Plays of the day

Butt, Akmal and Afridi redeem themselves

Andrew McGlashan at Lord's

June 9, 2009

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Kamran Akmal turns it fine, Netherlands v Pakistan, ICC World Twenty20, Lord's, June 9, 2009
With bat and with glove, Kamran Akmal had a field day © Getty Images
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Sums of the day
The number-crunchers were hard at work before the game confirming what Netherlands needed to do to go through. The sums were made easier when Pakistan decided to bat first, because it meant there was a definitive point Netherlands had to reach to knock the Test nation out - chasing whatever target was set, they had to get within 24 runs. It made for the strange situation where the final target in the run chase wasn't the important number, but ultimately it was a step to far for the underdogs.

Commitment of the day
Despite failing to progress, Netherlands began the day in a position they barely have dreamed of before the tournament and showed from the first over that they were going to give it their all. Kamran Akmal, promoted to open, drove the fourth ball wide of mid-off and cut the fifth hard through backward point, but on both occasions a Dutch fielder flung himself to the ground as though his life depended on it and two fours became two twos. That sort of commitment in the field can be a lesson to others, not least Pakistan.

Successful Australian of the day
As Australia skulk off to Leicester to lick there wounds the most impressive quick bowler from down under at this tournament was still on show. Dirk Nannes led from the front for the Dutch attack and with one delivery clocked over 150mph (93mph) - the quickest ball in the World Twenty20 to date. There is a feeling from some people back in Australia that he should have been in their squad, especially after a successful IPL, but he's probably pleased to have played for a team that actually managed to win a game.

Drop of the day…
Salman Butt's fielding was so bad against England that Younis Khan said after the game that he might be dropped, and even though he survived the chop for this match his fielding was still a liability for Pakistan. When Alexie Kervezee top-edged Mohammad Aamer the ball flew high towards short fine-leg where Butt had been stationed (or should that be hidden) by his captain. He back-peddled to try and get under the chance, but never looked confident and the ball duly slipped through his grasp. That no-one was surprised told the story.

…catch of the day
But then, something amazing happened. Peter Borren swept at Saeed Ajmal and again the top edge went high towards short fine-leg. Butt was still there - there aren't many places to run to in Twenty20 - and the Pakistan team held its breath as the gentle catch came down towards his hands. It was a sitter by anyone's standards, but remember who was underneath it. This time, though, the ball nestled safely in his grasp and Butt was mobbed by his team-mates. That, too, told a story.

Spell of the day

Shahid Afridi can barely buy a run these days, but he's have a golden period with the ball. However, it might be time to reclassify his style as a fast-medium legspinner because it was often his pace that proved too much for the Netherlands batsmen. His first delivery was a spearing yorker that demolished Bas Zuiderent's off stump and his second wicket came when he skidded one into Tom de Grooth's leg pole. Associate batsmen don't see much of Afridi's type of bowling and another quick yorker was too much for Daan van Bunge as he came down the pitch. But Netherlands need not be ashamed; Afridi has done it to many a batsman during his career.

Glovework of the day
Akmal has copped his fair share of flak in recent years for some less-than-convincing efforts behind the stumps. But today he combined superbly with the spinners to pull off four stumpings and set a new record for the most in a Twenty20 international innings, which he previously held jointly with Tatenda Taibu. The pick of his success was the one to remove Ryan ten Doeschate, which required swift work to collect the yorker from Shoaib Malik and remove the bails. Now Pakistan have to improve the rest of their fielding.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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