Northamptonshire v Pakistanis, Twenty20, Northampton July 3, 2010

Pakistan cruise to six-wicket win


Pakistanis 137 for 4 (Shahzaib 64, Afridi 42, Willey 2-14) beat Northamptonshire 133 for 3 (Chigumbura 58, Wakely 55, Ajmal 1-15) by six wickets

Shahzaib Hasan's aggressive half century and a blistering 13-ball 42 from Shahid Afridi helped Pakistan thrash a weakened Northamptonshire by six wickets with 27 balls to spare. At the halfway mark the visitors had moved cautiously to 57 for 1 but Afridi, returning from injury, bulldozed the opposition in his short stay at the crease to put Pakistan in the right frame of mind ahead of next week's twin Twenty20 internationals against Australia at Edgbaston.

Pakistan launched their chase at a-run-a-ball with both Hasan and Kamran Akmal taking advantage of any loose deliveries. Hasan slashed Jack Brooks over point to open the chase and a couple of overs later pulled the same bowler for six. Kamran, restless at the wicket, hit two strong cover drives against David Lucas to erase a scratchy start. But he soon faltered, offering a simple catch against a slow, looping full toss from left-armer David Willey.

At the other end Hasan continued the attack, picking up two boundaries behind square leg in Elton Chigumbura's first over. But the Zimbabwe allrounder bounced back with some tight lines and lengths which slowed Pakistan's progress and both Hasan and Fawad Alam suddenly found it difficult to pick the gaps.

Alam had replaced Salman Butt, who had been rested, and looked apprehensive on the front foot. Frustration soon set in and he offered an easy catch to Chigumbura at point trying to cut James Middlebrook, the offspinner. The run rate had dipped considerably as Pakistan added just 16 runs in the four overs after the Powerplay.

But any hopes Northants entertained were smashed to smithereens by Afridi. He swung his bat at almost everything and three boundries resulted from thick edges off Middlebrook. In the same over the Pakistan captain had lofted the offspinner over the long-on boundary for his first six.

The turning point arrived in the following over from Brooks. Against the first ball, a short delivery on the off side, Afridi moved back and smartly tapped the ball between point and gully to pick up an easy boundary. Next came a punched straight drive past the ropes, and this was followed by a huge slog only for the leading edge to race past thirdman for a third successive boundary. A handsome pull then flew over square leg for his second six. Hasan made it the most expensive over of the match (23 runs) with a lofted square drive for another four.

From 57 for 1 after 10 overs Pakistan had rushed to 121 in the next four overs. Afridi duly retired, soon followed by Hasan who was caught in the deep but Pakistan finished on a high note.

In the absence of senior players such as Andrew Hall, Chaminda Vaas, Nicky Boje and wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien Northants were always going to find it difficult to challenge the 2009 World Twenty20 champions. Fighting half-centuries from Alex Wakely and Chigumbura kept them in the contest but 133 was never going to be a big hurdle for Pakistan.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nazim on July 7, 2010, 11:07 GMT

    Credit goes to Afridi, he showed every thing which was needed to this team. As taking decision to play with Shoaib and shoaib did well not gud enough but fairly doing gud job...

  • avinash on July 6, 2010, 23:59 GMT

    pakis need wasim akram, as shoib is old, mohammed sami has disappeared

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    great performance by GUll & Aamir. Pindi express d-tracked again. bt i hope he'll soon get out of it. best of luck 4 next match . Pak Zindabad...

  • Dummy4 on July 5, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    Good going boys, good game, keep it up. well done.

  • Azhar on July 4, 2010, 17:34 GMT

    I think it has been unfair to give Pakistan side matches against weakend county teams. It wil be a giant leap against Ausies who are on the roll now after losing first three games against England. Whenever they lose, they always come back very hard. I wish Pakistan the best of luck, which they will certainly need against Australia. Fawad Alam has no place in T20 for sure. ODI & tests may be. He really needs to improve his batting & particularly strike rate. Tait & Bollinger will be very hard to cope. We'll know tomorrow.

  • Wanderer on July 4, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Fawad Alam is once again getting the raw end of the stick. He's a test batsmen in the mould of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. It's unfair to him to be playing T20 cricket and trying to make a name for himself through that format. Look at his domestic record and the way he batted against the Aussies in Australia a few months back. He has grit and determination and sticks around, which can't be said of too many other Pakistani batsmen. This infatuation with big hitters and sloggers has to stop. If you can't launch the ball into the stratosphere it seems you're not deemed good enough to play for Pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    I agree with you guys that Abdul Razzaq should be playing in ODI and I think he can play in Test matches too, so we are missing that talent in those formats. Also I think Shoaib Akhter should play test, Australia have mainly fast bowlers that not only bowl fast but bowl smartly, they have a lot of varieties, like when ever their captain ask them to ball bouncers they do and pick wicket or they bowl on good length, or change bowling angles (around/over), so we need someone like them to give a good fight, no offence to Umar Gul/M.Amer, but whenever Gul pitches one short he get smashed, he is only good at bowling yorkers, and Amer can't ball good yorkers, only good at short balls or balls which goes away, my point of explaining all that is we need Shoaib Akhter, he can balls any delivery in any situation, he is a match winner, he just need to play more cricket, he is fit and has pace than any other Pakistani bowler, I think it was bad decision not playing him in Test...

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2010, 14:44 GMT

    Yasoo97 I agreed with your team but you miss only one player who is also match winner and he is Imran Nazir.He must be included in all formates and then give him open hand to play his game I am sure he can give a lot to Pakistan team.He is brave Crickter with big heart we shouls not forget him.One thing more they should send Shoaib Malik one down he will also perform well for Pakistan on this position we can see in his carrier record it shows he can play.Shoaib Akhtar still can bowl very fast only give him the confidence and courage,he is our great asset we should not spoil him by sitting on the bench waiting for his retirement.He is fit let him to play all formates.Please don't forget Abdul Razzak let him to play in the test also he 100 time better than Fauad Alam we are spoiling his talent also??????????????

  • IFTIKHAR on July 4, 2010, 14:03 GMT

    I don't think this will help Afridi. it will not help him in ODI'S AND T20'S. HE should try to play calmly and sensibly because at the moment he's just not a member of the team but also a player who is representing his team, so Afridi should hit but also play sensibly and calmly. Best wishes for tomorrow's game.

  • Dummy4 on July 4, 2010, 11:44 GMT

    To win matches Pakistan must not select FAWAD ALAM... I don't like the way he plays, his strike rate is very poor, and he looks like a little kid, he gives wrong impression to opposition about Pakistani players, because most of our players are well built, strong and can hit a lot of sixes like Shahid Afridi, Shazaib hasan, Kamran akmal, Umar akmal, Razzaq list goes on...!! He doesn't fit in when you guys will accept the truth !!!

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