Yunus need to retire, Akmal be warned
Gul was totally off colour, bowled like a novice, pitching away on the leg side to concede wides, and unable to find the line and length, he is famous for. Rhythm seemed to had deserted him completely. Saeed Ajmal, was never in the match winning mould, pitching short, forgetting that his principal duty was to bowl on middle and off. Why do our bowlers pick a different line, and be hit on the leg side , or concede wides, is least understandable.
Compared to that Sri Lankans were mostly on target, bowling within the stumps and were rewarded in their job of containing the rivals, and frustrating them to an extent that latter order collapsed like a house of cards—8 wickets for 33 runs—unpardonable.
The tale of woes would remain incomplete without reference to horrendous lack of confidence or planning in seniors like Yunus Khan, Shahid Afridi, and Umar Akmal. Imagine 6 of our batsmen in the line up of 11, came back without scoring a run. Nothing could be more shocking than that. Time has come to bid good bye to Yunus.His total in 4 innings is just 10 runs, and Akmal, a batsman with explosive potential and talent, possessing an array of strokes in his armoury, fully capable of taking on the best of the bowlers in the world, managed just 15 in six outings. Selectors now will have to seriously think of bidding good bye to Yunus, and awarding serious punishment to Akmal for their callousness.
The way, Yunus, Akmal and Shahid got out, the first two snicking to wicket keer without even moving their feets,and coming in line of the ball, and then, Shahid known for his prowess, and mighty hitting, handing over a lollypop to short cover. The way the trio fell to indiscretion, can only be described as some sort of joke, with players of such repute and calibre, acting like characters in a circus, little realizing that the cost was too heavy to be borne by their side, and the countrymen.
After Hafeez earned his fifth duck in his six outings, lofting too early in the innings and that too to a fielder, placed to save the boundary, Azhar and Asad Shafeeq, did show responsibility, and after that came the only worthwhile feature of the innings, with skipper Misbahul Haq, and youngster Azhar Ali, putting up a planned and wonderful partnership. They brought the side into winning position, but once Misbah mistimed an attempted hit for a six, and was caught splendidly at mid-off, it was all over. Umr Akmal was terrified by the three successive bouncers from Malinga, who his captain had recommissioned soon after the long awaited breakthrough came for him.
Akmal seemed shaken, and snicked behind in the very next over for a duck. In came a Perrera and Pakistanis gifted him with a hat-trick. That is not to steal credit from his gallant efforts to bowl to a side with such huge stalwarts, but three wickets in three balls, was something, that remains indigestible. Nothing wrong in the wicket.It was pure and simple carelessness from those facing him.
They offered their wickets in the platter, refusing to use their feet,and without trying to be in line with the ball. All the Pakistanis needed after Misbah’s loss after a gallant effort, was to rely on singles, for an average of 6.4 in the remaining over was an easy target. But we made a mess of it. There were two turning points in the match which was well in Pakistan’s control from the word go.
Umar Gul dropping Sangakkara at 37, and then he emerged in a different mood, aggressive and punhsing, hitting sixes and fours for a beautiful 97.
Once Sohail Tanveer had yorked Jaywardene, Sangakarra too was held superbly by Asad Shafeeq off Saaed Ajmal who has come in for some harsher beating. The rest just could not do much, and the match was in our pocket. But Alas, we invited disaster to overtake us.
Sangakarra and Jaywardened played gem of innings, partnering for a solid foundation which saw their team reach 243 in the allotted 50 overs, which despite rains, had remained unaltered. Azhar Ali, showed that he has grit and determination, and remained unbeaten for his 81, only to feel sorry in the end. His colleagues never lent him a helping hand. It is said that Azhar is Test material, but even in one day match, he showed that he could stay on the wicket and play some of the loveliest shots in the book.
In the end, one is constrained to say that despite foreign coaches, no improvement in batting, and fielding has yet been seen. In fact fielding, is even worse than before.
What then in Fountains is doing? Pakistan threw away a golden opportunity to win the match, go in the lead, and then look for another victory on Monday to lift the series 4-1, and also carry the T-20 trophy with that. They, at best can now for an equalizer in the last of the ODI on 18th June.