Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Pakistan World Cup 2019

India continued their dominance over Pakistan in World Cups, beating them for the seventh time in succession as they won comfortably by 89 runs at Old Trafford. Rain was expected to play spoil sport in Manchester, but fortunately didn’t have much of a role to play, with a result guaranteed by the time the heavens really opened up. Here are our five talking points from this game. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- India vs Pakistan World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis- Pakistan vs Australia World Cup 2019

Australia bounced back from their loss to India as they beat Pakistan by 41 runs at Taunton on Wednesday. Here are our talking points from this fixture- effectively the first full World Cup game this week after the South Africa-West Indies and Bangladesh-Sri Lanka clashes were washed out.

Middle order implosion hurts Pakistan

Chasing 308, Pakistan were purring along at 136/2 at the half way mark, with both Imam Ul Haq and Mohammad Hafeez looking well set. Australian skipper Aaron Finch was forced to turn back to Patrick Cummins to stem the flow of runs. However in the space of fifteen deliveries, the innings simply imploded.

Cummins’ first ball of this spell was a short wide one going down leg. Imam went after it, but only succeeded in edging to wicket keeper Alex Carey and Australia had their breakthrough. In the next over, Finch bowled an absolutely terrible full toss- Hafeez could’ve dispatched it anywhere, but he smashed it straight down Mitch Starc’s throat on the deep mid-wicket boundary. Cummins then got Shoaib Malik to edge one to Carey for a second ball duck and Pakistan’s chase had imploded in the space of two and a half overs.

Kane Richardson, perhaps Australia’s worst pacer on the day, then accounted for the dangerous Asif Ali in the 30th over, reducing Pakistan to 160/6.

The last second DRS review that sealed Pakistan’s fate

Despite their middle order wobbles, Pakistan’s lower order- Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz in particular, had mounted a spirited fightback in the company of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed.

The equation had been reduced to 45 to win off 6 overs- very gettable in this age, but with only three wickets in hand. Finch threw the ball to Starc, and the left armer immediately struck, getting Wahab to edge one to Carey. The umpire didn’t give it out and Finch, perhaps not convinced himself, only opted for DRS with one second left on the clock. As luck would have it, Snicko showed an edge and with Starc taking out Mohammad Amir two deliveries later, Pakistan’s slim hopes were extinguished.

Australia lucky to come out on the winning side

Pakistan, like the West Indies before them, would be wondering how they let this one slip. All it needed was some smart cricket. Like it had happened in the Windies game, Cummins and Starc gave Australia crucial breakthroughs just when the opposition thought they were gaining control of the game.

CWC table after Australia vs Pakistan-2019

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Five Talking Points & Fan Analysis Pakistan vs England- Cricket World Cup 2019

Perhaps the game of the World Cup so far, as Pakistan defied all pre-match odds to stun England at Trent Bridge. The visitors racked up 348 after being sent in by Eoin Morgan, and England, despite having two centurions in the chase, fell 14 runs short. Here are our talking points from this epic clash in Nottingham.

You never quite know which Pakistan team will turn up

Three days ago, this Pakistan team had been thrashed at this very ground by a West Indies side that had barely managed to qualify for the World Cup themselves. Today they pulled themselves up to halt their record losing streak in ODI’s and stun pre-tournament favourites England. It musn’t be forgotten that just a month ago, they had been beaten 4-0 by England in a bilateral series. For the neutrals, Pakistan remain a hugely entertaining side- a team that can beat the best, but also lose to the worst. After five days of CWC 2019, they now hold the records for both the highest and lowest scores in this tournament.

Did Eoin Morgan err by opting to field first?

Did Morgan make the same mistake as Faf du Plessis did yesterday by sending Pakistan in? There was no scoreboard pressure for the visitors to deal with when they batted, and while England tried their best to keep pace with the required rate, there’s a reason why 300+ scores aren’t chased that often in World Cups, and Trevor Bayliss’ men eventually fell short. Pakistan are not known to be a good chasing team and bowling remains their stronger suit.

The redemption of Wahab Riaz

It’s not often that one uses the word “redemption” for a bowler who goes for over 80 runs, but it was apt for Wahab Riaz. The much maligned pacer (he had been publicly criticised by coach Micky Arthur), swung the game in Pakistan’s favour by getting the wickets of Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes in successive balls in the 48th over. Not quite in the same league as Wasim Akram’s legendary deliveries to dismiss Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in the 1992 final, but just reward for a pacer who had toiled hard and should’ve got more wickets on the day.

Pakistan Starting Line up vs England-2019

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Five Talking Points & Analysis- West Indies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge Cricket World Cup 2019

Pakistan suffered their 11th straight ODI defeat as their World Cup campaign got off to a nightmarish start against the West Indies at Trent Bridge. Here are our talking points from this CWC clash.

Pakistan undone by pace and bounce

Trent Bridge was expected to be a batting paradise, but Pakistan simply struggled to deal with short and back of a length deliveries here, with more than half their side falling victim to it. Spin was considered to be the Windies’ weak link, but captain Jason Holder didn’t have to even bring Ashley Nurse on as his pacers did all the damage upfront. Oshane Thomas was the pick of the lot, claiming the vital wickets of Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan and Wahab Riaz in his 4/27 spell.

Pakistan were dismissed for just 105 in 21.4 overs- their shortest ever innings in World Cup history, and their second lowest total after the 74 against England in that rain-hit clash in Adelaide back in 1992. Continue reading “Five Talking Points & Analysis- West Indies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge Cricket World Cup 2019”

Five Talking Points from South Africa vs Sri Lanka & Pakistan vs Afghanistan- World Cup Warm-ups

The first set of warm-up fixtures for the Cricket World Cup kicked off earlier today with South Africa squaring off against Sri Lanka in Cardiff and Asian neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan locking horns in Bristol. Interestingly enough, the side winning the toss ended up losing in both fixtures. Here are our talking points from the two games.

A much needed half century for Hashim Amla

Given his sketchy performances over the last year and the burden of personal circumstances (his father hasn’t been keeping well), there were some doubts over whether Hashim Amla should’ve been aboard the plane to England. The veteran however remains a classy player, and his 65 (61) would’ve boosted his confidence ahead of the main tournament.

Faf du Plessis and Andile Phehlukwayo again instrumental in South Africa victory

Both Du Plessis and Phehlukwayo have established themselves as mainstays of the Proteas ODI team over the last couple of years. While not quite in the same league as AB de Villiers, Du Plessis has taken his game to a new level in the last 18 months, and is South Africa’s best batsman in their current XI. He again top scored for his side with a fantastic 88 (69)

Young Phehlukwayo has established himself as South Africa’s premier all-rounder, and punctured Sri Lanka’s chase with 4/36 in his 7 overs, including the key wicket of the in-form Kusal Mendis.

The weaknesses remain weaknesses for South Africa

Chris Morris’ inconsistency with the ball and David Miller’s struggles against sub-continental opposition are well documented, and both again failed to deliver against the Lankans. Miller was the only player not to get into double figures, while Morris, while impressive with the bat, was again wayward with the ball.

CWC Warmups

Pakistan’s power-hitting is very dependent on Asif Ali

Pakistan perhaps have three players in this side who can hit from the ball go- Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Imad Wasim. With Ali unavailable and Zaman falling cheaply, Pakistan didn’t quite have the firepower to cross 300. They were 203/4 in the 38th over, and only managed 262 in the end. It’s a major area of concern for Micky Arthur. Babar Azam was magnificent, but cricket is a team game, and Pakistan’s batting, it appears, hasn’t exactly kept pace with the times. Losses to Australia and England were fine, but this defeat to Afghanistan, albeit in a warm-up, will definitely hurt.

Wahab Riaz provides a timely reminder of why he was selected

Wahab Riaz nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for Pakistan with his fantastic 48th over. Displaying both pace and reverse swing, he knocked over both Afghan skipper Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran, and nearly had Rashid Khan as well. Wahab’s abilities with the ball are sometimes Wasim-esque, and with his spell here, he might have just walked into the Pakistan XI ahead of their tournament opener against the West Indies.

Pakistan Final CWC 2019 15 Man Squad & New AJ Fordham Cricket World Cup Jersey

Reigning Champions Trophy holders Pakistan have revealed their final 15 member squad for the World Cup. The Men in Green have also unveiled their new WC shirt, made by England based company AJ Fordham.

Pakistan Final World Cup Squad 2019

What are the differences between Pakistan’s first squad and the final CWC squad?

Three new players are in the final squad- Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz and Asif Ali, with Junaid Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Abid Ali making way.

Why has Wahab Riaz been recalled to the Pakistan squad for the 2019 World Cup?

Wahab’s last ODI for Pakistan came in June 2017 against India. He went for 87 runs in his 8.4 overs and it appeared that his international career was over when national coach Micky Arthur publicly criticised him.

However the struggles of Pakistan’s bowlers in English conditions- they conceded over 300 in every game, has made the selectors feel the need for an out and out pacer, and Wahab, who can easily hit 145+, fits that bill. It’s a controversial selection no doubt, and Junaid Khan and even Usman Shinwari could count themselves unlucky. Junaid even took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, releasing a photo of his mouth taped and saying “Sach Karwa hai” (Truth is bitter).

Junaid Khan Sach Karwa Hai Tweet

Amir’s selection, despite his recent struggles, is perhaps more understandable. His CT final spell has almost earned him legendary status in Pakistan and the selectors will be hoping that he can come back into form, with the World Cup also being held in the same country as the Champions Trophy.

Amir didn’t play the England ODI’s because of chickenpox, but it appears staying away from the carnage has elevated him up Pakistan’s bowling hierarchy.

Shadab Khan was a major doubt after contracting hepatitis, but has apparently recovered in time for the World Cup.

Pakistan don’t have a reserve wicket keeper

The squad announced has only one specialist keeper- skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed. While Inzamam Ul Haq has stated that Mohammad Rizwan and Abid Ali will both be in England on standby, the latter’s omission from the squad means that Pakistan will be hoping that their keeper doesn’t break down.

Pakistan’s new Cricket World Cup kit- photos

New Pakistan World Cup 2019 Shirt

Back of Pakistan WC Kit 2019

Wiaan Mulder called up to Proteas squad for 2019 Sri Lanka Tests

South Africa have called up all rounder Wiaan Mulder to their squad for the two test series against Sri Lanka at home later this month. The 20 year old is the only addition to the squad that convincingly beat Pakistan 3-0 at home.

Against Pakistan, South Africa fielded a 4 man attack in the form of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier and Keshav Maharaj in the opener at Centurion. Olivier, who only got into the XI because of Vernon Philander’s injury, effectively made himself undroppable with a 11fer at SuperSport Park. When Philander returned, they chose to go with an all pace attack in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, with Maharaj having to make way.

In the third test at the Wanderers, the Proteas were without skipper Faf du Plessis, which allowed Zubayr Hamza to make his debut. The Cobras batsman gave a decent account of himself on debut, and it could well be a shoot out between him and Theunis de Bruyn as to whom makes way when the captain comes back. Continue reading “Wiaan Mulder called up to Proteas squad for 2019 Sri Lanka Tests”

South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd T20 2019 Wanderers Attendance 14883 Match Report

South Africa’s bowlers held their nerve at the death as Pakistan squandered a golden opportunity to level the three game T20 series in front of a 14,883 strong crowd at the Wanderers. Chasing 189, the visitors fell seven runs short and thus saw their 11 series winning streak in bilateral T20’s broken by the Proteas.

The Proteas gave debuts to Janneman Malan and Lutho Sipamla, while Pakistan brought back Shaheen Shah Afridi. David Miller, in his maiden game as SA captain, lost the toss, and his opposite number Shoaib Malik opted to ask the Proteas to take first guard. Continue reading “South Africa vs Pakistan 2nd T20 2019 Wanderers Attendance 14883 Match Report”

All round Phehlukwayo helps Proteas level series- South Africa v Pakistan second ODI report Durban crowd 11297

A fantastic all round performance from Andile Phehlukwayo helped South Africa level the series in Durban as they beat Pakistan by five wickets at Kingsmead. The Dolphins star first took 4/22 with the ball, his best ever bowling figures in LOI cricket and followed it with an unbeaten 69, also highest ever ODI score for the Proteas, as a KZN crowd of 11,297 saw the home side chase down 204 with eight overs to spare.

South Africa made two changes, dropping Dwaine Pretorius and Imran Tahir and bringing in Dane Paterson and Tabraiz Shamsi as they switched to a 6-1-4 from the 6-2-3 employed in Port Elizabeth. Like the Proteas, Pakistan also chose to bring in two new faces, with CT Blitz star Hussain Talat and young left arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi replacing Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari respectively. Continue reading “All round Phehlukwayo helps Proteas level series- South Africa v Pakistan second ODI report Durban crowd 11297”

South Africa v Pakistan Second ODI preview- Can Proteas level series in Durban?

South Africa will look to level the ODI series when they take on Pakistan in the second ODI at Kingsmead on Tuesday afternoon. The Proteas didn’t do much wrong in the first ODI in Port Elizabeth, but were comfortably beaten by the visitors, who extended their good run at the venue against the hosts.

Durban, like PE, is also on the coast, and is another venue where Pakistan fare quite well in the shorter formats of the game.

In PE, the Proteas gave debuts to Rassie van der Dussen and Duanne Olivier and went with a 6-2-3 split, playing two all rounders in the form of Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo. Continue reading “South Africa v Pakistan Second ODI preview- Can Proteas level series in Durban?”