Saturday, June 13, 2009

New Zealand vs Pakistan Highlights - Super 8s

NZ Bat

Pak Bat

Watch cricket highlights - New Zealand vs Pakistan from the Super 8s of the 2009 T20 Cricket World Cup.

Scoreline: NZ 99 all out Scott Styris 22 - Umar Gul 3-6-5, Abdul Razzaq 3.3-1-17-2, Afridi 4-17-1
Pakistan take 13.1 overs: Shahzaib Hasan 35 (28), Shahid Afridi 29 n.o. - Vettori 4-20-2

So Razzaq walks into the team, doesn’t impact the game the way Shoaib Akhtar did in the IPL, but gets a wicket in his very 1st over - all those nipping-back deliveries that have troubled the best were spot on from ball 1, and though his team may have been charged up for the occasion anyway, his arrival has already stirred things up. The day however belonged to Umar Gul with ridiculous figures of 5 for 6 in just 3 overs - similar in impact to what his colleague Tanvir did in the IPL. Tanvir’s WC campaign unfortunately seems over - that horrible 1st over in the game vs SL overshadowing some seriously good deliveries whenever a legal delivery was bowled. He also looked to be having some fitness issues midway through the game vs Netherlands. Deserved spell for Gul who for some time now has been Pakistan’s most consistent and dependable bowler.

Hasan played the warm-up vs India and looked a tad nervous, but today, yet another young attacking opener from Pakistan seems to have emerged. It’s too early I suppose to judge his future considering the long list of seriously talented players who’ve kind of faded away - Imran Nazir, the Farhat brothers, Basit Ali, Yasir Hameed.

Shahid Afridi had a super day out first with the ball and then just when NZ found a way to open up a flurry of wickets, Afridi donned the calming role, nudging singles and twos. Who’d have thought.

Pregame: All buzz is about the proposed reentry of Razzaq into international cricket. Easily one of the Top 3 allrounders of his era when he was around, how cricket-friendly he is at the moment is not sure. As many have commented on the site, Imran Nazir too would have been a welcome member along perhaps with the Farhat brothers. For NZ, the Cup is just a few games away (in my world), if. If at least Taylor can return as soon as possible. But yeah, the loss of Ryder and absence of Vettori has made it a little harder. But McCullum is pretty due.
Just to rant on a little longer about Razzaq, the last time a stunning reentry to cricket happened was when Shawbshank Redemption occurred. However, the circumstances were a little different. The management was filmi, Akhtar is that sort of a guy and Ganguly was captain. How wanted Razzaq is made to feel will be the key as Younis doesn’t seem an Imran Khan by any stretch of imagination. But considering how Razzaq has always come across as an aloof sort of character, maybe all he needs is Abdul talking to him. So yeah, the most unpredictable moment of this tournament looms right ahead of us.

Forewarned means forearmed

England will remember Yuvraj Singh's assault when the two teams meet at Lord's.

Match facts

Sunday, June 14
Start time 1730 local (1630 GMT)

Big Picture
Well, that's livened things up a bit. West Indies' stunning seven-wicket win over India on Friday has transformed the dynamics of Group E, and left the holders facing what is, in effect, an elimination show-down with the hosts. On paper it ought not even to be close - when England and India last faced each other in a limited-overs contest, in India in November, a unprecedented 7-0 whitewash was only averted by the abandonment of the tour due to the Mumbai terror attacks.

Nothing that England have done in this tournament to date gives much reason to believe they have a prayer of progressing any further. A laughable defeat against the Dutch was followed by a competent dismissal of a distracted Pakistan, but their humbling against South Africa on Thursday was a truer reflection of their standing. Quite simply, they were outclassed, rolled over for 111 - the lowest total of the competition so far - and routed by Jacques Kallis on cruise control.

India, by contrast, were progressing pretty serenely (give or take the odd testy press conference) until their surprise derailment at the hands of Dwayne Bravo. They qualified comfortably from a weak group made up of Bangladesh and Ireland, and it's possible they were caught unawares by the sudden step-up in class that West Indies presented.

Whatever the reasons, forewarned means forearmed. The last time these two sides met in the World Twenty20, in Durban in September 2007, Yuvraj Singh strode into history with his brutalising of a young Stuart Broad, and India marched into the final stages as England skulked home early from yet another global tournament. Little we've witnessed thus far in 2009 suggests the story will be any different. But then again, shocks are part and parcel of this format, and any side containing an in-form Kevin Pietersen cannot be dismissed out of hand.

Semi-final chances

A win for either team will obviously boost their chances of making it to the semis, but India have far more riding on this game than England. If India lose on Sunday, they are definitely out, since the winner of the England-West Indies game on Monday will join South Africa on two wins and knock India out even if they win their last game.

If England lose, however, there is still a chance for them if they beat West Indies, and if South Africa beat India. In that case, South Africa will finish with three wins, while England, India and West Indies will all have one each, bringing net run rates into play.

Form guide
(last five matches, most recent first)
England: LWLLW
Up and down, up and down. England's yo-yo performances demonstrate just how inexact their science is when it comes to Twenty20. Paul Collingwood said his team would carry on attacking despite their defeat against South Africa, but the best sides are able to adapt on the hoof.

India: LWWLL
A brace of defeats in New Zealand earlier this year dented India's overall record, but they have still won nine of their 15 T20Is dating back to December 2006.

Watch out for...

Yuvraj Singh's astounding feat under the Durban floodlights was the unequivocal highlight of the last World Twenty20, as he battered Broad for six consecutive sixes. There has been mutual antipathy between Yuvraj and England ever since, compounded by the success his left-arm spin has enjoyed against Pietersen. With 67 from 43 balls in the West Indies defeat, he's certainly in form ahead of the rematch.

Ravi Bopara has been tipped by Sachin Tendulkar, no less, as a very "special" talent, and Indian audiences already know what he's about, after he produced one of the finest innings of the IPL - 84 from 59 balls for King's XI Punjab against Royal Challengers Bangalore. After two consecutive failures against Pakistan and South Africa, he's due a return to form.

Team news

After a false start against Netherlands, England seem to have settled upon their best eleven for this format, with Adil Rashid impressing as the second spinner, and Dimitri Mascarenhas taking the pace off the new ball. Despite crashing horribly at Trent Bridge, it's hard to see how they can improve the team, short of shooing in Graham Napier for his international debut.

England: (probable) 1 Ravi Bopara, 2 Luke Wright, 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Owais Shah, Paul Collingwood (capt), 6 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 7 James Foster (wk), 8 Graeme Swann, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 James Anderson.

The loss of Virender Sehwag was a blow to their big-hitting aspirations, but India still possess oodles of potent thwackers all the way down the order, even as far as Harbhajan Singh at No. 8. It's unlikely they'll be altering what was, up until Friday, a winning formula.

India: (probable) 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 MS Dhoni (capt/wk), 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha

Stats and Trivia

* England and India have only played in one Twenty20 international to date - Yuvraj's match in Durban, which finished up as 18-run win for India.

* Despite their habitual lack of success (seven victories in 18 matches) seven of the England players who contested that match are likely starters this time around.

* Six different Indian batsmen have struck 13 sixes between them so far in the tournament. England's tally is eight.


"We were able to raise the required run rate close to 10 runs per over, we were good at that, but he took the game away from us."
India's captain, MS Dhoni, rues the impact that Dwayne Bravo had on their last match at Lord's.

"We're not going to win by sitting back. Twenty20 cricket is about putting the opposition under pressure from ball one. We've got to make sure we have the attitude of 'keep going for it'. We're not going to get anywhere by being conservative ."
England's captain Paul Collingwood promises a full-frontal assault for the remainder of the tournament.

No more butterfingers for Pakistan

Shahid Afridi pulled off a fantastic running catch.

Comeback of the day
The rebel returns. Abdul Razzaq has left the ICL behind and is back on the international stage for the first time in more than two years. He couldn't have wished for a better re-start to his career. With his fourth ball he claimed the key wicket of Brendon McCullum caught at point and raised his arms in celebration. Then in his third over he trapped Martin Guptill leg before and completed the most of rare of Twenty20 breeds - a maiden. The clash created by the ICL appeared to have ended a few international careers early, but let's hope now that more players return. How New Zealand would love to have Shane Bond back.

Catch of the day
There have been some extraordinary catches and pieces of fielding in this tournament, but not many of them from Pakistan. Now, thanks to Shahid Afridi, they have their own moment for the tournament highlights reel. Scott Styris made decent contact as he tried to pull Umar Gul over mid-on and although not out of the middle it looked likely to land safe. Afridi didn't think so. He turned and ran towards long-on, but managed to keep his eye on the ball and an idea of where the boundary was. As the ball dropped he reached out, held on, then managed to put the brakes on in time. The crowd, led by the passionate Pakistan support, cheered as one and Afridi soaked up the moment.

Bowler of the day
There are good Twenty20 bowlers, then there is Umar Gul. They don't come much better. He was a star during the 2007 event in South Africa and here claimed the first five-wicket haul in Twenty20 internationals despite not being used until the sixth option by Younis Khan (and also occupies position three on the list of best figures for good measure). He can produce pin-point yorkers at will, finds reverse swing from a ball less than 20 overs old and has complete trust in his variations. The complete Twenty20 operator.

Angry captain of the day
Daniel Vettori returned from injury for this game, but he may wonder why he bothered as his team had a shocker. By the time Vettori came to the crease New Zealand were 88 for 7 and there was little he could do, but it was important to use up the 20 overs. They couldn't even manage that and when Vettori was run-out with nine balls unused the anger was clear on his face as he trudged off.

Debut of the day
It's been chop and change at the top of Pakistan's order and in this match they tried out another combination with 19-year-old Shahzaib Hasan making his debut. He has very limited experience, but then that can often be the case when Pakistan youngsters are plucked out for international honours. But with just four Twenty20 matches under his belt he played with no fear as the small target was hunted down. There was a hint of top edge to get off the mark, but he drove Vettori handsomely for six and later upper-cut Ian Butler for his most impressive boundary.

India vs West Indies Highlights - Super 8s

India Bat

WI Bat

Watch cricket highlights - India vs West Indies from the 2009 T20 World Cup - the Super 8s game.

Scoreline: India 153/7 Yuvraj Singh 67 (43), Yusuf Pathan 31 (23) - Dwayne Bravo 4-38-4, Fidel Edwards 4-24-3
WI get there with more than an over to go: Dwayne Bravo 66 (36), Lendl Simmons 44 (37)

Whichever side you’re on, two super knocks worth a watch on either side. And for me personally, a third from Simmons who looks certain to ease the disappointment of Marlon Samuels fading away. Bravo and Simmons had threatened this in the Game vs Sri Lanka.

It’s a good thing the highlights are restricted to 10 mins cos it means they omit the painful knock by Dhoni 11 (23). It’s easy but unfair to pick on him now, cos the truth was it was always coming. Just that many chose to gloss over it cos India was doing well. The problem Dhoni is facing is that for some time now, he’s been unable to really go bang and yet he continues to back himself to do it at any stage. So in the process he gets into this prod for a single mode and when the big shots don’t come off, all those prods and pushes look terrible in the final scorecard. A hitter at the start of his career, he should definitely be able to rediscover it, if he finds it within himself to be humble enough to silently retract statements like - “I tell the youngsters to play their natural game cos it’s not easy to go out there and change your game. Not everyone can do it. Maybe after 2 or 3 years they’ll learn how to do it.” (paraphrased).

Fidel Edwards looked the best he has this tournament and a fantastic win for WI who should now fancy taking down either England (more likely) or SA for the semi-spot. Provided they field like they did today.

Pregame: With Chris Gayle most certainly back, surely there must be a way to retain classy Simmons, though how much of the bowling he’ll face down the order if retained remains a question. For India, Dhoni’s position in the batting order will be one of the aspects - it’s about time Raina is given a game, considering he’s hardly got a hit this tournament.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka Highlights - Super 8s

Sri Lanka Bat

Pakistan Bat

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pakistan vs Netherlands Highlights - T20 World Cup

Pakistan Batting

Netherlands Batting

India vs Pakistan T20 Worldcup Warmup Match Highlights

Pakistan Batting

India Batting

Ex-ICL player Razzaq set for international return

Abdul Razzaq is likely to become the first former ICL player to return to international cricket.

The PCB has decided to call up Abdul Razzaq to replace one of its two injured players in the ongoing ICC World Twenty20. The request, if accepted, will make Razzaq the first former ICL player to return to international cricket.

The request was sent to the ICC's technical committee and, though there's no official confirmation it has been accepted, sources close to the Pakistan camp and the player claimed it had.

"We have made a request to the ICC for Abdul Razzaq as a replacement," Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, told Cricinfo. "He is an allrounder and we've requested he replace Arafat, who is also an allrounder."

A source close to the player also confirmed that Razzaq had been contacted by the board and apprised of the situation.

While both Yasir Arafat and Sohail Tanvir are carrying injuries, Arafat's hamstring strain seems the more serious and Razzaq would represent a like-for-like change in that he is an allrounder.

The Pakistan team manager, Yawar Saeed, said Arafat had been diagnosed with a lateral hamstring tear and would not play any further role in the tournament. News of Tanvir, who played with a back strain in the victory against Netherland yesterday, was better - he was back training with the rest of the squad at The Oval today.

Razzaq was one of several ex-ICL players granted amnesty by the PCB a few weeks back, shortly after the Indian board set the ball rolling for players to come in from the unofficial league. Other boards followed suit; some set a 'cooling off' period in place, while others like the PCB said they would handle each player on a case-by-case basis.

Ironically, Razzaq's name was on the original list of 30 probables the PCB had sent to the ICC in early April - before the BCCI announced the amnesty - but the board u-turned and scratched his name off because the ICC objected to his ICL status. And with more irony, the comeback completes a full circle of sorts for Razzaq: it was only after being overlooked for the 2007 World Twenty20 squad that he decided to turn his back on Pakistan cricket. He lambasted the team's set-up at the time, claiming he had been treated badly and then retired from international cricket, before taking back his announcement.

Pakistan will welcome back Razzaq's skills. He was one of the ICL's most valuable players, leading his franchise Hyderabad Heroes to the title in the first season and a runners-up spot the second time round. His form in the recently-concluded domestic Twenty20 was outstanding as well and limited-overs competitions in England hold special memories. It was in the 1999 World Cup that Razzaq first announced himself as a major talent, picking up a bundle of wickets and scoring some crucial runs, often at one down.