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September 28, 2012

World Twenty20 2012

Umars come of age

Kamran Abbasi
Umar Gul and Umar Akmal cross for a run, Pakistan v South Africa, World Twenty 20 2012, Super Eights, Colombo, September 28, 2012
Umar Gul and Umar Akmal combined for a match-turning partnership of 49 from 27 balls  © Getty Images
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South Africa succumbed to spin but they also succumbed to two Umars who came of age. When Pakistan's batsmen fritter away their opportunity, Umar Gul sometimes smites a few long balls as a release valve on everybody's frustration.

It was only a matter of time before those Pathan smacks would make the difference in a match. From now on, when Pakistan's top order is in brainless mode, it will offer some solace to remember: never fear, Gullay is near.

At 76 for 7 Pakistan were all but done, a meagre target made monumental. South Africa's spinners had matched, even surpassed, their celebrated counterparts from Pakistan. But it was typical of Pakistan to choose the least plausible route to victory, and a strong position in this difficult group.

Indeed, Pakistan's comedic batting performance reminded everybody why this Pakistan team is succeeding despite its flaws, with the biggest questions surrounding the longevity of two of its most experienced players, Messrs Malik and Afridi: one too slow the other too rash.

The partnership between Umars saved blushes. Gul provided an adrenalin rush. However, it might be Umar Akmal who benefits most from sensibly guiding his team in unexpectedly challenging circumstances. Akmal attacked early in each over, an age-old method to ease pressure, and otherwise resisted throwing his wicket away. For a man known as an unreliable finisher, Akmal's measured final-over six off Morne Morkel set up a finish to relish.

Dav Whatmore has work to do. He knows that. But his team are doing what they do best, strutting the fine and life-shortening line between success and failure.

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

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Posted by Muhammad irfan on (December 1, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

my commet is so late, but i wana clear that Shahid AFRIDI & Umar AKMAL Are the most talented players of the world. we love both of them. all pakistan love both of them. few people using social media, internet arenot the father's of cricket. make a survey in pakistan every thing will clear. many people are jealous of Afridi&Umar Akmal fame. Afridi and Akmal's are best

Posted by Taimur Malik = Aus on (October 30, 2012, 15:34 GMT)

make umar gul or Umar akmal captain of the team, this will be long term planning but i wish board have some brains, we know misbah and hafeez are both failures. Misbah got too much wishful thinking and Hafeez is just not the man with his own poor form. Umar's are the team man's and they can build team for upcoming tournaments. i wish board learns some lesson and stops making short lived decisions by appointing captains... learn from south africa or australia

Posted by Nasir on (October 7, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Yes gull has come of age, still doesn't get grips of what is good length and line, he often bowls a wide when he uses bouncer. Cannot swing the new ball and not even an opening fast bowler.

One dimensional cricketer when it comes to his bowling, he has earned his success by bowling later part of the innings.

Posted by shahid on (October 5, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

afridi is a BADA BOJH on pak team shoulder. he has lost all cricket in him . he shuld be retire from all type of cricket.

Posted by jazim hussain on (October 1, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

we cannot expect the same in every game from gul, pakistan need to inject fresh blood in the team, as old seems to be viral now. afridi is not performing but still lablled as a match winner, razzaq is warming the bench and arafat is playing and doing nothing, imran nazir is playing a blind mans game, and the captain hafeez is defending his position as a captain...........

Posted by jazim hussain on (October 1, 2012, 20:00 GMT)

we cannot expect the same in every game from gul, pakistan need to inject fresh blood in the team, as old seems to be viral now. afridi is not performing but still lablled as a match winner, razzaq is warming the bench and arafat is playing and doing nothing, imran nazir is playing a blind mans game, and the captain hafeez is defending his position as a captain...........

Posted by Peter D,Souza on (September 30, 2012, 17:09 GMT)

To expect Pakistan Team management tom think is probably asking too much . For Pakistan itbwas vital to win india . This would have been possible if Pakistan had selected it's best players for this and earlier matches. Abdul Razaq annexcellent all rounder and a player with vast experience who has played so many winjing roles for Pakistan wasva clossol mistake .now , Pakistan,s only chance is a win against Australia which isbabtall order but also the win has to be with a very big margin tom ensure a big imrovement in the net run rate .

Posted by Shabbir Ahmed on (September 30, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

Imran Nazir by failing in batting and further by dropping a catch helped India to achieve the net run rate to get ahead ofPakistan .

Posted by Iftikhar Malikn on (September 30, 2012, 16:37 GMT)

Pakistan,s only chance was a victory against India which would have been possible but for poor Team selection . Including a batsman with a flawed technique such as Imran Nazir was a big blunder . Shoaib in place ofbAbdul Razaq was the second mountain of a blunder . Now Pakistan,s next match is against Australia . Australia will take Pakistan ton the cleaners .

Posted by Ahmed Yar Khan on (September 30, 2012, 16:16 GMT)

What a shame , the best all rounder Pakistan has Abdul Razaq has not been given an opportunity to show his abilities . He is far more consistent as compared to Afridii in both batting and fielding . Shoaib Malik and Imran Nazir are the very surprising inclusion in the Team. Why these two were preferred over Abdul Razaq only Hafeez can explain .

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and wisden.com. Kamran is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. @KamranAbbasi

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