India retained the World Test NO1 Spot after beating SA at the Even Gardens this week. The series was levelled 1 a piece but with India already at the top of the rankings prior to the series they retained the golden status.
The final day of the second test was gripping drama, test cricket at its best ! Well played to India and Bhaji. Singh is King as Sunil Gavaskar says ! But a spare of thought for the excellency of Hashim Amla. Outstanding effort and application but, really unfortunate for him that it was coming in a losing scenario. Nonetheless, nothing can be taken away.
In Dubai where England and Pakistan were playing 2 T20s, we saw a very entertaining 2 matches played in excellent sporting spirit. Eoin Morgan was just simply class in the first match. He had an answer for everything, his body positioning,shot identification and ability to find gaps consistently was literally outstanding and that too was all under pressure. His partnership with KP saw England over the line in a match which produced many twists and turns and changes in momentum. But to be honest we weren't really expecting a Pakistani victory after 39/4 so well done for at least managing to compete and getting ourselves back in the match. England were the better side with ball, bat and in the field and therefore were deserving winners .
The following encounter, Pakistan bounced back and finally won a match after a mammoth losing streak of 10 consecutive matches. Pakistan bowlers restricted England to a reasonable total of 148 in their 20 overs. KP once again was superb. Umar gul got hit for 4 sixes and overall conceded 43 runs in his four overs, similar run rate to the day before. Many people are now questioning his in-ability to repeat the past and his position in the team for different formats.
Pakistan made an awful start with the bat, losing 2 wickets in the first over, both openers gifting their wickets away with poor shots. Ajmal Shahzad was delighted and commenced his international career with an overwhelming first over. Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik steadied the ship but following theirs and Afridi's departute all to the impressive Graeme Swann really put England in a commanding position to consolidate on Pakistan's much woeful season on and off the field. But as it stands that wasn't to be the case following the heroics of Abdul Razzaq. The booming Razzler Dazzler came to the party and produced a breathtaking matchwinning knock to guide Pakistan over the line, finally. This was a symbolic sigh of relief for every Pakistani.
I agree that the player of the series was Graeme Swann. But, it could have been given to KP for his two important impressive back to back innings. So it was a tight call but I guess they were slightly sympathising with the off spinner as T20 is a batters game primarily. The man of the match for the second game was a no brainer- Abdul Razzaq ! His 5 magnificent meaty maximums were great to watch. He had both the power and distance to perfect them. His 18 ball 46 was certainly a special performance.
A satisfying outcome.
The scoreline finished was 1-1 so the series is shared. I can only help to think that Mushtaq Ahmed aka Mushy was most satisfied as he was an illustrious former Pakistani cricketer who is currently being the ECB spin coach ! He said he was supporting England in his interview on Thursday with David Lloyd aka Bumble as he was working with England. But we know you deep down Mushy and that you were praying for Pakitan as well !!Overall, I feel the outcome is a satisfying one especially when taking into account the rarity of a Pakistani victory in recent times. But, I can't help to stress how much more work there is to be done in order to defend the T20WC this year in the Caribbean this May. Who will be our captain ? Who will be the openers ? Is Gul going to be there ? The domestic RBST20 Cup commences on 27th February. This may have an influential affect on the national selection for the upcoming ICC tournament. A lot is left to be resolved. But hopefully this victory will boost the morale in the camp and PCB hierachy. Hopefully, this is the start of bigger and better things to come ! The future awaits......