Pakistan v England, 2nd ODI, Abu Dhabi February 15, 2012

Akmal still Pakistan's biggest worry

ESPNcricinfo presents the Plays of the Day from the second ODI between Pakistan and England in Abu Dhabi

Drop of the day
Alastair Cook had only made 28 when he edged a delivery from Shahid Afridi. It should have been a routine catch for the wicketkeeper but instead the ball bounced straight into and then straight out of the iron gloves of Umar Akmal. It was a reminder that, for all his ability as a batsman, Akmal is, at present, some way short of the required standard for an international keeper. Cook went on to score another 74 runs and play the match-defining innings. Pakistan must decide whether to persevere with Akmal in the hope of improvement or rethink the balance of their side. At present, Umar is losing them more games with the gloves than he is winning with the bat.

Run-out of the day
Imran Farhat was batting well. He had just thumped James Anderson over mid-on and, as Pakistan reached 92 for one in the 22nd over, he seemed to be pacing the reply nicely. But then, having edged a Stuart Broad yorker on to his pads, he lost track of the ball and, belatedly realising that it had rolled obligingly into the hands of the bowler, was unable to regain his ground before Broad's throw hit the stumps. It was an alert piece of work by Broad but a somewhat sloppy end to a decent innings from Farhat.

Cool head of the day
Sometimes it takes confidence to remain scoreless. It takes composure to battle through the barren periods without allowing the pressure to build or force a batsman into a rash stroke. Alastair Cook did not score from his first nine deliveries and, in the first three overs of the England innings, there were only two scoring strokes. The powerplay overs were ticking by but Cook is not the type to allow himself to be flustered. He is batting with immense assurance and backed himself to come through a testing period. As it was, he scored from his tenth delivery and it happened to be a high-class shot: a back foot drive through extra cover off Aizaz Cheema that skimmed to the boundary. Cook never looked back and became the first England captain to register successive ODI centuries.

Choice of the day
Misbah-ul-Haq preferring Aizaz Cheema to Umar Gul in the final overs of the England innings. It was a brave decision. Cheema had delivered three wides in succession in his first over, one of which went to the boundary. Gul is the senior seamer, having played 93 more ODIs than his junior partner but the choice paid off with Cheema conceding 18 in a three-over spell that ended the innings. Bearing in mind that England had seven wickets in hand with six overs to go, that represented a decent return from Cheema.

Catch of the day
The game was in the balance, 72 were required from 68 balls and Umar Akmal and Misbah-ul-Haq had looked fairly comfortable in adding 37 in six overs. Then Akmal cut Steve Finn to cover where Samit Patel dived low to his left and clung on to a low catch. Indeed, so low was it that the third umpire was called to clarify the legitimacy of the catch. Patel could be forgiven for feeling particularly satisfied: he had spent some time the previous day defending his weight, his fitness, his diet and his fielding to a group of journalists. Here he proved his point in the most eloquent way of all - with his performance.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ms.pk_93 on February 18, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    i think PAK team just needs to change the batting order...thats it...if its done than im pretty sure they will prove to be one of the greatest batting sides ever....

  • dummy4fb on February 18, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Move afridi in the batting order to no 3 with the strategy to play till the end and every individual batsman should at least score singles if the boundries are not coming.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on February 17, 2012, 13:01 GMT

    @Gkgujpa: Afridi took a crippled team that had fallen on its face and everyone was kicking. Waqar Younis and Inzimamul Haq had taken star studded teams to world cup and failing to go beyond initial round. Whereas Afridi took a crippled team all the way to semi-final. His team defeated Australia first time in WC after 12 years. Whereas Misbah took a team that was on its way to recovery, and faced "morale boosting oppostion" like Ireland, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh etc. Let us face a fact, players from Karachi would always be under rated. One bad performance, and they will sitting out like Fawad Alam and Asad Shafiq.

  • drdani on February 17, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    i cant understand why some of us r criticizing misbah on his 'way of batting'..he has always been like this..n m sure he will never change..he has a certain gameplan (which some of us dont like) n he follows it in order to give us a win,whether it comes or not...similarly criticizing afridi is also not understandable,especially from pakistani question is when did u see a cool head on his shoulders? hes been like this since 'birth' n m a great supporter of afridi coz of this...i like the looks on other team's captains when afridi comes in to bat..the horror on their faces pleases most of the pakistani even pakistan r is simple..pakistan have been beaten by a team who played well on those 2 days..n more simple is the fact that part-time wicketkeeper wont give u a win rather than a specialist..umar akmal is a mach winner n he should play but not as a wicketkeeper!!

  • Sports4Youth on February 17, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    Misbah is doing the same mistake with Umar Akmal what othr captains have done with Kamran Akmal and Moin Khan. YouTube is full of Kamran Akmal's infamous performance against Australia, NZ, SL etc. and how Pak lost the Matches because of bad wicket keeping. Misbah has already proved that he is the most horrible ODI captain. Actually he repeated the same mistake in the SL and Bangladesh series but because there the opposition was not so good, so he was not exposed. Not this time though. This time the stonger opposition is making him pay for his mistake.

  • Desihungama on February 17, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    I don't believe am saying it but Imran Farhat is the only one playing well. How did we get here? Strange.

  • codegreen on February 17, 2012, 3:23 GMT

    @imranmujtaba look at the record of afridi as a captain in t20 , losing more than 60% of all , he was the reason we were 7th on the table

  • dummy4fb on February 16, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Pakistan let it go because of their sloppy and irresponsible batting. 72 runs were needed with 68 balls to go. The way Afridi played was that he was not interested to stay on the creasefor one more minute , a six and a four and then middle stump with bails flying , cleaned bowled by a straight ball. Bowlers were unable to dismiss Cook after he scored two succesive centuries. Umar Akmal did not do justice when he was needed to chase an easy score, he was sloppy and fumbled as a wicket keeper. Our tail enders have disappointed time and again, they should learn how to stay on the wicket to complete 50 overs. Routed in 35 overs (first ODI) shows lack of temperament. NOT the first time !!!!!!. Hope we bat first this time .

  • imranmujtaba on February 16, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    Pakistan will win net two gAmes if they get rid of MISBAH or bowl second or umar and afridi comes before tuk tuk misbah...... batting order 1- Mohammad Hafeez 2- Malik/Farhat 3- Umar Akmal 4- Asad Shafiq 5- Younis Khan 6- Shahid Afridi 7- Hammad Azam 8- Adnan Akmal 9- Saeed Ajmal 10- Umar Gul 11- Wahab / Cheema Ooops I missed the Captain - i dont think he deserved to be in the team.... to make his place we may have to sacrifce no.2 or 8 position...... I hope he can learn something from great captains DHONI, Clarke, Imran Khan, Javed Miadad ........ AFIRDI was FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaarrr better CAptain in ODI and T20..............................

  • mansoorJ on February 16, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    Some saying itz the same team who won test serries ( whitewash), If they lost 2 ODI then we shdnt shout at them etc etc etc ......well i guess we are not sorrow for loosing, actually we are disturbed the way pakistani team is playing in the ODI seems they dnt hve sharp tooth to bite deep in the flesh like a hunter...Seems they dnt have fire in the eyes to fight till end...seems Mishab dnt have The strategy at all... Misbah dnt dare to take risks even he dnt dare to change the batting orderlines. CRICKET is name of THRILL, changing of strategy by over to over...MISBAH goes for the last 10 overs to raise the run rate which is totally absord coz in pakistani team these overs faces mostly tailender who even dnt bring 3 - 4 runs on the board other ways last 10 overs are lost for nothing or if this the strategy shd be followed then some gud batsmen come on number 9, 10, 11.What we want to comment here is that SKIPPER shd work hard on strategy over by over ( LIKE CHESS PLAYER )

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