ODI Cricket: Gul Keeps Series Hopes Alive




Umar Gul

Umar Gul

The Oval: Umar Gul provided Pakistan with a rare glimmer of joy on its controversial tour of England as his 6 wicket haul clinched a 23-run victory over the home side in the third ODI on Friday night. The pace bowler single-handedly destroyed England’s chance of taking an unassailable 3-0 series lead in the five-match series after Pakistan had been restricted to 241 all out after choosing to bat first.

“I thought that our total wasn’t enough to be defended. I thought we could have posted 30 or 40 runs more on the board, but a good side can defend any total,” Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said. “Umar Gul was amazing, he was perfect today but Razzaq and Saeed Ajmal also bowled really well. We can definitely win this series.”

“Chasing 240 you back yourself to win at The Oval, but it was a fabulous spell from Gul,” Strauss said. “We are disappointed but all credit goes to Pakistan. Gul got the ball swinging both ways and that is always tough to deal with especially when the ball is landing at 140 kmph+ every time. It all went wrong with the bat.”

“You wouldn’t want to be in a position where a bowler gets 6 wickets but we will try and learn the lessons but you have to give credit to the way Pakistan defended that total.” “It has been a really tough tour on and off the field, with tough Test matches with such a young and inexperienced side,” Pak coach Waqar Younis said.

“I wish to be in the headlines for the right reasons and I don’t think about what has happened earlier. We just have to focus on the cricket.” Earlier, only Fawad Alam shone for Pakistan, posting a half-century and reaching a career-best 64 including three boundaries before being caught by England captain Andrew Strauss, while James Anderson was the pick of the bowlers with 3-26.

Anderson and Bresnan sent back both openers to the pavilion, then Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez, who scored just six runs between them. Hafeez edged Anderson behind to Steve Davies, while Akmal was removed by Bresnan’s leg-side delivery. England had been primed under the Oval floodlights to complete this summer’s clean sweep.

But Davies was the first dismissed with Razzaq’s last ball of the 6th over and Trott was scuttled by Shoaib Akhtar’s inswinging delivery of the ninth over. Ravi Bopara went in the 14th over with England still requiring 163 to win, having scored just seven.

Strauss, who scored 50 off 48 balls, had his stumps derooted from an inside edge becoming Gul’s first victim in the space of 10 balls having scored just seven more. England was left on 103/5 when Michael Yardy notched just 4 runs before the ninth delivery he faced from Gul which got him lbw.

Eoin Morgan kept the scoreboard ticking reaching 50 from 58 balls, including five fours. But in the 40th over with Gul back with the ball, he flicked the ball and was caught by substitute Wahab Riaz, who replaced wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal when he was forced off with a finger injury.

A reverse inswinger wiped out Bresnan’s middle stump three balls later in the same over. England’s troubles grew more when Gul removed Stuart Broad the same way after some face-offs in the previous over and he struck again with his last delivery of his last over, with Swann lifting it straight to Afridi at cover. Razzaq sealed the victory by bowling Anderson to finally give Pakistan something to celebrate after weeks of troubles.

By: Devesh D. Bhuwad

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