Monday, 17 May 2010

England Are T20 World Champions !

T20 World Champions 2010 are ENGLAND !! Above is an overwhelmed KP, the player of the tournament ! He joins the likes of Afridi for 2007 and Dilshan for 2009, the respective winners of the award in recent years gone by!

Why England's triumph was better than Pakistan's in 2009:

1) England were more consistent. Won 5 games in a row whereas Pakistan won 5 games randomly and two of them were against the Minnows!

2) England had to encounter Australia and that too in a final when the Aussies were on the back of a real high. Pakistan didn't have to meet the "curse of the Aussies" last year.

3) England didn't lose a full completed game! This is a representation of a "champion" unit, they were undefeated!

England beat the Aussies by 7 wickets in the grand final:

Why England Won The ICC World T20:

1) KP brilliance, he consistently performed and came to the party for England with his stylish and flamboyant batting. He scored 248 runs in the tournament.

2) Spinners; Yardy and Swanny both bowled economically and consistently for England. Swanny took 10 wickets in the tournament and both bowlers went at under 7 an over.

3) The new sensational opening partnership between Kieswetter and Lumb proved to be a true revelation for team England. Both played freely and set the innings tone frequently! They both gave England a strong start in the first 6 overs.

4) Intelligent seam bowling from Broad/Bresnan and Sidebottom who bowled well as a unit and mastered the slower balls very well in particular. Took 21 wickets in the tournament between them.

5) Ability to chase well. They won 4 out of 5 games chasing down totals successfully.

6) Showing intent and playing riskly and fearlessly, going out there are expressing themselves, but backing their ability, this is what T20 is all about! England used the bounty of innovation and creativity, they finally mastered how to play the game and play it well too !

Saturday, 15 May 2010

ICC World T20 Final 2010 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow's final is arguably bigger than the precious and symbolic urn displayed below in my view. Can England win their first ICC tournament in many years of participation or will Australia add to their remarkable tally the T20 crown as well? Tomorrow shall determine...................

Pakistani Highlights 2010 ICC World T20

There have been mixed memories for Ajmal as Salman Butt who had a top tournament with the bat, calms Saeed below after the miserable last over against the Aussies where the green shirts destiny was shattered by the phenomenal miracles of Australia's power and individual brilliance.

Its been a mixture of good and bad .....

The ones to remember are :

1) The record breaking opening stand between Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal against BD of 142. Forget the opposition; records are always special regardless of the opponent and even more so when they come in a global event such as the WC.

2) Aamer's incredible 5 wicket maiden against the Aussies. This speaks for itself.

3) Umar Akmal hitting Johnson for 3 sixes in one over!! Adorable stuff from the young talent!

4) Ajmal's top spell of 4-26 against the Proteas which spun Pakistan into the semis.

5) Lady Luck with the assistance from England which enabled Pakistan to achieve their 3rd consecutive semi final appearance at the ICC World T20.

6) Ajmal being the leading wicket taker in the tournament for a spinner with 11 scapls under his belt. Bhaji from India was wicketless actually although he bowled well and economically.

The ones to forget are as follows:

1) Ajmal's flaws vs. England in the super eight encounter where he dropped 3 catches in the same position, amusing stuff for sure!

2) Ajmal's last over vs. Hussey 6/6/4/6 = Australia through and Pakistan down and out !

3) Rehman's moment of mindlessness against NZ where Pakistan needed 2 off the last ball and he was dismissed, caught out in the deep. He got a gift of a ball but was unable to put it away and get Pakistan over the line! From here there was heavy reliance on other sides and somehow it worked in the end!

4) Pakistan's inability to win from winning positions i.e. chasing 134 against NZ and defending 191 against the Aussies.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Trying To Get Over The Pains

Undoubtedly, the two best teams of the competition are in the final in Australia and England who both have an undefeated record in the tournament more or less !

England are there after beating the Lankans comprehensively in their semi final :

Australia are there after beating Pakistan in a thrilling match where they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat !

Pakistan were in a clear winning position for most parts but yet lost the match in the final over to the brilliance of Mr Cricket aka Mike Hussey and that is the outcome which matters as the Aussies march into the Barbados final ! It was a heroic astonishing amazing performance from the left hander who has done it before against the very same opposition too, recall the SCG nightmares earlier this year where he capitalised on Pakistan's defensiveness in an expert manner !

191 should be a new superstition. Its been a tournament find to say the least ! Reasons as follows...

1) England lost defending 191 under the D/L method in the preliminary stages
2) 5 wicket maiden happened when the Aussies were on 191 against the Pakistanis
3) Despite doing everything right with the bat, Pakistan were unable to defend a mammoth total of 191 against the Aussies in a semi final

Pakistani fans are clearly heartbroken and frustrated and rightly so as the team didn't deserve to lose this game to be perfectly honest. They played with positivity and impressed, but yet weren't able to get over the obstacle of Australia, a team which has beaten them continuously over the last 6 months !

This defeat is one of the most painful defeats in sporting history from a Pakistani perspective, a much forgettable moment. However, a truly incredible match sequence which promotes the game from a general perspective.

To conclude on a high, Pakistan are the only team in each of the 3 ICC World T20s to reach the semi final stage each time ! They have some pride to take away with them, despite not being able to repeat what happened last year in the UK under Younis Khan's leadership.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Semi Final Previews !

Thursday 13th May at 15:30 GMT, England vs. Lankans at St Lucia

Head to Head: Haven’t played!

Tournament Performance: England has won 3/5 matches which include wins against the likes Pakistan/RSA and NZ. One match was washed out against the Irish and one early pool game was lost under the unfavourable Duckworth Lewis method against the tournament hosts, WI. So all in all the British side has got a near perfect record in this Caribbean carnival. Meanwhile the Lankans have also incidentally won 3/5 of their games so far which includes beating the Zimbabweans, WI and their Asian rivals India after a last ball six yesterday! They have lost to the Kiwis in the tournament opener and the Aussies in a super eight encounter! So therefore, the Lankans go into the semis with an indifferent record at stake.

Last time they met: England won in the 2009 Champions trophy held in RSA.

Pre Tournament Calls: England= super eights and then elimination and the Lankans= Semi Finalists and possible title contenders.

Prediction/Verdict: England wins in a tight game.

How the match will be determined: The England batting against the Lankans bowling.

Key Player: KP for England and Mahela Jayawardene for the Lankans who is the leading run scorer in the competition as things currently stand. Both are in form players and will need to come good for their respective nations in this big fascinating semi final encounter. KP might be tired having flown back over the Atlantic Ocean in such a short space of time but I feel tiredness won't influence his on field performance and he will be able to continue his flamboyance as a star performer despite the potential probs.

Friday 14th May at 15:30 GMT at St Lucia, Pakistan vs. Australia

Head to Head: 4 played Pakistan have won 2 and Australia have won 2 (the last two)

Tournament Performance: Australia have 100% winning record whereas Pakistan have 40% winning record, complete contrast in form and consistency.

Last time they met: Australia won by 34 runs on 2/5/10 in the pool fixture.

Pre Tournament Calls: Australia will emerge champions whereas Pakistan would reach the semi finals and be possible contenders to go the distance! At least one is likely to be right in the end!

Prediction/Verdict: Backing Pakistan obviously! Undoubtedly they will need to play out of their skins to beat them, however its T20 and anything can happen ! If Pakistan express themselves and play aggressively and fearlessly they can do it but Australia stand as firm favourites as they have won 10 consecutive games of cricket in a row against Pakistan at international level.

How the match will be determined: How Pakistani batsmen play Australia's fast bowling attack who have been highly successful in the competition particularly Dirk Nannes.

Key Player: Nannes and Watson for Australia whereas Salman Butt and Ajmal for Pakistan in my view.

Who will make the final on Sunday 16th May at 15:30 GMT at the venue of Barbados?

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Believe It Or Not, Pakistan R In The Semis !

Saeed Ajmal took a 4 for as Pakistan beat the Proteas in the St Lucia sunshine on Monday and subsequently by doing so have miraculously managed to reach the final 4 out of the blue !

However, it was team England who helped them achieve this by beating the Proteas on Saturday and then the Kiwis on Monday even without their star performer KP for the latter as he was away for the birth of his first son !

England vs. RSA

England vs. NZ

Therefore England had won all 3 of their super 8 fixtures with beating Pakistan as well, they (Eng) topped the group with maximum points of 6. Pakistan/NZ and RSA were left with 2 points each, however the net run rate favoured Pakistan and therefore Afridi's men progress to the knockout/climax stages of the competition! It was looking unlikely and improbable but yet is the most overwhelming eventuality for our passionate and ever following supporters to express a sense of celebration with!

Pakistan are now just one match away from a third consecutive final appearance, what a formidable achievement that would be IF it happens! I say "if" because by the looks of things Pakistan will be facing a really tough opponent in their semi fixture as they finished second in their super 8 group and therefore will play a stronger team ; the team that finished top of the other group! The exact opponent is still undecided as I convey this article!

Ajmal is Pakistan's leading wicket taker by a fair distance as things currently stand with 10 wickets in the competition, the 3rd highest whereas Salman Butt is Pakistan's leading run scorer with an average of 47.75 including 2 half centuries against Bangladesh and NZ respectively. Pakistan will need these two key and ever developing players to continue their good form going into the climax stages of the short and exciting tournament!

Although Pakistan have only won 3 competitive games of cricket this year as a nation, the victory against the RSA yesterday was a highly significant one and now Pakistan should be all confident and hopeful of going the distance and bringing back the cup to Pakistan once more ! My hopes are with BoomBoom's gang !

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Cricket Can Be Cruel ! :(

Pakistan lost to NZ by 1 run in a super 8 encounter ! Very disappointing result it must be said and I personally am heartbroken!

Mathematically Pakistan can still progress to the semis nonetheless !

Actually us getting through to the semis is much easier than I initially thought despite the painful defeat yesterday!

Additionally, in T20 cricket anything is possible !

Our title defence is still a mathematical possibility I optimistically say!

I totally agree like many others that we don’t deserve to go through though, but my heart wants it to be deep down !

Friday, 7 May 2010

Australia vs. India - The Battle of the Titans !

Big Super 8 encounter coming our way in a few hours from group F!!

Shall be a cracker!

Excitement and entertainment indeed !!

Group E


Group F


RSA beat NZ yesterday in a group E encounter !!

This means its a "do or die" for NZ as well as Pakistan tomorrow !

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Pakistani Perspective

Could an inspirational moment like this below turn Pakistan's fate once more like it did last year !

Pakistan finds itself in familiar territory once more. The equation from here is simple and no rocket science by any means, win 4 games are we are crowned champions once more, lose a game and we will be eliminated or lose our champions status we proudly hold. This is exactly similar to last year actually, Pakistan lost to Sri Lanka in their first super eights encounter and therefore needed to win from their onwards which they did against NZ, Ireland, RSA and the Lankans, the latter in the final on June 22nd at Lords. Similarly, just like last year we face NZ in a do or die situation. Pakistan holds a clean 100% winning record against the Kiwis in twenty over internationals, however although this should give the lads some confidence going ahead into Saturday’s all important game, complacency just isn’t the way forward and Pakistan must ensure they deliver the goods that day and impress one and all and really play like a “champion” and determined unit in order to please their much loved and ever following passionate supporters.

My message:"Pakistan should play Hammad Azam, Khalid Latif and Abdur Rehman in the next match... now its do or die time for team Pakistan, get a grip boys!"

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

What Matters Most to us... Feel Free to Share Yours

In terms of T20 comps.....: Mine are

1) ICC T20 WC

2) CL T20 (If Pakistan representative included)

3) IPL (if Pakistani players included)

4) County Cricket T20 Comp

5) RBS T20

6) KCL

In terms of big series:

1) ICC tournament

2) Ashes

3) Pakistan-India

For Babar Naveed

In terms of T20 comps:

1) RBS T20

2) ICC T20

3) IPL (Pakistanis included)

4) KCL

5) English County T20

6) CL T20 (Pakistanis included)

In terms of big series:

1) Pakistan-India

2) ICC tournaments

3) Ashes

Monday, 3 May 2010

SL vs. Zimbabwe.... Game On !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A "Banana skinner" for SL

Murali has been ruled out of the ICC T20WC 2010, a big blow for Sri Lanka obviously as he needs no explanation why, he is a legendary performer. In an hour or two Lankans take on Zimbabwe in a do or die situation. Ultimately and realistically, Lankans should win this considering their seeding, resources of world class players and the bounty of experienced heads to come to the fold when it matters on days like today. However, the Zimbabwe team have had a resounding and highly successful preparation campaign with wins over Australia and Pakistan, yes this is not a typo, its Australia and Pakistan okay, two leading forces! They aren't to be underestimated! Moreover, in T20 cricket "impossible is nothing!" So we may be in for an upset here, I enthusiastically say as I want some "drama" on the field today! We have called the upset here first at BBK ;-)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Pakistan vs. Australia Review

Shane Watson was on fire, it was stand and deliver stuff for the ever impressive cricketer !

Pakistan lost to Australia by 34 runs yesterday in an amusing and action packed pool match which included the likes of a 28 run over and a 5 wicket maiden over, incredible truly astonishing stuff, endless adjectives can't simply do justice to what we saw on the field by any means of the imagination! Already the 2010 ICC T20 thingy as Jarrod Kimber at CWB says, is turning out to be an eventful one!

Most probably Pakistan have qualified for the super eights I dear say despite this defeat against the curse of the Aussies, yes another one for team Pakistan, but they did show some intent and positive signs to take away nevertheless.

Shane Watson and David Hussey played tremendously well and dominated the Pakistani bowling attack to all parts of the ground. Pakistan came back strong in the closing stages and funnily enough actually managed to bowl out the Aussies on the last ball of their allocated 20 overs, who would have thought that was possible at the end of the 19th over?

192 was always going to be a tough target and proved too much for Pakistan's batsmen. It was pleasing to see Afridi find some form with the bat as well as Misbah. But Australia, dominated proceedings for most parts of the game, although they had their forgettable moments too, they were the better side on the day and look a strong outfit, strong in almost all departments.

I firmly believe from what I have seen over the last couple of days that Australia and India are the only two sides standing in Pakistan's way to re-live glory once more come 16th May. Pakistan should reach the semi finals at the minimum of expectation and hope they don't have to meet the Aussies again in the competition because their chances of defeating them seem really bleak especially when taking into consideration the humiliation they have taken from them over the winter.

Pak vs. Bangla Review By HR

Pakistan has started their campaign with a win against Bangladesh by 21 runs, Pakistan started with announcing the squad 3 hours before the start of the match surprisingly dropping Mohamad Asif from the starting XI. Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat first on a decent batting track, a foundation of 142 runs for the opening wicket was posted with Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal scoring 73 each of 46 and 55 balls respectively. Bangladesh usually depends on their spinners to get them wickets but unfortunately for them they failed miserably against Pakistan who are considered to be good players of spin bowling, some wayward bowling from Bangladesh helped Pakistan post a healthy total of 172 runs. Salman Butt answered his critics well with his batting that got him the Man of the match award as well, scoring at a good strike rate of 158.69 proving that T20 is not only the game of hitters and unorthodox batsmen.

Bangladesh started their chase by loosing Imrul Kayes in the very first over who faced just 2 deliveries for his duck, Mohamad Aamer carried on the tradition of taking wicket in his very first over of a tournament. Sooner losing Tamim Iqbal it was all upon the shoulders of Mohamad Ashraful and Captain Shakib Al Hasan. The pair batted brilliantly and proved to be very dangerous for Pakistan, they played some outstanding shots in their stand of 91 runs which was finally broken by Mohamad Sami who got rid of Shakib Al Hasan by getting him caught in the deep, Bangladesh never came out of that blow and Mohamad Ashraful followed soon to the pavilion. Bangladesh fell 21 runs short of Pakistan total, Mohamad Sami ended up with figures of 3-29 whereas Mohamad Aamer was very economical and went on to take 2 wickets by just giving 16 runs in his quota of 4 overs. However Pakistan always missed a 3rd seamer especially when Ashraful and Shakib were batting.

Pakistan will be playing their 2nd league game today against a strong Australian side that starts at 13:30 local, 17:30 GMT.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Salman Butt, who would have thought so ?

Salman Butt struck 73 off just 46 balls as Pakistan began their T20 campaign with a 21 run victory over Bangladesh on Saturday at St Lucia!

Salman put on a formidable opening stand of 142 with Kamran Akmal who made a 76 off 55 balls! At the half way stage Pakistan were in a commanding position at 172/3 having won the toss and elected to bat, setting the Bengalis a run rate of 8.65 rpo to win the match.

Bangla started poorly having lost a wicket in the very first over, a reward of accuracy for Aamer as he built the pressure and enticed a rash shot from the left hander. Tamim Iqbal who was back from injury looked good before being caught and bowled by Hafeez the offspinner who wasn't needed with the bat today following the brilliance of the opening stand between the two Lahore players.

Sakib and Ashraful put on a fighting stand and for a few minutes worried the Pakistani camp and its supporters, however Mohammad Sami's 2 wicket for 3 runs in the 16th over of the BD innings turned the match equation in Pakistan's favour and from there onwards they sealed victory fairly comfortably. Mohammad Sami took 3-29 and Aamer impressed once more as he claimed top bowling figures of 2-16 in his allocated 4 overs.

Unlike the 16th May 2007 where Pakistan and India were both humiliated by the minnows at the WI WC by Bangla and Ireland respectively, they ensured 1st May 2010 wasn't to be a similar day at a Caribbean carnival for their star studded players and passionate determined supporters to forget by!

Overall, a pleasing result for Pakistan despite Shahid Afridi not coming to the party everything else more or less went to plan and Pakistan now look forward to beating the Aussies at the same venue tomorrow.

2 Hours and a bit to go !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Todays team against the Bengalis has been announced and is as follows :

Salman Butt*

My message to the players:"Dil Dil Pakistan… in a few hours we will be launching our campaign ICC T20 2010, we are the champs, lets play like champs !! Go BoomBoom and the gang !"

There is currently the India vs. Afghanistan game in progression and the outfield is slow, ball is doing a bit too both for the spinners and seamers, looks a good wicket!

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