The BCCI president Anurag Thakur on Sunday congratulated the Indian women’s cricket team for winning the Asia Cup beating Pakistan by 17 runs in final held at Bangkok Thailand.
Shehzad, Sohail, Misbah fifties propel Pak to 339, A very good batting effort from Pakistan and this is their second highest total in World Cups. Pakistan scored 71/2 in the last five overs. Misbah and Umar at first went berserk and then Shahid Afridi blasted 21 off 7 with two sixes and one four. Wahab joined the party with one six. Pakistan hit 20 runs in the last over. In the last 10 overs, Pakistan scored 124 runs. This was a much-needed confidence booster for them!
Mohammad Irfan used his height to full effect to take four wickets as Pakistan defended a low total against Zimbabwe to get its World Cup campaign back on track with a 20-run victory on Sunday.
The gamble to drop experienced batsman Younis Khan in favor of Rahat Ali to bolster the bowling attack paid off on the fast, bouncy wicket at the Gabba , after coming under question when Pakistan were restricted in 235-7 after winning the toss and batting. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (73) and Wahab Riaz (54 not out) ensured a 200-plus total. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq scored 73 in more than 42 overs to hold the innings together after going to the crease at 4-2 in the fourth over.
Zimbabwe were all out in the last over for 215 in reply. The 2.16-meter (7-foot-1) Irfan had Zimbabwe reeling at 22-2 in reply, and returned in his second spell to snuff out a dangerous partnership, finishing with a career-best 4-30. Riaz returned with 4-45.
Brendan Taylor continued with Sean Williams (33) in a 54-run fourth-wicket partnership but when he was caught behind off Riaz moments after reaching 50, the total slipped to 128-4 and there was a sense of inevitableness about the result. Pakistan were coming off big losses to India and the West Indies and the 1992 champions were vulnerable coming into the Gabba match, knowing that another loss could lead to the early exit.
Lahore – Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said that he has been saying for the last four years that Pakistan cricket is dying and there is need to revive it with proper and planning and sincere efforts.
Talking about the poor structure of Pakistan domestic cricket, Shoaib said: “It’s not stagnation but it’s the collapse of cricketing culture.
It’s a failure of Pakistan’s first-class cricket, of its grassroots.
It’s a failure of living legends who failed to inspire, including myself.
I also blame myself as we failed to inspire youngsters.
He said that after 1995, the Pakistan team was troubled a lot because of match-fixing allegations.
“Pakistan continued to lose in the wrong manner in the 1999 World Cup finals, despite having a great team, but lacking in leaders.
The team has been leaderless for over a decade which is because of failure of the structure of Pakistan cricket.
He added: “All of this has nothing to do with Misbah.
When I say Misbah can do it, it’s because I have faith in him.
I know he’s a brave guy, who can pull it off.
Having said that, this is the weakest Pakistan team we have ever seen and it reflects a failure of the administration and the first-class structure.
After Pakistan lost to India first and then to West Indies badly, Shoaib said: “After Pakistan lost badly against India, I got a lot of criticism which really boiled up my blood.
What I really wanted was Misbah to take a lead.
I really think Misbah can manage if he comes in a one-down position and takes charge of the batting, because I know this is an immature Pakistan batting line-up, which only Misbah can lead.
If he takes charge, comes in after the openers and bats till the 30-35th over, when Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi can come in and play the only game they know.
“Pakistan has three batsmen who don’t know how to defend.
I have always maintained that Umar Akmal and Sohaib Maqsood are modern day Shahid Afridis.
They don’t know how to build the game, but they know how to hit the ball.
That was what my criticism was all about.
If Misbah doesn’t do that, I can assure you that Pakistan team will not go through to the quarter-finals,” the ex-pacer added.
About selection of Pakistan team, Shoaib said: “I think losing Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez as an opener and a leading off-spin bowler, I really think Misbah doesn’t have the bowling attack, neither does have a mature batting line-up which can take him through to quarter-finals.
When asked which team was favorite to lift the cup, Shoaib replied: “I think South Africa has a chance; they had an off day, but they are contenders.
New Zealand and Australia are favourites for sure.
The team with all the belief and faith is India.
When asked if he was offered a coach or selector job by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), what would be his response, the Rawalpindi Express said: “I have always voluntarily tried to help the national team.
The reason why I said these harsh statements are because I want people to know that Pakistan cricket is dying.
Someone has to speak the truth.
In order to become better you have to admit that you are wrong.
It’s a failure of the PCB, but at least, it is trying.
Najam Sethi is a brave man, but he needs to get rid of the clutter within the governing board and first-class cricket, and we need to open up cricket at the grassroots level.
“Pakistan cricket needs to improve to generate revenue.
They players need to think out of the box in order to make money, since they have been isolated for a number of years now, and will continue to be like this.
Since players are not getting enough pay in first-class cricket, and don’t have inspiring heroes, and losing like this, you’re eventually losing the interest of your fan base,” he added.
It won’t be an easy task to win the WC 2015 for any team whether it is India, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. After rewinding the past I can see Pakistan has won a World Cup in Australia back in 1992. But it doesn’t matter at all –‘records are meant to be broken’.
One of the biggest things in this WC will be that there will be no Sachin Tendulkar or Ricky Ponting in either of sides. We all know how big players they were. Lets look at how the top 5 teams look at this time for the tournament ahead.
It is a well known fact that playing in Australia is always difficult task for any team in the world both physically and mentally. And any team which will be facing OZ will find it tough. Australians are always different in World Cups. This time too like always they have more than a decent team who especially in home conditions could turn lethal. Players like George Bailey, Michael Clarke , Mitchell Johnson, David Warner can change any scenario easily.
Reigning World champions will be the most favourite team for cricket lovers, spectators, experts and bookies. The pressure will be at its peak on Dhoni’s men. More than 121 crore of cricket lovers will be eyeing the men in blue once again to repeat the feat of 2nd April 2011.
Key players would include the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and the boss M.S.Dhoni.
3. SOUTH AFRICA
If this team would not choke in semis they will be the champions. They have to change the history of losing in semis and have to get rid of the title of chokers. No one can believe that they have ABD Villiers , Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis, Dale Steyn (best bowler in past 5-7 years), Morne Morkel and they still lose.
Pakistan are the most uncertain team of the world. They can change the game at any point, for both, their good and bad. The fast bowling attack which they command can destroy any kind of batting line up. They though will need to manage and take care of irresponsible batting from few players.
Player like Nasir Jamshed, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Saeed Ajmal, Misbah-ul- Haq can shine like stars.
5. SRI LANKA
Last but not the least. This team is like slow poison. You can’t beat them easily. You will not see a lot of great in their bowling attack but they will still tighten the noose when needed. Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakarra are amongst the most respected cricketers in the world and they have to blast for a Lankan win.
Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath and yes captain Angelo Mathews can win from any situation.