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Pakistan vs Australia: Playing for South Asia

September 29, 2009

aussia pak cricket shot stumped

Even if peace talks are stalled between India and Pakistan, warming relations are on the cards for South Asian’s this week. With India’s chances of surviving the ICC Champions Trophy contingent to a Pakistan win on Wednesday against Australia, Dhoni and company will be watching closely in hopes for a victory for the men in green. So what’s it going to take:

  • Strong Opening:
    • Imran Nazir can’t be hasty. He has a tendency to get carried away after an early four, or six. Overconfidence can be a hinderance. And he can’t rely on hopes of weak fielding as he might have done in previous matches. He should play his natural game, hit a few boundaries overt time, but keep on guard.
    • Kamran Akmal has fair potential, even if he’s not my top choice for opener because of a lacking consistency. Key for him is simply: “don’t get out”. Allow Nazir to handle hiking up a solid run rate and understand that if his partner does get out, skilled batsman such as Malik and Afridi are behind him. Plus it’s well known that Pakistan can generate 100+ runs with middle/tail end batsman if need be. So Akmal should refrain from taking leadership, hold his wicket and play big shots if given safe opportunities to do so.
  • Discipline:
    • Umar Gul must be more careful. With a 9.16 economy in the India match, and zero wickets, he needs to step it up. Gul has to take charge as Pakistan’s most experienced opening bowler with this squad.  There’s no such thing as negligible extras when playing against the Aussies, it’s just too costly.
  • Wicket Taking:
    • When Australia loses a wicket, they face opposition with equal or even greater confidence than before. Their batting doesn’t falter, it goes up a notch. So what Pakistan needs to do is ensure a constant aggressiveness in bowling. Keeping an Aussie run rate down in the first five overs is critical. If you give the Aussies a chance to consistently gain confidence from the onset, they’ll run with it and it’ll be hard to chase/contain from there.
  • Fielding:
    • Shahid Afirdi & Shoaib Malik are the top fieldsmen. But it’s going to take a concerted effort on the entire Pakistan side to avoid weak fielding that  can wind up expensive in the end. The Australian concept seems to be that when a fielder drops a catch off their hit, they punish bowlers by hitting one out of the park, as if to consider the misfielding an opportunity for a bonus hit, or a free wicket of sorts. It’s an aggressive strategy underscoring the importance of fielding against this team.

The game plan for Pakistan ultimately is: Cautious Intensity. No extras, keep the Aussie run rate down, maintain wickets and the runs will come. Besides, Pakistan’s already secured their seat in the Semi Finals. A safe victory is really all we ask for. Well, in the case of the Indian squad, given that their survival is reliant on both a Pakistan win and an astronomical run rate against the West Indies in their next match, they might be hoping Pakistan get a little more than just a “safe” victory   😉

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11 comments

  1. are u a cricket coach??

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    • i wish! 🙂

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    • tum kahan rahti ho

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  2. A very good post.

    Here are a few thoughts:

    Imran Nazir needs to be out of the team if for nothing else, then for the shot he attempted against WI on the ball that got him. It was atrocious to watch. I don’t understand why we keep giving chances to people based on ONE performance, or the promise of ONE, somewhere down the line. We have a pretty long tail with Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohd Aamir and Rana Naved and we cannot afford a disfunctional opening stand because that essentially leaves the middle 4 to make the runs. Bring in Fawad Alam and promote him to number 3. Have Shoaib Malik open batting with Kamran Akmal. Atleast he won’t look bad while playing a shot where he gets out. With Fawad Alam, you will have another fielder in the field who can bloody move with the ball.

    That brings me to Rana Naved. That guy bowled utter crap along with Gul. The only reason why he got wickets in the end was because Indians were willing to gift them away and they were tailenders at that point anyway. He should make way for Asif as even a match practice lacking Asif could do better than him.

    With bowling, Umar Gul should expect to not bowl his full quota of overs. If it is a spinning wicket, we should consider sharing his overs with Shoaib Malik. We have Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi who can take the other 20 overs. Between Aamir, Asif and the rest, we should be able to cover 50 without Gul’s inaccurate bowling because, I assure you Aussies will zero in on him and punish him without mercy if he bowled the way he did against India.

    In the end, it would be great to see Indians rooting for Pakistan for once. I have always rooted for India unless they are playing against Pakistan and its about time, I got some return on that, because get plenty of flak from Pakistanis for supporting India even if they were not playing Pakistan.

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  3. PAKISTANI TEAM IS SO SO SO SO GOOOOOOOOOOD & I LOVE PAKISTANI COUNTRY…………….. JEO TO ESE

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  4. This web is best.

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  5. so pakistan lost, a hell of a close match, with rana naveed bowling like never before. His accurate swinging yorkers, and the superb two maidens bowled closed to the end of the match almost turned the game on our favor. Plus the guy can do some serious hard hitting lower down the order. I dont understand why hes at the receiving end of all the criticism ALL the time. Getting back to the teams collective performance, one must commend the aussie tail enders composure, sticking right to the end, scoring singles, keeping their wicket while facing some seriously competitive fast bowlers (Rana Naveed) and spinners (ajmal). Younis khan, no doubt a very passionate captain with a broken finger, could have called in the fieldsmen closer during the last three overs, as the aussies scored some vital runs there. All in all, a very entertaining match, considering Pakistan had a semi final seat already.
    P.S. Usually, ive read some fantastic stuff regarding Foreign Policy by the Zainab on this blog, but this short gem on cricket was equally insightful! Keep the great stuff coming!

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    • Great analysis, thanks for taking the time to share Umar.

      Also really appreciate your kind words and am glad you enjoyed the piece 🙂 🙂

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  6. […] Affairs, U.S. Politics, Religion, and sometimes Economics (if I'm up to it) « Pakistan vs Australia: Playing for South Asia Down to the Last Ball – Electrifying Bowling & Gritty Batting October 1, […]

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  7. I LOVE U SHAIDAFRIDI

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  8. nice advice but well Imran nazir is praobably deaf so can’t expect something sensible from him but once he had his day he is devistating, Umar is little out of form but he seems to be getting it back, Asif is back with good show. Batsmen are main concern for semi final specially, difficult pitch.

    best of luck to Pakistan

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