By V.N. Prasad
At the outset, congratulations to Pak on their victory. In all Departments, they excelled. Brilliant bowling, well-disguised ‘Slower Ones’ and with consistency, excellent fielding, all high catches taken and stupendous batting. Both the openers, Babar and Rizwan, batted beautifully.
Let us admit sportingly. Neither Rohit nor KLR are to be blamed for getting out early. Both deliveries by Afridi were brutal. Be it Gully Cricket or Test, early dismissals of openers dents the following ones a great deal and the boys were done in. But, hats off to the brilliant knock of Virat. He stroked majestically on his way to his 50. Well, Pant is known for his pyrotechnics. But for his breezy knock we would have been worse. Others threw away wickets than believing in themselves. It is not that recoveries after early wickets have not taken place at all in world cricket. Resoluteness of 3, 4 and 5 factor a lot. There was hollowness.
Our bowlers paled. Except for two deliveries of Bumrah, there were no Yorkers. Pitch Map showed only 7 percent of balls in good length areas. Pulls and ‘Short Arm Jabs’ by both batsmen off short pitch deliveries built confidence in both. As a matter of necessity, Bumrah should have opened. Bhuvi was all over. We know Shami is indeed a mystery bowler and it was not his day. Varun and Jaddu were found wanting.
It is not even that a different combination would have done better. It was only that Afridi tore us apart, extremely well-supported by all other bowlers. And, it was not our day.
It all boils down to how we proceed in the contest. If we can make it to the play off, we are capable of turning the tides in our favour. Best to our boys.
And ultimately, all that we need is to watch good cricket. And we watched the best from Pak.