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

Osman Samiuddin in Pallekele

March 14, 2011

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Ahmed Shehzad is stumped, Pakistan v Zimbabwe, World Cup, Pallekele, March 14, 2011
It was Ahmed Shehzad's turn to dance down the track to a left-arm spinner and be stumped © Associated Press

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.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Mujahid on (March 15, 2011, 4:41 GMT)

2many a things said about Afridis role.he was drafted into Pakistan as a leg spin bowler Bowler so he remains primarily a Bowler who can slog . Afridi should have opened the innings for Pakistan from the beginning of the tournament since the wickets suit to his style of slogging. I am still at loss whats the policy of playing eleven selection in Pakistan.when Abdul Rehman should have played he was not played and when Syed Ajmal is the best available spinner in Pakistan you keep him to rot on the bench. Even if hes considered for a game he might be rusty and that would be his world cup!!. Why a left arm pacer was not used from the beginning for comfortable wins was not used beats me since these games give faith and rhythm as well as boost confidence of the bowler. My opinion the two Akmals be kept out of any cricketing affairs in Pakistan and younis should be given the gloves. Pakistan is better of losing the cup with any one behind the stumps rather then playing in the hands of AKMALS

Posted by Nadeem on (March 15, 2011, 3:50 GMT)

Rainy day , with slow pitch with irritating negative bowling by Zimbabwe spinners. what else you want from a b grade team. First Pakistan was killed by NZ on the same ground and this time conditions were against them. Its all frustration which young players and also our captain cannot handle. Funny part was that our 7 years experience wicket keeper took most easiest catch but team celeberated like it was best ever catch. Shame on you Kamran for being that pathetic. Good win against the minnows and lets face the big boys, only way we can win if Afridi spin bowling start working and do the majic again otherwise ta ta.

Posted by Saeed on (March 15, 2011, 2:38 GMT)

Afridi himself said he was a bowler & not a batsman, so what is he doing batting at #4? There is no way he should be batting before Razzak in the lineup, because the Razzler is a much better batsman than 'Boom Boom'. The team against Australia should be:- 1-Afridi, 2-Kamran, 3-Umar Akmal, 4-Shafiq, 5-Younis, 6-Misbah, 7-Razzak, 8-Umar Gul, 9-Wahab, 10-Rehman, 11-Ajmal.

Posted by shahid on (March 15, 2011, 1:15 GMT)

Among batsmen and allrounder baring shehzad who surely will be dropped, Afridi is the only one who needs to score some runs before going into the quarters. Pakistan must play Said Ajmal instead of Rehman as Ajmal is a much better bowler with wicket taking ability. Not playing Ajmal in big matches will be a costly decision. Pakistan should Keep faith in Wahab if they are going with only two fast bowlers. Batting line is getting more obvious after this match. Open with Hafeez and Kamran with Asad to follow and then 3 middle order batsmen before Afridi. Razzaq should be rested to try out an extra bowler against Australia, and that extra bowler could be one more spinner.

Posted by A on (March 14, 2011, 22:25 GMT)

Afradi could do ten times better - only if he had learned from his mistakes. He is a great player but a very poor example for the rest of the team. Against NZ even when defeat was inevitable there were several overs remaining he could have set an example of playing out the overs - they may not won but would have certainly improved the average which may make a difference in the end and effect Pakistan chances of reaching semifinal. Lower we are in the group tougher the team we have to paly in the Q-final. All this did not effect Afradi he scored 17 of 9 and went back - whole team was out with more than 9 overs to go. Did anyone ask the Captain what was his reason for hurry?

Posted by Waqas on (March 14, 2011, 21:17 GMT)

An interesting fact and stat that there is hat-trick of raining in World Cup matches between Pakistan and Zimbabwe. It rained both in 2003 and 2007 World Cup matches between Pakistan and Zimbabwe too. Will history repeat in 2015 as well? Anyway Pakistan have crossed the hurdle which was not crossed in previous two World Cups. Hopefully they will do well in upcoming matches Inshallah :)

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 21:11 GMT)

Lets not be so critical of Kamran Akmal, he took two catches today and he is a useful batsman, having played number of crucial innings for Pakistan in ODIs, tests and T20s. Now that Shehzad failed once again I am afraid he should be dropped with Afridi opening the batting and leading from the front like Imran Khan. He cannot do worst than Shehzad on flat subcontinent wickets. I reckon Afridi and Razzaq are saving their best performance with the bat for the knockout stages. Still cannot understand how come Rehman is in the XI and not Saeed Ajmal. Shoaib Akhtar is a tricky one, whilst he is no doubt a match winner but should only play if fully fit, otherwise it should be Wahab. My BEST XI: 1. Hafeez, 2. Kamran / Afridi, 3. Shafiq / Razzaq / Kamran, 4. Yunus, 5. Misbah, 6. Umar, 7. Razzaq / Shafiq / Kamran, 8. Afridi / Kamran, 9. Gul, 10. Shoaib / Wahab, 11. Ajmal. Where Kamran, Razzaq or Shafiq bat will depend on the sort of starts openers give and whether we are batting or chasing.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

let me add a stat of the day. pakistan has now won more games in this worldcup then all the worldcup games they have won since 1999.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 14, 2011, 18:52 GMT)

Looking at his track record Afridi should come after Razzak and Razzak should be bumped up a couple of notches because Afridi needs just a few balls to hit out and get out. He cannot plan and play , he just plays and plays with his head in the sand for a few minutes. What is wrong with the coaches and those who line up the batting order? Why cant they see the forest from the trees, time and time again Afridi has failed , yet they keep doing the same mistake over and over again . Better shape up in the Quarter finals or else we will be heading back before the semi's.

Posted by Hassan on (March 14, 2011, 18:23 GMT)

The way to play a wrist spinner is to come down the wicket and kill the spin. Pakistan has produced many quality right arm wrist spinners, however with the exception of Iqbal Qasim, it has not produced many left arm finger spinners. That is the sole reason Pakistani batsmen make the mistake of coming down the wicket to a left arm finger spinner and get stumped.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

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