Thursday, February 24, 2011

WorldCup Match Reviews


The beautiful Mahinda Rajpaksa stadium was the starting point of Pakistan's 2011 WC journey with a match against the lowly Kenya and barring a few hiccups early-on it came out as a one-sided affair.

Pakistan: 317/7 (50 overs) --- Umar Akmal 71, Misbah-ul-Haq 65 --- TM Odoyo 3-41
Kenya: 112/10 (33.1 overs) --- CO Obuya 47, SR Waters 17 --- Shahid Afridi 5-16

Match Rating: ********** 

Shot of the Match: Misbah-ul-Haq's towering, straight six off Tikolo to open up his account. It really was something special because the boundaries at the MRICS are fairly big, with the distance down to the straight boundary a shade above 90 meters.

Catch of the Match: Without doubt, Seren Waters' blinder at midwicket. Hafeez was trying to break the shackles after a sluggish start and in doing so clipped a freebie off his pads to the leg-side only slightly aerially but it was enough for the electric Waters to get a hand on as he dived to his left. He juggled the take when he made contact with the ground but in the end was successful in clinging on to it.

Runout of the Match: Umar Akmal's effort to send Waters packing just as he was beginning to settle. It was all about anticipation as Waters had stolen a slightly similar single the previous over but this time around as he dabbed to the short mid-on region, the speedy Umar was up to the challenge and flashed across to grab the ball and hit the stumps with a neat under-arm as Waters struggled yards from the popping crease.

Innings of the Match: Umar Akmal's blistering 71-off-52 as he took the Kenyan bowlers to the cleaners, especially in the Powerplay overs as, largely through his contributions, Pakistan plundered 70 runs from it. Negating the difficulties he faced early on in finding the boundaries, he looked much like the Umar Akmal we know, flamboyant, graceful and innovative.

Bowling Spell of the Match: Not many contenders here as Shahid Afridi steals the accolades with his masterful spell of 5-16 from 8 overs which cut through the Kenyan resistance like warm knife through butter. A bamboozling array of quicker ones, googlies and sliders proved too much for the fragile Kenyan batting lineup to take. These were also the best bowling figures for a captain in WorldCup matches.

Partnership of the Match: The 118-run stand between Misbah and Umar was by far the biggest spike on the partnerships' graph for the game. Add to it the fact that it came at a more-then-healthy 8.96 rpo and you don't need to look any further for partnership of the match. It really was the propulsion that Pakistan required to get past 300 after the stuttering start to their innings. This partnership was also the biggest 5th-wicket stand for Pakistan at WorldCups.

Disappointment of the Match: The sheer amount of extras; 46 of them with a record number of wides (36). I think the Kenyan bowlers really have to really work on their discipline; there were a lot of instances when the bowler sprayed down the legside for 5-wides, even the only hattrick bowl of the match!

Though after the Match: Why the hell did Afghanistan didn't qualify if the likes of Kenya did?

The Match in Photos:

WorldCup Match Reviews will only cover matches involving Pakistan apart from the Quarters, Semis and the Finale. 
Images (c) GettyImages and AFP. 

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