Pakistanís dominance was complete in 1st ODI in national hockey team
Indisputably, the batting side too performed this time. Misbah pairing in two valuable partnership, with Hafeez and then with Umar Gul. That only goes to prove that inclusions of players like Yunus Khan, Misbah or Asad Shafeeq, was necessary for the innings to gain maturity. Yunus could not last long, but that has been always a problem with him. His first half an hour or so at the wicket, invariably has a question mark, but once he gets going, he puts on valuable score on board, and lends strength to the side. But Misbah is cool,does take time to settle down, and on Thursday also, he grafted himself, before opting for strokes. His presence was at the wicket, was a source of strength for Hafeez, and more than that to Umar Akmal, who in last two matches, had felled to indiscretion, playing recklessly on both the occasions.
Hafeez regained confidence, after having three successive ducks, and then walking back quickly in the 20-0ver games, but in the first of the ODIs, he played a super knock, displayed tremendous responsibility, mixing it with aggression. He had 5 four and a 6.
A half century partnership with his skipper laid a solid foundation for the objective to be attained without much hassle. Tnen Umar Akmal, displayed his potential also, involved in an equally responsible second partnership, and although Misbah was unlucky to run himself out, Akmal came back without being beaten.
A total of 135 in 42 over, curtailed by two rain interruptions, was not difficult, but keeping in mind that that the Pakistanis have often messed things up, and allowed the match to slip out of their hands, was easily attained. Pakistanís 6-wicket victory was emphatic. Lankans were outplayed, outmanouvred, and outskilled in every department of the game. From the start, they remained under pressure, and once Umzar Gul, with his fiery over, bundled out three top order batsmen, Dilshan, Jaywardene, and Chandimal, seeing his stumps shattered behind him, Mohammad Sami from the other end,accounted for Sangakarra, trapping him in front, Matthews and Kulasekkara. Umar Gulís first three overs were a lethal mixture of blistering pace, and slower deliveries, which neither Dilshan(off colour also and still in hang over of the T-20s), nor Jaywardene had answers to those.
Young Sami,, coming back after absence of two years and 111 OdIs, looked much improved bowler, with his line and length, and off-cutters. He bowled with pace and accuracy, straying on a couple of occasions but that is normal. That could happen to any bowler, or even those listed among the most outstanding class in the world. Hafeez had two wickets, but Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, and Sohail Tanveer, though luckless, nevertheless were impressive with their deliveries.
Credit however is due to Thrimanne,who in a rear guard action, put on 50 valuable runs for his side, himself returning unbeaten with his 42. He batted with eloquence, and if Hafeez had a six in his innings, so did Thrimmane.
Pakistan completed the task in 35th of the 42 culled overs because of rains under the Duckworth-Lewis formula, but except for Azhar Ali, who should have exercised a bit of restraint, fell while chasing an outgoing delivery. When Younus too fell, Pakistan needed caution, but Misbah promoting himself in batting order, played the key role as skipper and a guide. Misbah also took a splendid low catch in the slips which lists him as one of the top fielders in the close-in positions in the world.
As for second argument of Pakistan being the best bowling side. The argument cannot be dismissed easily. It does have lot of material in it, but so far Pakistan has been winning because of bowlers on slower wickets, in Dubai, Abdu Dhabi or Sri Lanka. The real test of the Pakistani bowling will come during the visit to South Africa or against England, when on bouncy and fast tracks, the ability of our bowlers will be truly judged. That is not to say that we haveínt done good against Australia or England. We drew the series against Australia 1-1. And if only the Pakistan cricket board forcefully pleads the case for pardon for Aamir (under ban for 5 years from ICC), it would lend authority to our bowling attack. Aamir, in this young age, has done wonders, having prized scalps in the bag, including of Ricky Ponting.
The PCB must fight for his early release to be available for Pakistan. He is a superb bowler and a brilliant career in the making was cut short by a mistake, which he has already been punished.He will a great asset against South Africa and England, the two series, coming soon after the T-20 World Cup in September this year.