Watch cricket highlights - South Africa vs Pakistan - the 1st Semi Final of the 2009 T20 World Cup.
Scoreline: Pakistan 149/4: Shahid Afridi 51 (34), Malik 34 (39), Kamran Akmal 23 (12)
SA 142/5: Kallis 64 (54) - Shahid Afridi 4-16-2, Umar Gul 3-19-0
Postgame: After an almost 2 year wait, Afridi who’d hit the pits of ridicule during the game vs England, pours scorn on all who laughed (Praveen, yeah you.)
The Pak batting petering out in the final overs partly due to super stuff by Parnell-Steyn seemed to have tilted it SA’s way after the spanking start by Akmal. But SA seemed to panic a bit after losing Gibbs and AB to Afridi, looking to consolidate by sending Duminy in when the consolidator Kallis was already in and set. Smith in the post-match thing admitted he had Morkel padded up from the 11th over, and then ironically added, “If you don’t lose a wicket he can’t come in and bat” - it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to send in a drink and tell JP to make way. Not sure whether it would have changed the result considering Gul bowled brilliantly yet again, but it was a shot worth taking to have Albie or Merwe (who seems to have lost favour as a hitter suddenly) in. Especially when you consider the fact that Younis Khan almost bungled the game giving Fawad an over out of nowhere which meant Gul even if he bowled through would finish an over short. If WI make it past SL tomorrow, you’d have two sides that most would have marked at the start of the tournament as being the most unpredictable, squaring off for the Cup. Awesome.
JP Duminy’s current state in T20 cricket seems really confused. When he arrived on the scene vs the Aussies, his early T20 games showed him to be an inventive attacking player, and then all of a sudden since Merwe arrived, he’s shifted into a rotate-the-strike role. In the end everyone seems confused, cos now Merwe is playing in the side as a spinner primarily and Duminy’s finding it hard to get the boundaries away at will. Anyway, SA have a while to reflect yet again on a semi-final loss and they’ll probably be wishing they lost the game to India, just so they could get the law of averages (at least), to perhaps get them a Final spot. It’s sad for SA cricket cos their win vs Australia at Perth seemed to be finally ridding them of all past labels.
Pregame: Similar bowling attacks (Steyn/Parnell/Kallis vs Gul/Aamer/Razzaq and Botha/Merwe vs Afridi/Ajmal) and an important middle-order batsman who can counter spin (de Villiers vs Younis Khan). Pakistan have the edge at the top though, (with Gibbs one down) in Akmal/Hassan vs Smith/Kallis.
Umar Gul has been (deservedly) the limelight-hogger, but Aamer has quietly been bowling quite brilliantly through the tournament and so Smith (who seems to have rediscovered his touch) vs the youngster will be watch-worthy. In the propel-the-score lineup, Pakistan have a couple whose status at this point can’t really be pinned down - Afridi has been looking better with each game, while Razzaq hit a nice big six in the game vs Ireland. For SA, the blind-hitting abilities of Merwe haven’t really been called on so far, with Botha being sent above him in the game vs India. Was that a strategy - will Merwe suddenly walk out today if an early wicket falls. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to send him against pace rather than spin considering his play seems to be designed around - pick the line of the ball early, turn head away and launch an almighty swing and let Him decide where the ball goes.
Thursday, June 18, 2009