ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features
Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Pallekele
Pakistan's left-arm spinner bogey
ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the World Cup, Group A match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Pallekele
March 14, 2011
Decision of the day
Overcast conditions, worried about a top order that has performed in just one game so far, against a side with a dangerous pace attack but a potentially wonky batting order; what do you do when you win the toss as captain of one of cricket's weaker sides? You don't bat Elton.
Catch of the day
Never has a straightforward edge behind to the wicketkeeper brought as much relief to the XI on the field and millions back home as that held by Kamran Akmal in the very first over of the game. Brendan Taylor had timed one through the covers beautifully, but off Abdul Razzaq's fifth ball of the innings he stepped out and nibbled at one. Kamran moved to his right easily to pouch it; it was probably one Taylor too late, but there you go. It set up a near-flawless performance behind the stumps.
Dismissals of the day
One day a thesis will be written: "Ego and bluster - A history of Pakistan batting failure against left-arm spin." Who knows what goes on in their heads the second a left-arm spinner comes on? Clearly not much, given what has gone on in the past. Kamran Akmal has already done it twice in this tournament and you just knew way back when the schedules were drawn up for this shebang that the moment Ray Price came on, some young, brash kid would charge down the pitch, hit only air and be stranded halfway down the pitch, close enough to hear Price giggling away. It took ten balls on this occasion for Ahmed Shehzad to meet that very fate. And Shahid Afridi? Well, the only surprise was he wasn't charging down the pitch.
Surprise of the day
Pakistan v Zimbabwe in Pallekele you say? Wouldn't have thought that to be in many people's plans for a rainy Monday evening 15km outside Kandy? You would think wrong. Nearly ten thousand people turned up for this rain-interrupted, and to be honest, fairly predictable game at this spanking new stadium. If that doesn't seem a lot, it certainly sounded a lot through a day with heavy showers and more than two hours playing time lost. They didn't get bored easily either, only attempting the Mexican Wave once.
Cheer(s) of the day
The charismatic Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was greeted by rapturous cheers every time he did, well, anything: when he was introduced as a bowler, as batsman, or when shown randomly hanging around in the dressing room on the big screen.
Stat of the day
This was Pakistan's first successful chase in a World Cup match since the 1999 semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester. They have won six World Cup games in that time, but all while batting first.
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