Pakistan Sneak Through In A Close Contest




Misbah-ul-Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq strengthened his stake to captain the Pakistan side at the World Cup as he put on his best performance in the 50 over format as Pakistan registered a narrow two wicket victory in the 4th ODI held at Napier.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, it was a case all too familiar for the Kiwis. They lost wickets at regular intervals and had stuttered to 79/5 by the 21st over and it was left to the all rounders to do the repair work once again. Brendon McCullum kickstarted the comeback with a quickfire 37 but it was James Franklin, who scored his 3rd half century in four matches along with Nathan McCullum, who struck five boundaries and a six in his 53, that helped New Zealand post a competitive score of 262.

Chasing more than five runs per over, Ajmal Shahzad started the innings aggressively despite losing Mohammad Hafeez as Pakistan raced to 53/1 by the end of the 10th over. It was New Zealand who won the battle in the next ten overs as Pakistan could score only 38 runs and lost Shahzad and Kamran Akmal in the process.

But experienced campaigner Younis Khan, along with Misbah-ul-Haq, played it safe and put on 89 runs for the fourth wicket as Pakistan reached 173/4 in 37 overs. Needing a further 90 to win of the remaining 13 overs and with the big hitters to come, Pakistan was slightly ahead at this stage. But a twist was to follow!

Younis was run out against the run of play and Umar Akmal perished trying to accelerate the scoring during the Powerplay. Afridi lasted only a couple of deliveries and Pakistan was staring down the barrel. But the new batsman Razzaq hit Southee out of the park and Misbah collected two boundaries as it was down to 36 of the last 5 overs.

Razzaq was dismissed in the last over of Powerplay but 24 from the last 3 overs were quite possible. Misbah struck the first two balls for a six and a four but there was more drama to come as Wahab Riaz fell with 13 runs still to get and Pakistan were facing the prospect of being bowled out. But Sohail Tanvir struck Southee for three boundaries in the next over to give Pakistan the win and a 2-1 lead in the series. Misbah was left unbeaten on 93, his highest score in ODI’s.  If the selectors thought Afridi’s knock in the third ODI made easy their job of appointing a skipper for the World Cup, Misbah’s responsible innings makes it that much more tougher.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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