on them for the earlier part of his innings it will do him and Pakistan a world of good.

    Kamran, without Yousuf's name in the Pakistan batting order, it really doesn't seem like a batting order. He brings stability and should be retained for ODIs. He is without doubt the most skilled batsman we have. I would even give him a license to kill and send him as opener in T20 too.

  • khalil on October 1, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    Pak went down fighting against Aus. Its better to lose it now irrespective of the finalists. There is NZ, playing at their best in CT so far. The final should be tough.If Pak play like this,there is no reason, they will not win. Pak should avoid complacency. Best of luck Pak Team.

  • Richard S on October 1, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    As far as I am concerned Mohammed Youssuf is a class player who can score quickly, his innings against India was a run a ball. So why on earth would you question why he is in the ODI side? He is a genuinly class player, up there with Ponting. Maybe you would have a point if this tournament was being played on sub-continental perfect batting wickets and everybody was slogging their way to 350, but this is in South Africa on seam friendly wickets, in this situation Youssuf is your most valuable player because he has the best technique. If I was Pakistan coach I would push Umar Akmal up to 5 behind the openers, Malik and Youssuf and drop Younis down to 7 behind Afridi. Younis would be in the side only because he is captain, it is he who seems unsuited to 50 over cricket.

  • waseem sarwar on October 1, 2009, 10:35 GMT

    i also think same that pakistan have to play much better and fast in middle overs becaz it is not always easy to slog in the last few overs for new comers. thax for that veiw . i think pak will play with 3 pacers because they would love to add a batsmen on that pitch.

  • MALLHI on October 1, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    The criticism of Yousuf is very harsh. He was the best batsman alongwith Malik in the match against India and if it was not for his innings, we would have lost that game. Even in the game against Australia, his strike rate was not bad considering the wicket and the bowling attack of Ozs (i think he made 45 from some 63 or 64 balls). The main culprits of the slow batting were Younis (18 runs from 49 balls) and Misbah who was supposed to hit out but struggled quite badly. Its amazing how conviniently you have ignored the slow and dumb batting of Younis and Misbah yet find bad things about Yousuf's batting whose primary role is to hold the innings together so that others can play around him. I am really surprised how come you have singled out Yousuf for his slow batting? Though I agree with the batting power play idea of yours that we should think to utilize it before the 45th over. Ian Chappal said the samething yesterday.

  • Ali ahmad "shams" on October 1, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    it is reality that pakistan has very strong middle order bating but they should be lightly agressive, they should not make them self under presure. they should guide the seemers how to bowll on the slow truck.

  • salman.khan on October 1, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    I feel pakistan should have done in the Aussies as facing the Aussies in the final would be a different game alltogether. Also i feel sad for India who were really missing some match winners like Yuvraj,Sehwag & Zaheer Khan. To be honest India did not do any justice to their potential and hopefully they get-on with this debacle quickly enough and again become a force to reckon with. My heart still wanted to see an India-Pakistan final

  • Atif Iqbal on October 1, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    my two cents:

    - Yousaf should continue to be part of the ODI squad for many reasons; namely expirience, quality and solidity to the middle order

    - Though there is no formula behind when to take a batting powerplay but purely from strategic perspective if a team has two set batsmen scoring close at 4.5-6.0 rpo and have already put up a solid partnership of 75+ runs, 35+ scores under their belt, (in other words a team has not lost a wicket for the last 15-18 overs) the batting powerplay should immediately be taken. It would allow the batsmen to continue to dominate without additional pressure. Such a move would typically come between overs 25-35, depending upon fall of early wickets.

    It does seem like a gamble taking the powerplay in the middle of the innings but I think it would be the best time to maximise the impact since the teams are going to hit out in the last few overs in any case; which always raises the probability of loosing quick wickets.

  • Noman Aziz on October 1, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Pakistan's just lost the opportunity to officially end the decade long Australian dominance. Australia is not the team Pakistan team thinks it is! The evidence from tournament in Dubai and yesterday's match should be enough to get the Aussi fear out of Pakistan team. But yesterday's loss ruined it. Pakistan was on course to making at least 235-240 when batsmen decieded to switch to test-match mode. Between 31 - 45 overs they only managed some 50-60 runs without losing any wickets. Thats mad! had we scored 25 runs more than the result would have certainly been different. You are right Kamran. Younus just wasted overs after overs, and with it lost a golden chance to end Australian dominance!

  • Shafiq on October 1, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    Wonderful match! but i felt sad that we could not win it for India---We could have won atleat 1 billion hearts...., and i would have felt more pleasure in knocking Aussies out of a mega event....Does 1999 WC final and the rise of Aussies still not hurt you my countrymen?

  • Tarique on October 1, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    assalamalaikum.cant say toughluck for pakistan bcoz they themselves were the ones to blame for the defeat & specially younis khan.the way he and other two seniors misbah & yousuf batted it seemed that they were chasing a total of 135 posted by west indies in the first game.how can u play like that in a one day game although the pitch was not favouring the batsmen enough but still i would say that the lazy batting of younis between 15-25 overs and then by misbah & yousuf between 35-50 overs let pakistan short of some 40odd runs.after malik got out umar akmal was the best choice to be out in the middle instead of misbah.opening the innings with afridi was a good choice and he should be given a chance in the semis and in the final also if pakistan make it bcoz in one match u cannot judge anyone.he has done for pakistan in the past and recently in the world t20 and i am sure he will repeat the heroics of world twenty if given a chance up the order.younis should also utilize ajmal properly

  • Jawad Khan on October 1, 2009, 9:11 GMT

    I cant really understand your continuous criticism of yousuf..... Dont put his stats away for nothing....he is the only batsman in our team who is acknowledged as world class.....If you say he hasn't been effective when it mattered then u'll have to ask questions about yunus as well....because he has also been short of any major impact as a batsman......Yousuf is the sort of player u need in the middle and others play around him....we have a batting line up full of dashers, therefore u need someone with pure class and technique. he hasn't got 15 hundreds and an average of nearly 44 by doing nothing......be realistic and dont under estimate this next great batsman after Inzi

  • Mirza Mahmood on October 1, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    I pity much agree with you on the middle overs part. Although I am more concerned about Misbah than Yousuf. Yousuf relies on timing and was trying his best to time the ball. Misbah's only skills are slogging and nugging and should have gotten into the slogging act as soon as he was in. but he waited late into the forty overs. I think Akmal who is more fluent than Misbah and powerful than Yousuf is being wasted. He is a natural batsmen hwo is being forced to slog. I hope he doesnt meet the fate of guys like mohd waseem, yasser hameed who were played in wrong positions and then seen off for poor records. Yousuf also should be used in one dayers only to allow him to get some from for upcoming tests and should not part on next world cup. I hope Pakistan uses Umer Akmal and the Power plays better in the semi final. As for the semi final, Pakistan has a wood over Nzld and shud get thru to final whr the result of this match could come back and bite Pakistan. Lets hope otherwise.

  • Ghazanfar Jaffri on October 1, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Yes you are right but what i think is Pak has to attack since strat specially in the bating becoz if they get to flying start it will be easy for the middle order to settle down comfertably and get big score.

  • Abdullah Faiz on October 1, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    It is a dilemma indeed for Younus & co. whether they should play Asif or not. It is a green top, so should they drop Ajmal? That cannot be right though. Ajmal has been the star performer. I think Asif will sit out the semi, despite conditions favouring his style of bowling. Also, Mr Abbasi it's funny how one innings can make you change your always wavering opinion of Yousuf. He is exactly what we need in the middle overs. A solid batsman who can bat at a strike rate of 80 at the least. He may not be a big hitter, but he is what you need when your mindless openers have thrown away their wicket with 20 on the board.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Abdullah Faiz on October 1, 2009, 8:39 GMT

    It is a dilemma indeed for Younus & co. whether they should play Asif or not. It is a green top, so should they drop Ajmal? That cannot be right though. Ajmal has been the star performer. I think Asif will sit out the semi, despite conditions favouring his style of bowling. Also, Mr Abbasi it's funny how one innings can make you change your always wavering opinion of Yousuf. He is exactly what we need in the middle overs. A solid batsman who can bat at a strike rate of 80 at the least. He may not be a big hitter, but he is what you need when your mindless openers have thrown away their wicket with 20 on the board.

  • Ghazanfar Jaffri on October 1, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Yes you are right but what i think is Pak has to attack since strat specially in the bating becoz if they get to flying start it will be easy for the middle order to settle down comfertably and get big score.

  • Mirza Mahmood on October 1, 2009, 8:56 GMT

    I pity much agree with you on the middle overs part. Although I am more concerned about Misbah than Yousuf. Yousuf relies on timing and was trying his best to time the ball. Misbah's only skills are slogging and nugging and should have gotten into the slogging act as soon as he was in. but he waited late into the forty overs. I think Akmal who is more fluent than Misbah and powerful than Yousuf is being wasted. He is a natural batsmen hwo is being forced to slog. I hope he doesnt meet the fate of guys like mohd waseem, yasser hameed who were played in wrong positions and then seen off for poor records. Yousuf also should be used in one dayers only to allow him to get some from for upcoming tests and should not part on next world cup. I hope Pakistan uses Umer Akmal and the Power plays better in the semi final. As for the semi final, Pakistan has a wood over Nzld and shud get thru to final whr the result of this match could come back and bite Pakistan. Lets hope otherwise.

  • Jawad Khan on October 1, 2009, 9:11 GMT

    I cant really understand your continuous criticism of yousuf..... Dont put his stats away for nothing....he is the only batsman in our team who is acknowledged as world class.....If you say he hasn't been effective when it mattered then u'll have to ask questions about yunus as well....because he has also been short of any major impact as a batsman......Yousuf is the sort of player u need in the middle and others play around him....we have a batting line up full of dashers, therefore u need someone with pure class and technique. he hasn't got 15 hundreds and an average of nearly 44 by doing nothing......be realistic and dont under estimate this next great batsman after Inzi

  • Tarique on October 1, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    assalamalaikum.cant say toughluck for pakistan bcoz they themselves were the ones to blame for the defeat & specially younis khan.the way he and other two seniors misbah & yousuf batted it seemed that they were chasing a total of 135 posted by west indies in the first game.how can u play like that in a one day game although the pitch was not favouring the batsmen enough but still i would say that the lazy batting of younis between 15-25 overs and then by misbah & yousuf between 35-50 overs let pakistan short of some 40odd runs.after malik got out umar akmal was the best choice to be out in the middle instead of misbah.opening the innings with afridi was a good choice and he should be given a chance in the semis and in the final also if pakistan make it bcoz in one match u cannot judge anyone.he has done for pakistan in the past and recently in the world t20 and i am sure he will repeat the heroics of world twenty if given a chance up the order.younis should also utilize ajmal properly

  • Shafiq on October 1, 2009, 9:23 GMT

    Wonderful match! but i felt sad that we could not win it for India---We could have won atleat 1 billion hearts...., and i would have felt more pleasure in knocking Aussies out of a mega event....Does 1999 WC final and the rise of Aussies still not hurt you my countrymen?

  • Noman Aziz on October 1, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Pakistan's just lost the opportunity to officially end the decade long Australian dominance. Australia is not the team Pakistan team thinks it is! The evidence from tournament in Dubai and yesterday's match should be enough to get the Aussi fear out of Pakistan team. But yesterday's loss ruined it. Pakistan was on course to making at least 235-240 when batsmen decieded to switch to test-match mode. Between 31 - 45 overs they only managed some 50-60 runs without losing any wickets. Thats mad! had we scored 25 runs more than the result would have certainly been different. You are right Kamran. Younus just wasted overs after overs, and with it lost a golden chance to end Australian dominance!

  • Atif Iqbal on October 1, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    my two cents:

    - Yousaf should continue to be part of the ODI squad for many reasons; namely expirience, quality and solidity to the middle order

    - Though there is no formula behind when to take a batting powerplay but purely from strategic perspective if a team has two set batsmen scoring close at 4.5-6.0 rpo and have already put up a solid partnership of 75+ runs, 35+ scores under their belt, (in other words a team has not lost a wicket for the last 15-18 overs) the batting powerplay should immediately be taken. It would allow the batsmen to continue to dominate without additional pressure. Such a move would typically come between overs 25-35, depending upon fall of early wickets.

    It does seem like a gamble taking the powerplay in the middle of the innings but I think it would be the best time to maximise the impact since the teams are going to hit out in the last few overs in any case; which always raises the probability of loosing quick wickets.

  • salman.khan on October 1, 2009, 9:43 GMT

    I feel pakistan should have done in the Aussies as facing the Aussies in the final would be a different game alltogether. Also i feel sad for India who were really missing some match winners like Yuvraj,Sehwag & Zaheer Khan. To be honest India did not do any justice to their potential and hopefully they get-on with this debacle quickly enough and again become a force to reckon with. My heart still wanted to see an India-Pakistan final

  • Ali ahmad "shams" on October 1, 2009, 9:47 GMT

    it is reality that pakistan has very strong middle order bating but they should be lightly agressive, they should not make them self under presure. they should guide the seemers how to bowll on the slow truck.