Sunday, February 27, 2011

WorldCup Match Reviews (Part 2)


The WorldCup had life breathed in it today; courtesy a scintillating and nerve-wrecking game between the two subcontinental cricket giants, Sri lanka and Pakistan. The game can deservingly be labeled as the 'match-of-the-tournament', at least so far as it had got everything that makes up a classic ODI encounter - speedy starts, interesting middle overs, moments of sheer brilliance and a close finish.

Pakistan: 277/7 (50 overs) ---  Misbah-ul-Haq 83*, Younis Khan 72 --- Rangna Herath 2-46
Sri Lanka: 266/9 (50 overs) --- Chamara Silva 57, Kumara Sangakara 49 --- Shahid Afridi 4-36

Match Rating: ********** 

Shot of the Match: Hafeez's down-on-one-knee six off Kulasekra. It was an exquisite, wristy shot as Hafeez trusted the strength of Kulasekra - inswingers, and played it superbly just in front of the square leg region and into the stands. It was high and handsome, literally.

Delivery of the Match: The match was delicately poised as the two star-performers for the Lankans, Sanga and Mahela, were trying to snatch the advantage. In comes Akhter, limping and sweating, after a short respite from his opening spell. No one gives a thought to him, after all, he is well past his prime. But what he came up with is an absolute beauty of an off-cutter to send Mahela packing. It wasn't at all slow as it snaked in through Mahela's defenses and pegged back the middle stump. Suddenly, the Rawalpindi Express of '99 steamed across the Premadasa.

Catch of the Match: There was a lot of great ground fielding on display today, coupled with a few botched up fielding attempts and catches but a spectacular catch was missing. However, comparatively speaking, Umar Akmal's pouching at long-on to dismiss Kulasekara was the most difficult catch of the match. He had to run backwards with the bowl and grab it past his head, meanwhile, evading the boundary skirting.

Runout of the Match: There was only a single runout in the game and it was utter comedy. Hafeez played a sweep shot straight to Herath at fine leg and had no idea that Kamran Akmal was charging in to his end for a single. He didn't move as Herath threw to Sanga and Sanga in turn threw a wayward throw over the head of the bowler, Murlitharan. Kamran was moving towards the pavilion as Hafeez had a wild idea that he could make it to the other end before the bails were dislodged there, but had to give up the hope as Jaywardene had the presence of mind to flick an easy throw at the bowler's end, effectively putting an end to the drama. 

Innings of the Match: Misbah-ul-Haq has come to this WorldCup with a purpose, knowing that this might be the only WorldCup he plays for his country an he gave a glimpse of his stacks of experience and sense of purpose in his tranquil-until-the-end innings of 83* from 91 deliveries as he, along with Younis Khan placed Pakistan's innings right on track. He milked singles and doubles until the very end when a barrage of boundaries saw Pakistan to a competitive total after a poor batting powerplay. It is a pity that a guy like him is yet to notch up an ODI hundred.
Bowling Spell of the Match: Once again Shahid Afridi steals the show with a masterful and doubtlessly match-winning spell of 4-36 from his quota of overs which choked the runs as well as gave crucial breakthroughs. His lengths and lines were superb throughout the spell as he stunned the packed house at the Premadasa and the Sri Lankan team on four crucial junctures in the game.

Partnership of the Match: Not many contenders here as the 108-run 4th wicket stand between Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq comes out as a winner. The old heads of the Pakistani camp came together to steer Pakistan's swaying ship out of troubled waters with innovation, deftness and audacity. The two saw Pakistan through the crucial middle overs with no further damage, meanwhile, keeping the scoreboard ticking with the minimum of risk at just under a run-a-ball.

Disappointment of the Match: The abysmal fielding performance put up by Pakistan near the end. Despite being above average in most of the match, Pakistan fieldsmen dropped their nerve as the game bacame a bit tense. Kamran Akmal gave Kumara Sangakara two lives in the shape of missed stumpings, Abdur Rehman dropped a sitter of a catch which shook Chamara Silva out of his slumber as he threatened to take the game away from the Green Shirts, Ahmad Shahzad made a mess of a relay throw to Umar Akmal and not to mention the many missed runout chances. Pakistan really has to up their fielding standards for crunch games as sometimes a messed-up catch is all that draws the margin between victory and defeat. 

Though after the Match: What good is the UDRS without a Snicko and a Hot-Spot camera? 

The Match in Photos: 

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