Pakistan mount a cliffhanger
By CricLens Staff Report on September 28th, 2012

ICC World Twenty20, Group F, Super Eight Round: It was one of the craziest heist in Twenty20 Cricket as the the unlikely batting hero Umar Gul exploded 32 off 17 balls to see Pakistan through for the third successive time against South Africa in the World T20s. Gul joined his namesake Umar [Akmal] – they were to have after partnership of 49 off 27 balls - when Pakistan needed 58 from 33 balls with only three wickets in hand and ended up, after doing all the damage, leaving Pakistan needing 9 off last 6 balls.

Gul’s cameo had three huge Sixes, including two consecutive off Jacques Kallis, both on the leg-side – a flick to square-leg and a heave to mid-wicket – in the 16th over. The next over saw him hitting one more off Albie Morkel, it was to go with two fours. That was the moment when Pakistan started to believe they are still in the game after they reduced the target from 58 off 30 balls to 22 off 18 balls. Gul holed out on last ball of the penultimate, which was bowled by Steyn, but by then the damage had been done. Dale Steyn’s impressive spell (4-0-22-3) was to go in vain.

Umar Akmal rather played a rare composed innings, 43 off 41 balls, and didn’t rush off like other batsmen earlier in the innings. With 9 needed off last over, to be bowled by Morne Morkel, Akmal started off with a dot ball following it with a match-winning six, a tonk off his legs to deep mid-wicket off a full toss. The fist pumping celebrations defined how much needed was that six. Ajmal came on strike when 2 were to score off 3 balls, and he swished a delivery, that took outside edge of his bat, to give Pakistan four runs and a thrilling win.

Pakistan’s top-order, impressive until this game, collapsed by playing careless and unnecessary shots. They started off briskly as Imran Nazir and Mohammad Hafeez put on 24 for the first wicket. Nazir was accounted for a slow short-pitch delivery from Steyn which he gloved only to be pouched by AB de Villiers behind the stumps. Hafeez in next over, after hitting six over long-off, tried to work on leg-side but didn’t read the turn of Roben Peterson and got stumped. In the same over, Nasir Jamshed emulated his skipper as he, too, moved down the pitch and was stumped.

Spin kept Pakistan troubling as two overs later Kamran Akmal, trying to cut, was cleaned up by Johan Botha. Shoaib Malik sticked to wicket for a while, to score 12 off 26 balls, and then was caught at third man off Kallis’ bowling. Two balls later, Shahid Afridi had his 5th Golden Duck of Twenty20 Internationals, when he left his crease trying to loft (inside out) JP Duminy over long-off but found a fielder installed there. And when Yasir Arafat got out in 15th over, Pakistan now 76-7 almost had their fans hopeless.

From there on, the two Umars, Gul and Akmal, pulled off a Dunkirk moment. There was some bizarre tactics by AB de Villiers which helped Pakistan coming back into the game, he did not use his two spinners Botha and Duminy – they leaked only 10 and 5 runs in 2 overs they bowled each - who combined had 4 overs left.

Earlier Pakistan spinners strangled South African batsmen that, barring JP Duminy (48 off 38 balls), no one looked like staying at the wicket. Hashim Amla was caught in second over by Shoaib Malik off Yasir Arafat as he tried work through cover. After strangled by miser spell of Raza Hassan, Richard Levi was bowled around his legs in reverse-sweeping Saeed Ajmal in 6th over. In next over, Kallis found a fielder in Afridi at short extra-cover off Mohammad Hafeez’s bowling.

AB de Villiers delayed his arrival at the crease and sent Farhaan Behardien instead, the latter had a sluggish partnership with Duminy and stumped out when he left crease to have Hafeez for a loft. Batting at Number 6, de Villiers’ stay was also short-lived when he was caught off a full toss from Gul after having smacked him a six on the previous ball.

Though wicket-less but pick of the bowlers from Pakistan was young Raza Hassan, who at one stage had 8 consecutive dot balls bowled at Amla and Kallis, and ended with spell of 3-1-15-0. Mohammad Hafeez grabbed 2 wickets for 23 runs in his 4 overs.

Umar Gul was named Man of the Match for his brilliant match-winning cameo.

Stats and Trivia

- Pakistan and South Africa have now 3 wins each in six Twenty20 matched. Pakistan’s all wins have come in World T20s.

- For the 5th time Shahid Afridi was out for Golden Duck in T20 Internationals. Four of those first-ball-ducks have come in the World T20s, including one in Final of 2007.

- Pakistan and Australia, so far, are the only undefeated teams in the event.

7 Responses to “Pakistan mount a cliffhanger”

  1. M. Azeem Saif says:

    It has been excellent performance by 2 x Umar. Gul and Akmal was exceptional. Gull have tremendious energy to hit big sixes. He must have to focus on his batting, somehow.

    Good Work Done Pakistan.


  2. Shah says:

    Need to pik razzaq against india, need ro drop one spinner and arafat as well. Sami and razzaq both could trouble india as we have seen indian batting collapse like a house of card against seamers.

  3. Aleem Basraa says:

    A very good game of cricket !! Good for us #cricketfans
    It was more of destiny written all over it rather anything else

  4. Ammar says:

    Kindly share the NRR of teams, in our Group.


  5. Naqash Ali says:

    Batting thik ho jaya bs bs phr pakistan ko koi team nai hara sakti,, kal india k sath new playning k sath medan main uthrna chaiya,, I think pakistan win easyl against india and get ticket for semifinal…

  6. Naqash Ali says:

    har roz gull nai chalay ga Afridi ko b perform krna paray ga…

  7. Naqash Ali says:

    thanks mazhar bahi im bigest fan of u i want to meet u..plz

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