IF you ask this question why Pakistan lost the ODI series against Australia? There could be a thousand reasons and a million different views on this subject. So, whoever wishes to express his views here is most welcome to agree or disagree with my views:
There was a collapse in the top order thereby giving Misbah and his rookies a free licence to start their tuk-tuk Battery. Even though the middle order sustained because of two partnerships, first between Misbah and Asad Shafiq putting up 49 runs together followed by a 61 runs partnership between Asad Shafiq and Umar Akmal both scoring 50 odd runs, it wasn’t enough to put on a decent score, they were bundled out for 198.
The slide started in the batting power play when Shafiq departed. Pakistan were 159 /4 and they were 198 all out, losing SIX wickets for 39 runs and that is not new. A couple of decades ago under Imran Khan’s captaincy, Sri Lanka and New Zealand used to get out like that against Pakistan. Even Lara’s West Indies was in the same league. Now, its Pakistan’s turn to get out in heaps and bounds within a space of 25-30 runs.
Australia were able to achieve that target of 199 in the 49th over which wasn’t an easy sailing for them despite Clarke’s 66 and Bailey’s 57 they seemed to have some difficulty in facing Ajmal who got rid of both Hussey’s and Maxwell as well. Australian win wasn’t that convincing. IMO things would have been very different had Pakistan scored 30-35 runs more.
Australia scored 248 which wasn’t a bad total to defend, thanks to Ajmal again for his 4 wickets haul supported by Junaid Khan’s 3 wickets otherwise OZs could have scored 280+ runs. The onus was on the Pakistani openers to score quickly and Nasir Jamshed played a good knock, unlucky that he fell 3 runs short of his century. His partnership of 101 with Azhar Ali was the key and Pakistan won the match comfortably in the 44th over.
This was a crucial match and the series decider. Pakistan lost it because of their own stupidities and serendipities. First, when the opening pair added 129 runs at a good strike rate, they did not capitalize it and ended up adding only 115 runs losing all 10 wickets after that. This is so weird, when are these batsmen going to learn from their past mistakes? It seems like a “NeverEndum” conundrum for Pakistan, showing sporadic brilliance and then back to mediocrity the next moment.
Secondly, it was the unpardonable blunder by Ajmal. Out of all the players, Saeed Ajmal the bowler himself unexpectedly refused to call for a LBW referral for Hussey and no one knows why he did that? Most of us, including myself when we saw the ball in real time said, “Its Plumb LBW.” But, Ajmal thought the ball wasn’t hitting the stumps, OR he was over confident that he will get Hussey the next ball or in the next over and disagreed with his colleagues to call for a referral.
However, the slow motion replay and Hawk-Eye revealed that Hussey was OUT. The match would have taken a big turn from there, Hussey went on to add 50 odd runs to his personal total. To add fuel to the fire, Azhar Ali dropped a sitter of Maxwell, who went berserk after that to finish off the game in no time, he added 26 runs to his personal score.
To talk about the performance of Afridi or Misbah’s captaincy to play a half fit Afridi or, sending him at number 3, or questioning Misbah’s decision to remove Ajmal after 3 overs when he gave only 11 runs for 3 wickets or finger pointing at the Akmals once again for a suspected conspiracy or, blaming Billy Bowden for not raising his crooked finger when Hussey was plumb, these are all lame excuses and an exercise in futility.
The fact is, the over all batting, fielding was “disgustipatingly” pathetic there wasn’t any discipline in the team to focus on their follies, Misbah as usual was seen disconnected with the team members, not going near them or talking to them except for standing alone with a #FacePalm and hoping for the match to end (i.e., when Azhar dropped Maxwell’s catch). Anyways, this ended the role of Misbah, he must be back home to watch the 3 match T20 series in Dubai from his living room on a TV set.
Hafeez, the Captain of the T20 team and, the so-called Professor has not been so good and effective as a captain and it seems that he has lost the ability of flying. After a long time he played a good knock in the 3rd ODI but, his bowling was pathetic. The sixes scored off his and Junaid’s bowling by the Australian openers gave them the confidence they needed, once again Ajmal was unplayable and bowled very well.
Afridi, is not likely to play the next two T20’s because of the split web injury he got during the 3rd ODI. Without Afridi, there is more vulnerability in the bowling department because, Afridi is good in his first 4 overs and, one can hope that Ajmal will mesmerize the OZ’s? IMO, its asking too much from the magician to get half the side out in his alloted 4 overs.
Its very likely that Shoaib Malik will play in Afridi’s absence. Imran Nazir and Abdul Razzaq have also joined the T20 garrison as reinforcement, with all this once again the question arises about the team selection and what is the playing XI for tomorrow’s T20? I think, Azhar and Asad should sit out as Nazir and Razzaq are more suitable for this format and Malik to replace injured Afridi.
Hence the playing XI will be:
Nasir Jamshed, Imran Nazir, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul (His name is in the T20 squad, but not sure if he is joining the team?) Otherwise, it will be Yasir Arafat who will be the player to fill in the 11th spot.
Pakistan has 7 batsmen in this team which is more than enough, and in T20 you really don’t need so many batsmen, even 6 are fine. If six batsmen cannot score 150-160 runs then they should no play at this level.
Lets see how they play the first T20 tomorrow?