Michael Jeh May 15, 2010

Australia's delusional self-belief

 
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When you come up against the sort of brilliance that Michael Hussey showed, there’s probably no shame in losing © AFP
 

Little did I realise, when I wrote my most recent piece a fortnight ago, that those words would ring true the very next time Pakistan played Australia. Last night’s amazing finish to the T20 semi-final just underscored that point. In the space of a few hours, Pakistan managed to turn severe underdog status (if you believed the bookmakers at the start of the game) into a savage assault on the hitherto unchallenged Australian bowling/fielding machine and then somehow managed to transform a comfortable victory into a nailbiting, spellbinding loss. In that recent article I said "You never quite know what to expect with Pakistan but you expect to be entertained, frustrated or bewitched at every twist and turn of the game.”

To be fair, on this occasion, one can hardly level much blame at the feet of Pakistan. Other than for their slight inability to bowl at the feet of Michael Hussey at the death, this was more a celebration of Australia’s greatness than any indictment of Pakistan. When you come up against the sort of brilliance that Hussey showed, there’s probably no shame in losing, although that’s probably little consolation to Pakistan’s massive fan base. I must admit though that reading some of the comments on the match bulletin, even the Pakistani fans seem to be philosophical and gracious about this freak result. It’s almost as if everyone who understands and loves cricket, can appreciate the enormity of what Australia achieved, under huge pressure, even if their bitter disappointment still hurts like a knife in the guts (if you’re a Pakistan supporter).

Can this really be the same two teams who played out a five wicket maiden on the same ground, with roughly the same batsmen at the crease, just two weeks ago? Last time around, Australia lost 6/12 in the last three overs. Last night, Australia scored 53 runs in those same three overs, losing just one wicket and with a ball to spare. I tried going back to sleep at 5 am after the conclusion of the game but it was a futile exercise. The adrenalin rush was just too much to allow a peaceful slumber. I kept marvelling at not just Australia’s phenomenal skill level but their amazing, unwavering, almost delusional self-belief. Brad Haddin was interviewed on the sidelines when the game was slipping away from Australia and he made a typically foolhardy statement along the lines of just waiting for the last four overs and then having a dash. Listening to that, with the rate at 15 rpo, I couldn’t help but think that he sounded like a sad politician, refusing to concede defeat until the last vote had been counted. But that’s the thing about Australia’s cricket culture – even at lower club levels, you very rarely hear anyone conceding defeat until the Fat Lady has sung every last note. It's an incredible part of the national psyche.

For Pakistan, the tournament has mirrored everything I said in my last article. They were pretty shabby against England and New Zealand, cornered tigers against South Africa, brilliant for most of last night and .....and....well, I can’t really describe the finish without doing sufficient justice to Hussey’s brilliance or doing an injustice to Pakistan. It was a game that did not deserve a loser.

I’ve watched just about every game of this tournament and a few things struck me. Firstly, I think the inability of bowlers to execute yorkers has never been poorer. Even allowing for some innovation by the batsmen, the amount of low full tosses dished up have been amazing for professional cricketers who presumably practice this skill every day of their lives. Too many of the death overs have seen full tosses deposited into the grandstand. It’s hard to believe that the various bowling coaches can claim any job satisfaction from these sort of outputs.

The other amazing thing is the self-belief of batsmen now. Aided by superior cricket bats, they simply hit sixes at will. Most of the 270 sixes have not just cleared the rope but have landed way back in the crowd. Guyana and St Lucia are relatively big grounds and even the sixes at Barbados cleared the rope with plenty to spare. This tournament, surprisingly, saw nowhere near the number of “scoop” shots that we saw in England last year. I suppose if Tillakaratne Dilshan and Brendon McCullum had made more runs, we might have seen more of them but on pitches that probably allowed for more of this type of innovation, I was surprised by the orthodoxy of the slogging, most of it down the ground or in slog corner.

Finally, I can’t readily think of any run-outs that saw both batsmen stranded at one end after a complete misunderstanding. Michael Lumb and Craig Kieswetter had a moment in the semi-final but Ajantha Mendis’ hard hands reprieved them, Misbah ul-Haq sacrificed himself in the last ball of Pakistan’s innings today and Shahid Afridi was a few metres short against England but none of the real game-changing mix-ups that you’d expect to see in 26 T20 games.

In fairness to all teams, this World Cup probably got what it deserved – the two best teams of this tournament, pitted against each other. They’re pretty evenly matched in all departments, England slightly stronger in spin bowling options, Australia shading it with genuine pace and athletic fielders with strong arms on both teams. In some senses, it will be a relatively fair contest in that the conditions are unlikely to massively favour one team over another, unlike the case if say India/Sri Lanka/Pakistan was playing Australia/England/South Africa where a bouncy or spin-friendly pitch might skew the odds one way or the other.

I wonder if the fact that England hasn’t really been pushed to the brink in this tournament will count against them if it gets tight? Or have Australia used up all their emotional energy last night? It’ll probably come down to a bit of luck and a bit of self-belief when it matters most. And if it comes down to that, with no disrespect to England’s impressive form, how can you back against Australia? I'm looking forward to one last midnight tryst. My six-year old son described me perfectly last week for his school assignment – asked to use the word ‘nocturnal’ in a wildlife talk, he preferred instead to say “when the cricket’s on from the West Indies, my dad becomes nocturnal”. Sad but true!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mohsin jamal on May 19, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    Correction to the previous comment: 'Pakistan' please pardon. thanks again Jeh... aussies are a purely professional team... no doubt.

  • mohsin jamal on May 18, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    brilliant show of cricket...! we are always be nocturnal, when Pakitan play, anywhere. the winner is cricket! thanks Jeh. appreciated.

  • Baber on May 17, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Nice article.Congratulation to England for their 7 wicket victory. And best of Luck for the AHES!

  • tahir almas on May 17, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    great match to watch ,well done both teams but there is psychological issue with Pakistani players , They never try to win match easily, give it more importance , become relax after some achievements that is why there is no history of consistency of match wins in Pakistan cricket history ,The cycle of Pakistan cricket team is achievement , relaxation , failure and then struggle

  • Shiyam Razak on May 17, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    Pakistan Batting & Bowling orders made the difference.

    well done Pakistan

  • Sunny Hashmi on May 16, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Yes, the only winner was "cricket"!! Good cricket by both the teams. Welldone Pakistan and Australia!

  • Mohsin on May 16, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Pakistan deserve to win in the semi-final but somehow Australia managed to overcome Pakistan. Only in the last 3 overs Pakistan bowl poorly which affect the outcome of the result otherwise game was very much in Pakistan's favour. Anyway well played Hussey and good luck for the final.

  • salman on May 16, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    an awsum match.. great to see pakistan in that mode... good for the future.. specially the youngsters...and truely no shame but the time to capitalize the issues where we go wrong..

  • SW Aussie on May 16, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    An Aussie, yes I am, and as such thrilled to see this amazing win and finish, both White and Hussey played remarkable innings, violent in impact yet stilll a degree of thought, placement and consideration.Stunning. However having seen the manner in which Pakistan self-destructed on their recent Australian tour, and I have never seen a less cohesive or less committed sporting team in my life, I am delighted to see the Pakistan team stepping up, competing, playing as a unit and having success, hopefully turning a corner. So many times Pakistan get to the brink of being a terrific team ( last T20 success), only to self-destruct via in-fighting, factions, and personal issues. This team has faced all that and in a short space of time turned it around and turned in a strong T20 "team" performance, and THAT is as good for the game as an innings like Hussey's. Here's to a great final, England, like Aust, full of newish faces, playing damned good cricket, should be a ripper . Go Aussies :-)

  • Amit on May 16, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    Brilliant article Michael...one of the best T20 matches ever...thats why Aussie won last 3 consecutive WCs...Pakistan played brilliantly...but with Hussey playing such an innings hardly anything could have been done...hats off 2 both teams

  • mohsin jamal on May 19, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    Correction to the previous comment: 'Pakistan' please pardon. thanks again Jeh... aussies are a purely professional team... no doubt.

  • mohsin jamal on May 18, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    brilliant show of cricket...! we are always be nocturnal, when Pakitan play, anywhere. the winner is cricket! thanks Jeh. appreciated.

  • Baber on May 17, 2010, 17:07 GMT

    Nice article.Congratulation to England for their 7 wicket victory. And best of Luck for the AHES!

  • tahir almas on May 17, 2010, 14:02 GMT

    great match to watch ,well done both teams but there is psychological issue with Pakistani players , They never try to win match easily, give it more importance , become relax after some achievements that is why there is no history of consistency of match wins in Pakistan cricket history ,The cycle of Pakistan cricket team is achievement , relaxation , failure and then struggle

  • Shiyam Razak on May 17, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    Pakistan Batting & Bowling orders made the difference.

    well done Pakistan

  • Sunny Hashmi on May 16, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    Yes, the only winner was "cricket"!! Good cricket by both the teams. Welldone Pakistan and Australia!

  • Mohsin on May 16, 2010, 15:18 GMT

    Pakistan deserve to win in the semi-final but somehow Australia managed to overcome Pakistan. Only in the last 3 overs Pakistan bowl poorly which affect the outcome of the result otherwise game was very much in Pakistan's favour. Anyway well played Hussey and good luck for the final.

  • salman on May 16, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    an awsum match.. great to see pakistan in that mode... good for the future.. specially the youngsters...and truely no shame but the time to capitalize the issues where we go wrong..

  • SW Aussie on May 16, 2010, 12:23 GMT

    An Aussie, yes I am, and as such thrilled to see this amazing win and finish, both White and Hussey played remarkable innings, violent in impact yet stilll a degree of thought, placement and consideration.Stunning. However having seen the manner in which Pakistan self-destructed on their recent Australian tour, and I have never seen a less cohesive or less committed sporting team in my life, I am delighted to see the Pakistan team stepping up, competing, playing as a unit and having success, hopefully turning a corner. So many times Pakistan get to the brink of being a terrific team ( last T20 success), only to self-destruct via in-fighting, factions, and personal issues. This team has faced all that and in a short space of time turned it around and turned in a strong T20 "team" performance, and THAT is as good for the game as an innings like Hussey's. Here's to a great final, England, like Aust, full of newish faces, playing damned good cricket, should be a ripper . Go Aussies :-)

  • Amit on May 16, 2010, 11:13 GMT

    Brilliant article Michael...one of the best T20 matches ever...thats why Aussie won last 3 consecutive WCs...Pakistan played brilliantly...but with Hussey playing such an innings hardly anything could have been done...hats off 2 both teams

  • GRT PAKI on May 16, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    Hey Ram, come on, see the facts. T20 2007 "India Won" (Pak in finals). T20 2009 "Pakistan Won", Champions tropy 2009 "Pak in semis". T20 2010 (Pak in semis). All the world is saying Pak played well (check cricinfo etc). You are the only one. Lets accept this, Indians are chokers and since the end of 2007 it has provded likewise. Stop choking and praise those who deserve it.

  • Abu Faissal on May 16, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    Wonderful article Jeh. No one can deny Australia's superamcy in all three formats of cricket, BUT in this semi final they were nowhere supreme. Until the last three overs Pakistan was ruling the game, both in batting and bowling that showed in the body language. They looked rattled and showed disbelief in what was happening. And in the last three overs, it was just not the self belief of Hussey, it was more of lack of good captaincy and direction on Afridi's part. Captaincy is not about big or small scroes, it is all about the frame of mind and expertise to handle the situation. During last three overs the bowlers bowled without a plan, or any instructions from the captain. To let the opponent score 55 runs in three overs, in any format of the game, shows there was no planning in the captain's mind and he was taking it for granted Pak would win the game no matter how bowlers bowled. Ausralia did not win, Pak lost the game because of poor captaincy. Does Pak really have a bowling coach?

  • Umer on May 16, 2010, 8:59 GMT

    it was an good cricket match, pakistan lost because they dont have enough self believe like australian plays do have, Micheal Hussy is very strong on leg side, then why to bowl on middle and leg side? .. for me , it wasn't a pakistan day . but i do believe one thing , a close game like against aussie and the one against Black Cat's , its show the real spirit for Pakistan .. and future is bright for Pakistan .

  • Muhammad S. Abdul Rahman on May 16, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat and vice versa for Pakistani side . All said and done but the defending champs panicked a bit towards the end and could not give the well-fought game a logical end. The captain, coach other advisers should have come to the fore before bowling the last over to tell Saeed Ajmal where to bowl so that Hussey does not get a free hand. Anybody who knows a little cricket would know what to do in such conditions. Ajmal wilted under the pressure, and clueless about the proceedings bowled where he did and was hit for sixes in the last over to lose the match for Pakistan. Waqar Younas is always sitting on his butt whereas he should be moving around to send advise to his boys inside.At least that is what the coach must be doing.You have to make things happen and not wait for things to happen. Afridi despite his fervour was in a state of awe in the last over. After being hit once he should have run to the bowler to tell him where exactly to bowl. But alas!

  • Zee on May 16, 2010, 7:02 GMT

    I am surprised at the response from Indian readers on this article, PAK an ordinary side, cmon RAM.. the ordinary side is sitting home without winning a single match in the super 8s. Its very nice to play at home in your on league, it takes gutts to play at world level. Dont take your furustrations out on the wrong team...

  • Paki on May 16, 2010, 4:59 GMT

    with ref. to RAM comments... I thik you are just a jealous person alone.. come out of jealousness and accept the truth.

  • sriram on May 16, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    I think its the replica of the 99 World Cup Semi Final in this format of the game and will not be surprsied to see them dominate and win hattrick of ICC World Twenty20's :)..

  • farhan mirza on May 16, 2010, 4:40 GMT

    Australia was way to lucky in semi. I am orginally indian but I think pakistan is the best team I have ever seen in my life. Ammir was great (another waseem akram).our indian team is the worst team in whole icc

  • Vikram on May 16, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    While the finals has done justice to the teams, I still feel that the best 4 teams were not semi-finalists. India, Sri Lanka, and West Indies were equally ordinary, but Sri Lanka still managed to make it to the semi-finals, which predictably was a dull ritual. On the other hand, New Zealand were left out because they happened to be in the same pool as England and Pakistan. It would have been terrific if New Zealand had taken Sri Lanka's place in the semi-finals, because they are scrapers, and never give up. Pakistan can turn it on when it matters, like they showed, Australia are on course, and then there is the surprise package.... and the finals is between Australia and the World XI.

  • Mac on May 16, 2010, 3:33 GMT

    Hi Michael, being an Indian fan, I can only wistfully compare the Australian team's attitude to Dhoni's before India's crucial game against Sri Lanka. In spite of the requirement to qualify being to win by a mere 20 runs, or chase 150 in 17 overs, he was considering it as a consolation game and already talking about flying back to India after the game. The Indian superstars can learn a lot by looking at the spirit of their Australian counterparts and the results it produces.

  • real_rajput on May 16, 2010, 3:26 GMT

    ya..pakistan played well..but onky batting ,,,

    secondly..they won 2 games lost 3 and still reached semis..windies,,won 3 lost 2 still out..

    pakistan always have lukk..last time they also had wen they won..again in 1992..they had enormous lukk...sopakis stop cribbing..u didnt deserved to be in semis..and clarke gifted u by batting second..if aussies wud have batted first and even scored 130..they wud have crushed paki easily bu 30 runs or more...

    come on a great final....

  • andrew schulz on May 16, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    England haven't been tested? They didn't win a game in the first round, and scraped home very fortunately against New Zealand. Australia have only had one remotely close game. Of the two sides, surely you would have to say Australia have been less tested. As for Pakistan playing like cornered tigers: they batted pathetically against SA, and were simply fortunate to play one of the two great chokers of world cricket at this stage of the tournament. Noone could give Pakistan any credit for making the semi-finals-they were simply fortunate to do so.

  • Patrick A on May 16, 2010, 2:37 GMT

    “when the cricket’s on from the West Indies, my dad becomes nocturnal”

    LOL!

  • Chris Owen on May 16, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    Both team played really good. But who win? we win! aussie aussie aussie oye oye oye! Good Luck for final!

  • Argyle Catwell on May 16, 2010, 2:27 GMT

    A superb performance from the world's greatest cricket nation. They have proven in Tests and ODI's that given any quarter they have to ability to dismiss any opposition. Now that they have taken T20's seriously the attitiude is the same and I am sure that they will dominate this format also and set standards that all other will have to try to emulate. As a West Indian I wish that our authorities would stop and take a look and realize that there is more to molding a winning team than talking about lack of commitment on the part of the players and realize that they is a serious structural and societal deficiency that need addressing. In my view talent is only 20 percent of what it takes to succeed. Our players have unmatched talent that is in need of harnessing to ever rise above this current level.Criticisms by administrators, commentators and fans have been going on for the past twenty years and nothing has improved. It has only gotten progressively worst.

  • tj on May 16, 2010, 1:47 GMT

    all the ppl who thoght pak dint desrv to b in the semis hahah in their face..pk wr fearless in front of the best bowlng attck thy hd almost clinched vctry nd dominated 38 out of 40 overs no1 thoght aussies wud win.. P.S. i stl beliv had the last ovr been givn to amir we wud hav won..bt wel plyd huss..cngrts pk team though..we did dsrv to b in the semis

  • Saeed on May 16, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    Both Pakistan and Australia put on a marvellous show, and while I rue the absence of Umar Gul it is by no way fair to mention as Australia can also make similar claims. Hussey was unbelievable, best T20 innings. Ajmal did not bowl so well but who would know because many of us thought he would dominate the Aussies. I must concede that it was in our favour to get so far in the tournament with only two wins, we were really handed a lifeline and thus gave it our all; one cant ignore the phenomenon of 'we had nothing to lose'. So well done Australia.

  • Andy on May 16, 2010, 0:05 GMT

    I just want to congratulate the Pakistan cricket team! After all the turmoil they have gone through in recent times, they managed to come out and play with commitment and spirit and push Australia all the way. As an Australian I'm happy about the result, but do appreciate the fight Pakistan put up. Pakistan fans - you can be proud of your team. what a great game of cricket!

  • Mazhar Rafi on May 15, 2010, 23:48 GMT

    Yesterday was one game, loosing against Aussies, I have not felt down, as much as I usually do, when Pakistan looses a game, specially a Semi Final game. Credit to Australia and Michael Hussey who happens to be one of favorites, except that his recent performances, some in Pakistan's last visit to Australia and the one last night are making me review, since he makes no distinctions while performing against any team; too bad it was Pakistan who faced those historical innings from him. Pakistan has made me proud in yesterday's game and Akmal brothers really stand out more often then not. Hats off to both Akmal brothers' performance yesterday.

  • Hameed Malik on May 15, 2010, 23:27 GMT

    Australia was completely taken apart by Pakistan in the swmi final as Pakistan was much superior to Australia. It was Hussy blind swinging in frustration saved Austrlia. Don't forget Afridi's mistake for not using fast bowler in the last over. Remeber it was Pakistan "B" team. Most of the big names did not even play due to band. Also when Pakistan played last over they hardly applied themself otherwise score would be record over 200 plus. Australia was no challenge for Pakistan. Pakistan defeated themselves like they do that themselves very often.

  • spinoza on May 15, 2010, 23:26 GMT

    The author uses the word 'enormity' erroneously - he should instead use the word 'enormousness'. 'Enormity' means heinous. Here is what OED has to say:

    enormity

    • noun (pl. enormities) 1 (the enormity of) the extreme seriousness or extent of (something bad). 2 great size or scale: the enormity of Einstein’s intellect. 3 a grave crime or sin.

    — USAGE Enormity is not related to enormous and originally meant ‘a crime or deviation from morality’. For this reason some people object to its use in modern English as a synonym for hugeness

  • Umair on May 15, 2010, 23:05 GMT

    Hats off to Micheal Hussey, he played a gem of an inning to secure victory for Austalia.It was an unbelievable knock.This inning of Micheal Hussey will go down as one of the greatest inning in the history of world cricket.It was totally out of this world. I am a PAkistani, but i would say that Australia deserved to win this match, Pakistan is nothing as compared to Australia. Australia has proven once again that they are the true champions.

  • Malik on May 15, 2010, 21:45 GMT

    I still think Afridi shouldn't have bowled the 16th over. Australians were playing really well and against spin cameron and hussey were smoothly sailing. 16th Over changed the game in my opinion rather than the last one. Aamir could have done some magic to send hussey home when he was still warming up. Australians were professional and determined, but they had to work hard for their runs and that is what matters. Well played both sides. At least we scored sixes of short balls and that is a clear message to some of the teams how to play with passion and with no fear of what so ever. Cricket flows through our blood, we have produced kings of cricket, we have produced extremely mesmerizing games, we have demolished teams who were just too good for us. All credit goes to Australia, their determination and their courage to fight till the last ball. But we should look on the positive side and figure out why hussey was shivering at the post-match presentation even after winning a huge game

  • rai hassan on May 15, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    i think thit match was one of the best match i have seen after the match of Aus vs SOUTH AFRICA IN WHICH SOUTH AFRICA CHASED 434.A good game of cricket.good performances from both side but it was a not a pakistan day so we lost.AUS showed their capibilty that they are the champion.Every member knows his responsibilty and it was proved in this world cup as many matches wre won single handedly .In the end i would say that pakistAN IS THE TEAM WHICH CAN DO ANYTHING AND THEY WILL DO IN FUTURE INSHALLAH.

  • Syed Arbab Ahmed on May 15, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    Hussey made us lost a test match as well, he was playing all his shots on the leg side except 1 boundary, and pakistanis were bowling him from over the wicket hence ball was coming to him and he was easily playing on the leg side. Alas!!!

    ohhhhhhhh my Allah!!! this picture is heart breakning, to see the bowler of the tournament had such an Anti-Climax, this game is cruel; sometimes.

  • wali on May 15, 2010, 21:04 GMT

    i agree with u all, when the game was finished i started crying but in the end this semi was worth watching enough yesterday was the game by the champions defending for their title hats off to pak and aussies the way they both had given all of efforts ;)

  • Gal on May 15, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    I would like to add that Australia are my new favourite team.

    Even though i am Pakistani I really respect them because of this match. Australia showed they never give up, never lose faith, and they are super champions. Now my two teams i support are Pak and Australia--Pak because im pakistani, and Aussies because they DESERVE RESPECT!! They have been unbeaten so far and they are inspiring and a wonderful team!

  • Ram on May 15, 2010, 20:29 GMT

    You know, I am sick of hearing and reading that Oh, Pakistan this.. Pakistan that.. U never know with Pakistan.. They r unpredictable. I mean, they are just a very very ordinary side. They r unpredicatble in what? 1 day they lose 100 runs and the next day they lose by 95 runs. I mean, it is just over hyped up. They are a bunch of losers like any other side. Stop writing about the Mercurial Pakistan side.. That's done and dusted. When Miandad was there, yeah. maybe, a little bit BUT U know, they are just losers and stop praising them..

  • Asim on May 15, 2010, 20:01 GMT

    Indeed cricket is the winner...I loved this article..Pakistan were lucky to reach semis but they put up a great fight and just could not finish it...Umar gul had been instrumental with his toe crushing yorkers and he was dearly missed

  • adil bhuta on May 15, 2010, 19:48 GMT

    i m stil in shok.bt i know dis loss il make us more strong.IA.v accept our defeat,bt let me make it clear 2 da ausies,v r more dangeorus dan ever.n v il b da team who is gona bring u down.IA.i just want our board 2 play our strength vich iz our Pace attak.Plz bring bak Shoaib Akhtar 4 upcoming australia series.its nt about criket anymore.v have 2 show da world dat australian team is not invincible.it is more dan india pak rivalary now.v have shown just a glimpse of our abilities last night by making da ausies biting dair nails 4 39 overs of da match,considering v vere clear underdogs.MY mesage 2 every Pakistani fan is 2 stand up n suport our team.coz day deserve it.stil alot of criket coming up n v il get our revenge.IA. BEWARE AUSIES,V R COMING.

  • Syed on May 15, 2010, 19:18 GMT

    It is all percentage game. If pakistan continues to put up fights like this pretty soon their win percentage will start going up in every form of the game. Overall I agree with one of the writer above that pakistan played slightly better than Australia yesterday as a team, but for Hussey!! Australia just kept themselves at some striking distance to try their luck in the end.

  • Ibrahim Bilal on May 15, 2010, 18:31 GMT

    Spot on Mike! there are no losers here... As a Pakistani fan, I can watch that match a hundred times except for the last over... None of the current T20 teams are in the kind of form to beat Australia, it took only the unpredictability of Pak to halt this juggernaut... and thats not it, it only took the mighty Australians to defy this unpredictability... AUS and PAK! take a bow! Cricket owe so much to you guys

  • Gal on May 15, 2010, 18:28 GMT

    I was reading through the comments here and someone wrote "Afridi did the best he could with meager resources." This is very true. I agree 100%.. I hope there are no idiots in Pakistan hating on him, because the truth is -Many bans based on the whims of PCB Head Ijaz the Evil -Gul was injured -Tanvir was recovering or not chosen -Mohammad Irfan {both Afridi and Waqar's top choice} was rejected by Ijaz Butt the Evil -Aamer seemed unable to bowl to Hussey -Same goes for Razzaq -That's why Ajmal was chosen. So all I ask is that nobody pour blame on Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, or any one person. Nobody is to be blamed. This match is a lesson for all Pakistanis to make the most of a defeat. Our team played with honour.

  • Chandrasekaran TA on May 15, 2010, 17:56 GMT

    WOW! What an effort! Unbelievable! I was supportive to Australia from the first ball for they deserve to be in the Finals. The way they displayed the courage and positive approach, I laud them. They are, truely, THE world champions. I felt Pakistan played well in semis but no one should forget they are lucky enough to be qualified to play Semis. Pak gave everything in this match to win but Husssey's effort showed them that their entire collection of effort is nothing in front of him. He was awesome and this innings will be remembered long time to come. End of the day, Cricket is the winner.

  • Rob Anderson on May 15, 2010, 17:55 GMT

    Only Australia and England deserved to be final so it was a perfect result. Pakistan are very ordinary side with some very ordinary bits and pieces cricketers as it can be seen from their performance against australia this year. However nothing should be taken away from Ausies, they are simply the best.

  • Murtaza on May 15, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    I'm a Pakistani and apart from congratulating Hussey and Autralia for their undeniable greatness, the main thing i want to say is that I am extremely happy to see that this is probably the first time in my 23 years of watching pakistani cricket that most of my usually over-emotional countrymen are not blaming Pakistan for their loss! That I think tells more about Hussey's brilliance than ANYTHING else!! For the first time the average man on the street can be seen accepting that our team played as well as they could but the opposition just came up with something freakishly brilliant! Has any other Pakistani here noticed this? :)

  • quratul ain on May 15, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    excellently put " this match didnt deserve a loser"

    this match is exactly what you cricket for, it had every ingredient just right. tough challenge, competing teams and a bit of luck factor in the end. pakistani fans are not disappointed in their team effort whn they fight we are always there to support them in their loss. but yea I DO WANT TO SEE BRITS WIN TOMOROW!! THEY BETTER!!!

  • Ahmed mustafa on May 15, 2010, 16:59 GMT

    i dont believe any team lost yesterday. if you read in the newspaper that Australia won, its just the result. Actually the real spirit of Cricket won yesterday.

  • Philby on May 15, 2010, 16:52 GMT

    Hussey's innings was just one of those freakish things, and I agree with others here that Pakistan played some great cricket, so well done to them. Hoping now that we can still be 'up' for the final against England. Go Aussies!

  • faisal on May 15, 2010, 16:50 GMT

    It has been a decade that pakistan can't win any test against aussies,at sydney I thought they were going to break that.I woke up at 4 and for next two hours I had seen a miracle produced by hussey.From that moment I start to believe this man can do anything(even I do believe if ponting didn't ran himself out,then the ashes would be aussie's coz at that day hussey was not going to get out). I love this guy,he always walk into the crease like a fighter,like a man with a cause.The reason why australia is so strong is that they have always some man who can do the damage control.Border did that, then there was waugh(snr),bevan made this duty at ODI to another level,then from nowhere symonds took the responsibility,now there is hussey and white is learning this stuff from him. I simply say, they are amazing. Again, about pakistan, they are the argentina of cricket, without them cricket will look colorless.

  • Najm Faqir on May 15, 2010, 16:49 GMT

    "It was a game that did not deserve a loser" Great line, well said :)

  • sherry from USA on May 15, 2010, 16:43 GMT

    We all sad after the great batting from pakistan openers, I think australia were just lucky and it was husseys day. Please fellows stop blaming ajmal he did great job and we all now he is a match winner. He tried his best and because of ajmal pak won last year world cup and quaified for semi again australia. Proud to be pakistani and we are the strongest tea who gave hard time to australia after india and sri lanka got rapped by them. I am sure pak will beat australia in july. Hussey is a test player and it was his day other then that long live ajmal long live pakistan.

  • Bahadur Khan on May 15, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    I totally agree with Mr.Michael that this match did not deserve a loser!!

  • Shabut on May 15, 2010, 15:40 GMT

    You are absolutely right, the very first thing I thought of after the match was your article about Pak team just few days ago. One would say that Pakistan is inconsistent but ironically they have been very consistent in challenging and even defeating the very best on a given day. If not sure about that then just go back and look at the 1992 worldcup where undefeated NZ was toppled by Pak in the semis, undefeated SA was stopped in the semis last year, and now almost stopping an undefeated Australia from progressing. There are many incidents like this in the past.

  • Dr Athar Abbas on May 15, 2010, 14:38 GMT

    There are no doubts about the Australian achievement on the day. I would add that it was in fact an even more unbelievable fight from Pakistani side. Despite senseless bans on the top players reducing the team to a second string, absence of the world's top fast bowler Umar Gul and the absence of any fast bowling attack whatsoever. Mr. Butt, the chairman sent a batsman and a spinner in place of two unfit fast bowlers. It made pakistan play with practically one fast bowler in the team. Not having a balanced fast bowling attack for a nation, where one can find half a dozen 130kph+ bowlers in every little town, is purely criminal. MR. CHAIRMAN, can you still face the nation an justify your actions after your egoistic dictatorial senseless decisions, made us lose again. Hats off to Akmal brothers and Salman Butt, they made us never feel the absence of the star batsmen. I salute the entire playing 11, they gave their hearts out.

  • Waseem Sajid on May 15, 2010, 14:30 GMT

    Hussey was just amazing...He is real Mr. Cricket. I had seen such innings 1st time in my life.

  • Saif- Dublin ireland on May 15, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    Congrats to aussie fans!What a great game of cricket, Being a Pakistani feel sorry for the pak fans but full of praise for 'The Inning Of The Tournament' by 'Mr Cricket'. It tought us dat you should never underestimate that player like Hussey cant be a match winner in this short format of the game. Best of luck to the both finalists hopefully will be witnessed another Thriller on Sunday.

  • tinker on May 15, 2010, 14:13 GMT

    England haven't been pushed?

    The west indies belted the heck out of them before the rain in the early match.

  • Areeb Ali on May 15, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Hi...Im a Pakistani Fan... and i have some reservations about the title...

    That how can you say about the self belief of Aussies in this match?

    Even the Aussie Captain was unsure of his victory in this match, till the last 2 or 3 overs.

    Means Pakistan completely dominated over the game and Minds of the strong Australians and destroyed the strongest bowling line-up of the tournament.

    This is the second highest score in this world cup, so we have to give credit to Pakistani batting also,which is considered to be vulnerable.

    Thank you

  • Rob on May 15, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    You just don't get us. We have the colonial self sufficiency toughness of South Africans coupled with a British stubborn belief that we can make the other man break before we will.

    We have the best of British and the best of south African, too bad for the rest of you!

  • Danyal Rasool on May 15, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    I'm a Pakistani and still struggling to come to terms with this gut-wrenching loss.I won't take away anything from freakish Mr.Cricket, but as a team effort,I thought we were a little better. But you are right in saying that the best two teams are in the final. It is quite easily the best T20 match ever played, in my opinion. Hussey was in typical Michael Bevan form, although I'd have liked to see Ajmal bowl to him five deliveries like the one he bowled to Johnson on the first one. Great match though. Cricket was the winner.

  • Jawad Mir on May 15, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Despite Pakistan posting that mammoth total and Australia chasing it I kept telling myself & others that Australia will win it. But with last over, I thought Pakistan had it. And even after 1st six, I thought Pakistan was going to win it but with brilliant Hussey Display and that boundary, I knew it was all but over and just couldn't believe it. I don't blame anyone in Pakistani team. They did their utter best and to me if any team does that, they have won despite losing. I will be very upset if Pakistani fans back home and abroad claim that match was fixed because Afridi's men gave everything they had. I am still in state of shock and despite Australia beating us, I want them to win the world cup and have a strong feeling that England will be thrased tomorrow but best of luck.

    This tournament has had 3 nail bitting games two of them involved Pakistan and unfortunately we lost both but that's Cricket.

  • atif munawar mir on May 15, 2010, 13:50 GMT

    I had read your last article in which you had rightly said that when Pakistan plays "you expect to be entertained, frustrated or bewitched at every twist and turn of the game". Yesterday, I felt entertained and bewitched but not frustrated. I did feel slightly sad but that was natural. Ian Chappel or one of the other commentators described it the best, Pakistan did not lose but Australia won. When Cameron White hit the full toss into the hands of Hafeez, I felt that the Pakistani victory was nigh but Hussey was brilliant. I do believe that yesterday defeat instead of leaving psychological scars will boost the self-beliefs of Pakistani team. I hope that this match will add to Saeed Ajmal's experience without taking anything from his confidence.

  • Nasir Mehmood on May 15, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    What Pakistan lacked was fast bowlers who could bowl the death overs with Aamir. Spin attack has been used many a times by countries who run out of fast bowlers but it has never lasted for long except for a few good matches. Moreover, Pakitan did not play at all like world champions this time around and a win would not have done justice to the game of cricket and to Australia who are pure professionals. Pakistani players lack fitness, there body language has never been positive, they lack a good leadership ever since Imran Khan left the team. There is a huge difference between talent and leadership, Afridi lacked both this time. "Boys" need to hit the gym and some classes if they want to make a difference, otherwise its not fair to all those who are left out during selection in a country which has a lot of talent which goes to waste.

  • ZKN on May 15, 2010, 13:41 GMT

    First of all, this is one of the better pieces of writing iv come across at cricinfo in some while, so kudos to you Mr, Michael.As for the game, simply put, like any other Pakistan fan, im still in a state of shock! it probably doesnt even hurt as much as loosing to the kiwis on the last ball, because none of us really saw it coming.With the way results went our way, and specially after the sort of bludgeoning display by akmals, winning this championship for a second time running felt like mere destiny. 15 overs into the Australian innings, as a cricket enthusiast one felt that it was only God's hand that could save the aussies, and overturn their stifling juggernaut against Pakistan; and indeed a godlike hand was from Mr. Cricket.I think immediately after the match, perhaps the opinion was that maybe the order in which ajmal and amir bowled was wrong, and that the last over was always amirs. In retrospect, wouldnt have made a difference for hussey played the best T20 knock ever:0

  • VIMAL KUMAR SINGH on May 15, 2010, 13:37 GMT

    I THINK BOTH PAKISTAN AND AUSTRALIA PLAYED REALLY WELL . AS AN INDIAN I THINK THIS IS A PERFECT MATCH TO B PLAYED IN SEMIFINAL OF A WORLD CUP .I THINK WE SHOULD GIVE THANK BOTH TEAMS FOR PUTTING UP A MEGA SHOW JUST BEFORE THE CLIMAX.AKMAL BROTHERS AAMER WHITE AND HUSSEY DELIVER THE PERFORMANCE THAT EVERY CRICKETER DREAMED TO GIVE IN MATCH OF THEIR CAREER

  • inty on May 15, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    "Like a knife through the guts". You got that right! But the genius of hussey shone bright last night! Last night was an example of why it's important to support Pakistan through these times.

  • Ali Hassan on May 15, 2010, 13:27 GMT

    nice article- Pakistan fought till last- we the fans have no complain- we beleive in our champions...They just donated the match to aussies

  • Nain tara on May 15, 2010, 13:12 GMT

    YEAH...v r soooo upset ..being pakistani fanz...its just sooo unbelievable...how cud dis hapn....duno wot went rong....but v still r proud fanz...n I thnk v r da only team who gav such hard time to Professional aussies wiv such a weak team...no umer gul..n many otha stars....But v luv our team.. :)

  • Rahul on May 15, 2010, 12:20 GMT

    Nice article! IT was a match which has not pumped me up this much, I dare say, even for an India match. As for the nocturnal thing, you have enough company especially from the subcontinent, if there is International cricket going on!

  • sameen on May 15, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Great Game of cricket , I wish Ammer and Ajmal could bowl at hussy off stamp and i wish waqar/afridi could send a message to do so . but overall , well Done pakistan

  • sean of adelaide on May 15, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    more evidence of the greatness of this game. the strange experience of hubris being rewarded to a team that is actually quite structurally humble. as if Troy had been successfully defended by Hector and Achilles returned home dazed but satisfied.

  • Clarus on May 15, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    A glorious game of cricket. I must say despite you see pakistan as having lost 4 games and just won 2 but if you look keenly they have just lost 3 games virtually on 1 or 2 balls to spare at most. Highly unlucky for them. Ideally I would have liked to see an Aus vs Pak Final but mini Ashes is not bad option either. Aus remains the favourite

  • adnan on May 15, 2010, 11:45 GMT

    amen michael.. being a pakistani.. i have no shame in going down like that though i do feel that pakistan get to the finish line and just keep falling a wee bit short far too often for my liking.. but yeh it would be fair to say we did give the aussies a run for their money.. all credit to them

  • mislam on May 15, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    Well, the batsmen at the last 3 overs did an outstanding job, no question. But the fact remain is this; australian bowler gave 7 runs to pakistan at the last over and Pakistan gave 18 runs at the last over. So, to me it is the Bowler at the last 2 overs that decided the game. I would say any ordinary team Like Bangladesh even did not give 18 runs to Australia in the last over. Pakistan plays with momentum not with brain. If they had some brain with the bowlers or with the Captain, they would have won the match against a much better team and that did not happen.

  • shahzad yaqoob on May 15, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    well only if we had Umer Gul available and playing it would have been a different result for sure.... becaz you cant really hit many on his deadly yorkers... but fortunately for Australia and Unfortunately for Pakistan he was injured... anywayz well played Australia and better luck next time Pakistan!

  • dicare on May 15, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    It was an unbelievable knock from Hussey and another fine one from White. However,it also happened to be Hussey's day and Pakistan helped by keeping the spinner for the last over. He should have bowled the 19th, Ameer the last..or even Razzak the last over(even though he was taken for runs in his first two).It looked to me like the Jadeja mistake made repeatedly by the 'brilliant' Dhoni..Being no pakistan fan I am not gutted by this but I am amazed by how these teams manage to contribute to the 'Aussie self belief' by doing silly things...Looking back at the Pakistan batting, they wasted the 20th over as well..falling at least 6 runs short. But nevertheless, the two deserving teams are in the final, ann I hope Hussey and Co have used up all their luck...!

  • Mohammed Tariq Sardar Riyadh-KSA on May 15, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    I agree with your assessment. Once of the best matches of the tournament, everyone was spellbound. Pakistan fans are disappointed but not bitter, their team put up a fight and stretched the Australia to it's limit. Afridi did the best he could with meager resources. I thought i was watching the repeat of the 2nd test match between Australia & Pakistan. Credit to Australia for rebuilding a young energetic team and showing their champions qualities. Amazing, how Pakistan was involved in two of the best matches in this tournament, and came 2nd both time. My thoughts on Pak cricket, we need to put our house in order, get rid of the dead wood and rebuild a team which has fighting qualities. For other cricketing nations, lend Pakistan cricket a helping hand during it's dark days if you want to be thrilled.

  • ZAHID MALIK on May 15, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    i really agree with you that self beilf of australian batsmans are the difference between two teams but Pakistani bowlers bowled very poorly in last tree overs.Saeed ajmal did not bowl hussy on his feets and bowled short and gave hussy space 2 hit for sixes.this is the only mistake pakistan did.australia deseved win as they showed that they r best side of the world cup. Pakistan showed also that they have the talent they r good twenty twenty side and can be dangerious against any team.

  • mahmood on May 15, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Well said Michael. Twice in a row.Great match. I am happy for the part Pakistan paid and enjoyed the way Hussey thrilled us. We are proud of our team as long as they stand up and fight. Fight they definitely. Brilliant displays like one seen from Hussey are rare but something that you can do nothing about. Please let's not underestimate ajmal here but Hussey guessed his variations right everytime and treated it to perfection. Hussey reinforces his status as a truly exceptional cricketer...

  • Cris Lopez from the Bronx on May 15, 2010, 10:54 GMT

    Hats off to Australia and Mike Hussey, as a Pakistan fan I am bitterly dissapointed with this defeat, but must admire the mental fortitude and never say die attitude of the aussies. They have a true champions mentality, if only our side could adopt some of those virtues, with our natural talent we would be world beaters. I must add that if Pak had Umar Gul at this tournament to deliver his toe crushers at the end I do think we would be seeing a Eng V Pak final.

  • Boris on May 15, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    Honestly, if Australia show the kind of spirit they did against Pakistan and tighten up in some key areas, there really will be no stopping them. They will undoubtedly be on a high after that marvellous victory and as Michael correctly pointed out, it is so depictive of the 'never say die' spirit which really distinguishes Australia from the rest and leads to performances like these which, as unfortunate as it may sound, no other team seems capable of emulating at present. England have been comprehensive in most of their performances but what really will be testing is if the game goes down to the wire and/or if their top order does not fire. Australia have maintained an unbeaten run by being calm, collected and thoughtful in both those situations to turn games in their favour. It will be an enthralling contest though. Michael, I must say that your last article encapsulated Pakistan perfectly. It must be heart wrenching for fans to see them go down but they could not seize key moments.

  • David on May 15, 2010, 10:50 GMT

    Is this unwillingness to give up until the fat lady has sung the very last note the reason why snooker is such an English sport, which an Australian conquered for only the second time in history this year? Is it because I'm an Australian that I just can't bear conceding a frame, when if I just manage to snooker my opponent often enough, I should be able to claw back the 20 point deficit I have on the remaining balls on the table? Because after all, that's precisely what Hussey did in another context last night. Which doesn't bode well for the English on Sunday ...

  • Hasan on May 15, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Excellent article Jeh. Pakistani fans are disappointed after loss but at the same time they are happy that the team performed very well. One team has to loose and it was Pak yesterday but overall the game was excellent and i really enjoyed it. I think Australia deserved this victory but Pakistan has got the momentum now and InshaAllah they will perform better in future. Good Luck Team Pakistan and well played Australia

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  • Hasan on May 15, 2010, 10:44 GMT

    Excellent article Jeh. Pakistani fans are disappointed after loss but at the same time they are happy that the team performed very well. One team has to loose and it was Pak yesterday but overall the game was excellent and i really enjoyed it. I think Australia deserved this victory but Pakistan has got the momentum now and InshaAllah they will perform better in future. Good Luck Team Pakistan and well played Australia

  • David on May 15, 2010, 10:50 GMT

    Is this unwillingness to give up until the fat lady has sung the very last note the reason why snooker is such an English sport, which an Australian conquered for only the second time in history this year? Is it because I'm an Australian that I just can't bear conceding a frame, when if I just manage to snooker my opponent often enough, I should be able to claw back the 20 point deficit I have on the remaining balls on the table? Because after all, that's precisely what Hussey did in another context last night. Which doesn't bode well for the English on Sunday ...

  • Boris on May 15, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    Honestly, if Australia show the kind of spirit they did against Pakistan and tighten up in some key areas, there really will be no stopping them. They will undoubtedly be on a high after that marvellous victory and as Michael correctly pointed out, it is so depictive of the 'never say die' spirit which really distinguishes Australia from the rest and leads to performances like these which, as unfortunate as it may sound, no other team seems capable of emulating at present. England have been comprehensive in most of their performances but what really will be testing is if the game goes down to the wire and/or if their top order does not fire. Australia have maintained an unbeaten run by being calm, collected and thoughtful in both those situations to turn games in their favour. It will be an enthralling contest though. Michael, I must say that your last article encapsulated Pakistan perfectly. It must be heart wrenching for fans to see them go down but they could not seize key moments.

  • Cris Lopez from the Bronx on May 15, 2010, 10:54 GMT

    Hats off to Australia and Mike Hussey, as a Pakistan fan I am bitterly dissapointed with this defeat, but must admire the mental fortitude and never say die attitude of the aussies. They have a true champions mentality, if only our side could adopt some of those virtues, with our natural talent we would be world beaters. I must add that if Pak had Umar Gul at this tournament to deliver his toe crushers at the end I do think we would be seeing a Eng V Pak final.

  • mahmood on May 15, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    Well said Michael. Twice in a row.Great match. I am happy for the part Pakistan paid and enjoyed the way Hussey thrilled us. We are proud of our team as long as they stand up and fight. Fight they definitely. Brilliant displays like one seen from Hussey are rare but something that you can do nothing about. Please let's not underestimate ajmal here but Hussey guessed his variations right everytime and treated it to perfection. Hussey reinforces his status as a truly exceptional cricketer...

  • ZAHID MALIK on May 15, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    i really agree with you that self beilf of australian batsmans are the difference between two teams but Pakistani bowlers bowled very poorly in last tree overs.Saeed ajmal did not bowl hussy on his feets and bowled short and gave hussy space 2 hit for sixes.this is the only mistake pakistan did.australia deseved win as they showed that they r best side of the world cup. Pakistan showed also that they have the talent they r good twenty twenty side and can be dangerious against any team.

  • Mohammed Tariq Sardar Riyadh-KSA on May 15, 2010, 11:19 GMT

    I agree with your assessment. Once of the best matches of the tournament, everyone was spellbound. Pakistan fans are disappointed but not bitter, their team put up a fight and stretched the Australia to it's limit. Afridi did the best he could with meager resources. I thought i was watching the repeat of the 2nd test match between Australia & Pakistan. Credit to Australia for rebuilding a young energetic team and showing their champions qualities. Amazing, how Pakistan was involved in two of the best matches in this tournament, and came 2nd both time. My thoughts on Pak cricket, we need to put our house in order, get rid of the dead wood and rebuild a team which has fighting qualities. For other cricketing nations, lend Pakistan cricket a helping hand during it's dark days if you want to be thrilled.

  • dicare on May 15, 2010, 11:25 GMT

    It was an unbelievable knock from Hussey and another fine one from White. However,it also happened to be Hussey's day and Pakistan helped by keeping the spinner for the last over. He should have bowled the 19th, Ameer the last..or even Razzak the last over(even though he was taken for runs in his first two).It looked to me like the Jadeja mistake made repeatedly by the 'brilliant' Dhoni..Being no pakistan fan I am not gutted by this but I am amazed by how these teams manage to contribute to the 'Aussie self belief' by doing silly things...Looking back at the Pakistan batting, they wasted the 20th over as well..falling at least 6 runs short. But nevertheless, the two deserving teams are in the final, ann I hope Hussey and Co have used up all their luck...!

  • shahzad yaqoob on May 15, 2010, 11:27 GMT

    well only if we had Umer Gul available and playing it would have been a different result for sure.... becaz you cant really hit many on his deadly yorkers... but fortunately for Australia and Unfortunately for Pakistan he was injured... anywayz well played Australia and better luck next time Pakistan!

  • mislam on May 15, 2010, 11:36 GMT

    Well, the batsmen at the last 3 overs did an outstanding job, no question. But the fact remain is this; australian bowler gave 7 runs to pakistan at the last over and Pakistan gave 18 runs at the last over. So, to me it is the Bowler at the last 2 overs that decided the game. I would say any ordinary team Like Bangladesh even did not give 18 runs to Australia in the last over. Pakistan plays with momentum not with brain. If they had some brain with the bowlers or with the Captain, they would have won the match against a much better team and that did not happen.