Champions Trophy October 3, 2009

The balance in Pakistan's favour

Pakistan are confident, they are even favourites for yet another tournament semi-final against New Zealand
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Pakistan are confident, they are even favourites for yet another tournament semi-final against New Zealand. One simple factor puts them in that position. It is the same factor without which Younis Khan would have been unable to lead this resurgence in Pakistan cricket. Right-arm, left-arm, legspin, offspin, Pakistan's attack has it all. An almost perfect balance that makes them challengers in any contest. But balance isn't enough. All the elements must be performing optimally. And here, just as in the World Twenty20, that is the happy circumstance. Such has been the excellence of Gul, Aamer, Rana, Ajmal and Afridi that Pakistan can resist their usual knee-jerk reaction of recalling their most famous bowler. This exquisite balance should prevail again, provided the wicket is not unfairly balanced in favour of the side bowling first.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Clemento on October 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    In truth, immediately i didn't understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.

  • Kouba on October 27, 2009, 19:08 GMT

    Hmm... I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i'll be your constant reader.

  • M.N.A.Rahman on October 22, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Hi this is A.Rahman from Sri Lanka. I like to to something to PCB. Pakistani fans of Sri Lankans are not happy with Yonus returning as a captain for OUR SIDE. Because we are thinking BOOM BOOM is the right choice @ the moment. & Please take the batting POWER PLAY when two batsmen in the PICTH with form. Do not take the batting POWER PLAY when bowlers are in the picth with out form.

  • mislam on October 6, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    Pakistan missed a golden opportunity to win the semi final and which could make the final very close game, like the group match with australia. If I were the selector, I would have played Mesbah in place of younus, for his injury plus failure to score run. And inclusion of Asif was a must in place of Navid or Gul. If you take a vote, at least 75% would support this view. A vice captain leads when captain is injured. You need an effective vice captain not to sit down in the side line. It has been the case in last few months. If younus was not injured, he would take the catch, and in all likelyhood, pakistan would win the game. Who had to make the decision in such a critical game you play the injured captain and let the vice captain sit down on the side line. Both had about the same contribution in the series. Mesbah played few good match he had a better chance of playing a good innings than his injured captain. I think the captain and the selector for the semifinal did not do a good job

  • Faisal Kamal on October 4, 2009, 21:30 GMT

    Pakistan's loss in the semi can be attributed to the following.

    1. Mohammad Asif should have been played over Rana Naveed. Rana has a history of being belted around in one dayers. 2. Power play should have been taken much earlier. This shows weaknees in team managmenet and captaincy.

    In the long run Pakistan should retire/drop the following players because of inconsistant performance especially on foreign pitches. The are more liability than asset.

    a) Younas Khan. Over age and an average captain. b) Shahid Afradi. Horrendous one day batting average. Bowling average is also ok. c) Rana Naveed. Nothing special about his bowling. No room for an average medium pacer in team.

  • Akhtar Syed on October 4, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    I believe,it is now about time that Rana's bowling coach needs to pay more attention to his run up. He has to stop those no balls. Imagine at a time when Pakistan is required to decrease runs per over rate against NZ, he ends up pitched 2 no balls in an over. That is not acceptable in such type of international cricket . It’s very aggravating, especially in a crucial game like this semi final. I noticed this is not the first time he has done like that. Being a test player he has to do better than that. In my opinion we need a replacement The other thing I observed during the semi that Mr Gull had hard time breathing after each delivery, I wonder, was he completely fit against NZ

  • Akeel Kazmi on October 4, 2009, 16:47 GMT

    I think the sad india fans should look at their own team's performance before taking digs at Pakistan. Pakistan knocked out India by beating them first and then losing to Australia, India again have gone home empty handed before the serious cricket. Pakistan Twenty20 champions and Semi finalist in Champions Trophy is a pretty good performance all things considered. NZ well played, its about time they beat us in a semi as we have been doing that to them since the 92 world cup when they were favourites. I hope NZ beat the aussies!

  • Khalid on October 4, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Can somebody tell Pak captain/coach; you don't have to wait till 45 over to take the power play. They committed the same mistake against Aus and NL. Should have taken it around 40th over when both set batsmen were at the crease and not when tailenders were exposed. This way they could have added at least to 30-40 runs, enough for wins in both games.

  • EAMiran on October 4, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    Lessons learnt in defeat: 1. Regular opening batsmen must be cultivated. Nazir is a T20 specialist and not fit for ODI's and Test cricket. Akmal Sr. should bat lower down where he adds a little more fire power. 2. YK should not bat 1 down as this position is required in action during power play overs. Instead he should bat when the field has opened out & balls can be dinked for 1s and 2s. 3. Akmal Jr. should be promoted up the order (No.3) during power play. 4. When Plan A fails i.e; "Miandads-play-slow-dont-lose-wkts-wait-till-the-last-5-overs-to-slog", there must be Plans B and C. 4. Umar Gul has become a 1 trick pony i.e; a T20 specialist like Nazir. All Yorkers and bouncers and no other deliveries makes Gul a dull boy. 5. Afridis so-called maturity as a batsman was just another false dawn. 6. Malik is simply not a consistently good batsman. Can't bat, can't bowl. 7. Rana o Rana! When the ball doesn't swing Rana is cannon fodder. 8. Must cultivate another 140+kph bowler.

  • H.Malik on October 4, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    There You are dear Kamran praising the proven time again and again The YOYOs . Either you are not learning from the past or your so called Patriotic zeal is blocking your past memory or even learning habits. I for one was sure , the Pures will defeat themselves in this Semi final as they have done many many times before in any series Test , ODI or innagural T20 . Their success of 2nd T20 was short lived , The Yoyos have defeated themselves in the Group match against Australia and no matter how big mouthed claims Yonus or his Yoyos put forward , I for once knew it , they will defeat themselves even against the Kiwis ....... You can not expect any consistancy from these egoostic selfish driven big mouthed so called "Stars" and if you do then you are making a fool of yourself . I have lost hope in them ..........

  • Clemento on October 29, 2009, 23:53 GMT

    In truth, immediately i didn't understand the essence. But after re-reading all at once became clear.

  • Kouba on October 27, 2009, 19:08 GMT

    Hmm... I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i'll be your constant reader.

  • M.N.A.Rahman on October 22, 2009, 5:05 GMT

    Hi this is A.Rahman from Sri Lanka. I like to to something to PCB. Pakistani fans of Sri Lankans are not happy with Yonus returning as a captain for OUR SIDE. Because we are thinking BOOM BOOM is the right choice @ the moment. & Please take the batting POWER PLAY when two batsmen in the PICTH with form. Do not take the batting POWER PLAY when bowlers are in the picth with out form.

  • mislam on October 6, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    Pakistan missed a golden opportunity to win the semi final and which could make the final very close game, like the group match with australia. If I were the selector, I would have played Mesbah in place of younus, for his injury plus failure to score run. And inclusion of Asif was a must in place of Navid or Gul. If you take a vote, at least 75% would support this view. A vice captain leads when captain is injured. You need an effective vice captain not to sit down in the side line. It has been the case in last few months. If younus was not injured, he would take the catch, and in all likelyhood, pakistan would win the game. Who had to make the decision in such a critical game you play the injured captain and let the vice captain sit down on the side line. Both had about the same contribution in the series. Mesbah played few good match he had a better chance of playing a good innings than his injured captain. I think the captain and the selector for the semifinal did not do a good job

  • Faisal Kamal on October 4, 2009, 21:30 GMT

    Pakistan's loss in the semi can be attributed to the following.

    1. Mohammad Asif should have been played over Rana Naveed. Rana has a history of being belted around in one dayers. 2. Power play should have been taken much earlier. This shows weaknees in team managmenet and captaincy.

    In the long run Pakistan should retire/drop the following players because of inconsistant performance especially on foreign pitches. The are more liability than asset.

    a) Younas Khan. Over age and an average captain. b) Shahid Afradi. Horrendous one day batting average. Bowling average is also ok. c) Rana Naveed. Nothing special about his bowling. No room for an average medium pacer in team.

  • Akhtar Syed on October 4, 2009, 17:32 GMT

    I believe,it is now about time that Rana's bowling coach needs to pay more attention to his run up. He has to stop those no balls. Imagine at a time when Pakistan is required to decrease runs per over rate against NZ, he ends up pitched 2 no balls in an over. That is not acceptable in such type of international cricket . It’s very aggravating, especially in a crucial game like this semi final. I noticed this is not the first time he has done like that. Being a test player he has to do better than that. In my opinion we need a replacement The other thing I observed during the semi that Mr Gull had hard time breathing after each delivery, I wonder, was he completely fit against NZ

  • Akeel Kazmi on October 4, 2009, 16:47 GMT

    I think the sad india fans should look at their own team's performance before taking digs at Pakistan. Pakistan knocked out India by beating them first and then losing to Australia, India again have gone home empty handed before the serious cricket. Pakistan Twenty20 champions and Semi finalist in Champions Trophy is a pretty good performance all things considered. NZ well played, its about time they beat us in a semi as we have been doing that to them since the 92 world cup when they were favourites. I hope NZ beat the aussies!

  • Khalid on October 4, 2009, 15:05 GMT

    Can somebody tell Pak captain/coach; you don't have to wait till 45 over to take the power play. They committed the same mistake against Aus and NL. Should have taken it around 40th over when both set batsmen were at the crease and not when tailenders were exposed. This way they could have added at least to 30-40 runs, enough for wins in both games.

  • EAMiran on October 4, 2009, 13:12 GMT

    Lessons learnt in defeat: 1. Regular opening batsmen must be cultivated. Nazir is a T20 specialist and not fit for ODI's and Test cricket. Akmal Sr. should bat lower down where he adds a little more fire power. 2. YK should not bat 1 down as this position is required in action during power play overs. Instead he should bat when the field has opened out & balls can be dinked for 1s and 2s. 3. Akmal Jr. should be promoted up the order (No.3) during power play. 4. When Plan A fails i.e; "Miandads-play-slow-dont-lose-wkts-wait-till-the-last-5-overs-to-slog", there must be Plans B and C. 4. Umar Gul has become a 1 trick pony i.e; a T20 specialist like Nazir. All Yorkers and bouncers and no other deliveries makes Gul a dull boy. 5. Afridis so-called maturity as a batsman was just another false dawn. 6. Malik is simply not a consistently good batsman. Can't bat, can't bowl. 7. Rana o Rana! When the ball doesn't swing Rana is cannon fodder. 8. Must cultivate another 140+kph bowler.

  • H.Malik on October 4, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    There You are dear Kamran praising the proven time again and again The YOYOs . Either you are not learning from the past or your so called Patriotic zeal is blocking your past memory or even learning habits. I for one was sure , the Pures will defeat themselves in this Semi final as they have done many many times before in any series Test , ODI or innagural T20 . Their success of 2nd T20 was short lived , The Yoyos have defeated themselves in the Group match against Australia and no matter how big mouthed claims Yonus or his Yoyos put forward , I for once knew it , they will defeat themselves even against the Kiwis ....... You can not expect any consistancy from these egoostic selfish driven big mouthed so called "Stars" and if you do then you are making a fool of yourself . I have lost hope in them ..........

  • salman.khan on October 4, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    Pakistan is gone with the wind, an amateurish display by the batsmen have let us down. No other team would have 'over planned' like this & put themselves in this awkward position.

  • joshi.nilesh@gmail.com on October 4, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    Well NZ kicked out a team out of semi final which was lucky enuf to have won a couple of matches in last complete year

  • rashid dalbela on October 4, 2009, 5:24 GMT

    Hmmm we lost as expected.....the other victories were a fluke which we refused to acknowledge

  • karan on October 4, 2009, 5:04 GMT

    This result was not entirely unexpected after the last match which Pakistan played against Australia. It was a poor match by Pakistan which seemed too relaxed treating it obviously as an inconsequential practice match.They played Asif and Misbah - i couldnt see the point when obviously these two fellas were not going to play for the next 2 important matches - Yousef should have just concentrated on keeping the intensity high and try their best rather than mock an international match with a half hearted effort.

    Champion Teams like Australia never ever ever treat any match with such casualness and obviously the results speak for themselves.

    Advice for Pakistan - Treat every game seriously and play to win - Australia does this and wins ..its a simple formula ..International matches are not for meant for Practice

  • slog666 on October 3, 2009, 11:18 GMT

    I think our bowling lineup can run rout on any day. This has and will always be the determining factor in Pakistan cricket - bowlers. I remember so many mathches that our bowlers have won single handedly but dont seem to recall that many matches that just our batting has won. Our bowlers are respected in the sporting circle and they do deserve the respect they get. Lastly, the Pakistani nation should get behind our team and cheer them till the last ball of the match. CMON PAKISTAN!!!

  • Muhammad Haseeb on October 3, 2009, 10:58 GMT

    Pakistan will be victorious today, Inshallah. NZ has weak batting line up. If we get the pinch hitter (McCullum, Guptill) earlier then the weak NZ batting line up will be exposed. So all the best Pakistan.

  • rana aamer on October 3, 2009, 10:15 GMT

    Inshallah with the blessing of Almighty Allah, Pakistan is going to become ICC Champions Trophy champion. I hope that Pakistan will easily defeat NZ in semi final(Inshallah) but there would be a big match between Pakistan v Aus in final.

  • cric_fanatic on October 3, 2009, 9:55 GMT

    Surprising Kamran... No mention of whether M Yousef should be there or not in the team ? You had a lot to say about him after the West Indies match.

  • Shahzaib on October 3, 2009, 9:19 GMT

    rightly said, Pakistan has the most varied bowling attack on offer -- but importantly they need to fire from the top (batting) if Imran could give them a bright start then i guess there is no stopping them . Insha Allah we will win today

  • adnan on October 3, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    we dnt need shoaib any mre he is not worth the trouble

  • AK on October 3, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    It is sad that the cricketing world, that tried to isolate and eliminate Pakistan from the Cricket world, cannot digest Pakistan's success. I had a lot of respect for the KIWIs until today. Pakistan's winning is always attributed to ball tampering, in case Pakistan wins today, the credit will go to their ball tampering stunt. NZ has urged the umpires to keep an eye especially on Umar Gul because his performance against the Aussies was not appreciated. Get a life guys and let us play in peace.

  • pak_girl on October 3, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    As soon as I read your title I went INSHALLAH! I mean, of course Pakistan can win this, butbutbut!! You NEVER know!! Especially with this team!! The uncertainty is killing me!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Asif Rathod on October 3, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    This is very true, Pakistan bowling attach has everything, but still u can't predict how they are going to play. NZ also, has class bowlers like Bond and Vettori and they are also, able to running through any world class attack. I would say, the best batting team will win this match.

  • Gulab on October 3, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    Yes u r correct we need effort in all part of the game if we want to go ahead. The bowling line is best but they should continue their good work. Also our fielding and batting should support. The pitch is difficult to play but our team must have to play their 50 overs to win the game. Inshaullah this time again our team will win i request all nation to pray. Thanks

  • Arif Aziz on October 3, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Best of luck Pakistan. Hope our batsmen can manage decent score if we bat first.

  • Mubashir on October 3, 2009, 8:03 GMT

    Talent was always there + variety but its younis ability to unite and make use of the talent with pin point accuracy most of the time.

  • Arif Khan on October 3, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    It remains to be seen if Pakistan gets through to Finals by beating Newzealand today,if they do then we have a big game on hand,the cornered Tigers have all the ability & potential to humilate Ricky Ponting's XI in the final.....remember my words!

  • waterbuffalo on October 3, 2009, 7:32 GMT

    The Kiwis have a very decent attack, we all know Bond, and the other guys are tall and will get the balls to lift and kick: personally I hope Pak bowls first and chases, because NZ has nothing to lose, they are playing , as usual, without any pressure at all. I want to see if Younis can score a 50. I am betting 100 US that he won't. But Yousuf will. That's another 100. If Pak bats first we could be all out for less than 150. Then the bowling does not matter. Imran Nazir is a joke of an opener, and Younis is a pathetic no. 3.

  • Ayaz on October 3, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Yes i agree that the bowling line up is very balanced and almost perfect. But The Team Pakistan is far from being a perfect balance. Yes they always had their problems in opening and quite offen they collapse in middle too. But at the moment Younis Khan is the weekest link in pakistan batting and could well again be the main obsticle in winning those crucial battles in the middle overs. I believe a Semi-final of an ICC's major event is a too bigger stage for an unfit player. Even if he's captain, he should make room for a fit player and Afridi is not as bad as a captain either. Also its up to Muhammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik to convert a slow start into something substatial otherwise CALLS FOR YOUTH would sould more often than the past

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  • Ayaz on October 3, 2009, 7:26 GMT

    Yes i agree that the bowling line up is very balanced and almost perfect. But The Team Pakistan is far from being a perfect balance. Yes they always had their problems in opening and quite offen they collapse in middle too. But at the moment Younis Khan is the weekest link in pakistan batting and could well again be the main obsticle in winning those crucial battles in the middle overs. I believe a Semi-final of an ICC's major event is a too bigger stage for an unfit player. Even if he's captain, he should make room for a fit player and Afridi is not as bad as a captain either. Also its up to Muhammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik to convert a slow start into something substatial otherwise CALLS FOR YOUTH would sould more often than the past

  • waterbuffalo on October 3, 2009, 7:32 GMT

    The Kiwis have a very decent attack, we all know Bond, and the other guys are tall and will get the balls to lift and kick: personally I hope Pak bowls first and chases, because NZ has nothing to lose, they are playing , as usual, without any pressure at all. I want to see if Younis can score a 50. I am betting 100 US that he won't. But Yousuf will. That's another 100. If Pak bats first we could be all out for less than 150. Then the bowling does not matter. Imran Nazir is a joke of an opener, and Younis is a pathetic no. 3.

  • Arif Khan on October 3, 2009, 7:57 GMT

    It remains to be seen if Pakistan gets through to Finals by beating Newzealand today,if they do then we have a big game on hand,the cornered Tigers have all the ability & potential to humilate Ricky Ponting's XI in the final.....remember my words!

  • Mubashir on October 3, 2009, 8:03 GMT

    Talent was always there + variety but its younis ability to unite and make use of the talent with pin point accuracy most of the time.

  • Arif Aziz on October 3, 2009, 8:18 GMT

    Best of luck Pakistan. Hope our batsmen can manage decent score if we bat first.

  • Gulab on October 3, 2009, 8:25 GMT

    Yes u r correct we need effort in all part of the game if we want to go ahead. The bowling line is best but they should continue their good work. Also our fielding and batting should support. The pitch is difficult to play but our team must have to play their 50 overs to win the game. Inshaullah this time again our team will win i request all nation to pray. Thanks

  • Asif Rathod on October 3, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    This is very true, Pakistan bowling attach has everything, but still u can't predict how they are going to play. NZ also, has class bowlers like Bond and Vettori and they are also, able to running through any world class attack. I would say, the best batting team will win this match.

  • pak_girl on October 3, 2009, 8:36 GMT

    As soon as I read your title I went INSHALLAH! I mean, of course Pakistan can win this, butbutbut!! You NEVER know!! Especially with this team!! The uncertainty is killing me!!!!!!!!!!!

  • AK on October 3, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    It is sad that the cricketing world, that tried to isolate and eliminate Pakistan from the Cricket world, cannot digest Pakistan's success. I had a lot of respect for the KIWIs until today. Pakistan's winning is always attributed to ball tampering, in case Pakistan wins today, the credit will go to their ball tampering stunt. NZ has urged the umpires to keep an eye especially on Umar Gul because his performance against the Aussies was not appreciated. Get a life guys and let us play in peace.

  • adnan on October 3, 2009, 9:18 GMT

    we dnt need shoaib any mre he is not worth the trouble