Thursday, 24 March 2016

#AsiaCup: Pakistan vs UAE

Welcome to the sixth match of Asia Cup. It was a match between Pakistan and UAE. It was an important match for Pakistan because Bangladesh was looking good with couple of win under their belt. If Pakistan had to qualify for the final then they needed this win desperately. On the other end UAE also was looking good. They had torubled Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with their bowling. And Pakistan' s batting was not in good touch. So UAE had to cash on it. Pakistan's seamers were in top form and UAE's batting had let them down against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. So it was a contest between two bowling attacks. On the contrary, pitch was getting better and better for batting. Its effect was witnessed during the toss. Captains were opting to bat first after winning it.

UAE won the toss and elected to bat first. UAE hadn't made any changes in there batting. Same opening pair of Rohan & Kaleem came out to bat. Amir had a new ball for Pakistan. It was a tight start by Pakistan. They didn't gave anything away in first eleven deliveries. As a result, they got a wicket on the twelfth delivery. Rohan was frustrated by the start. He came down the track and tried to hit over mid off but only managed to give a simple catch to Afridi. By the end of second over, Pakistan was off the mark. In third over, Amir knocked Kaleem's off stump. UAE was 5-2 at that stage. Anwar was the next man in. UAE hit the first boundary in fourth over when Shahzad found a gap through covers and ball raced away to the boundary. After that boundary, Shahzad nicked one to Sarfraz and UAE lost its third wicket on the last ball of the fourth over. Then, Anwar and Mushtaq assured that UAE don't loose another wicket in the powerplay. In eighth over, Anwar hit the first six of UAE innings. He just cleared Shoaib Malik at long off. Then they just carried on with ones and twos.

On the last ball of eleventh over, Afridi invited a sweep off Mushtaq's bat. Mushtaq edged that delivery and gave a simple catch to Amir at short fine leg. UAE lost its fourth wicket at 41. UAE was falling apart. It looked like Pakistan will bundle them up under 100 but Anwar had some other plans. He hit next two deliveries for a six and a four and took UAE's score beyond 50 run mark. In thirteenth over, Anwar hit Afridi for couple of boundaries. He was timing the ball sweetly. In fourteenth over, he reached in his 40s and started living on the edge. He got a chance at 44 as the ball landed between the two fielders but on the very next delivery he edged one to Sarfraz. Sarfraz took a simple catch and Anwar was back in the pavilion after making 46 off 42 deliveries. After Anwar's wicket, Usman decided to attack. He hit Malik for a six and a four in fifteenth of the innings. UAE crossed 100 run mark in sixteenth over. In eighteenth over, Javed hit two huge sixes to Irfan. While in twentieth, Naveed hit a six and a four. UAE scored 129 runs off their 20 overs.

Hafeez and Sharjeel Khan came out to chase that total for Pakistan. Naveed had the new ball. Hafeez hit the first boundary of Pakistani innings on the last ball of the first over. While the second boundary was hit by Sharjeel in the second over but after hitting that boundary, he got out. Pakistan lost its first wicket on 11. After Sharjeel, Javed got another wicket couple of deliveries later. This time Manzoor was back in the pavilion without troubling the scorers. Pakistan was struggling at 11-2. It was a contest between two good bowling attacks and the better one was going to win it. Umar Akmal came in at no. 4. UAE skipper Javed was on a roll that night. In fourth over, he picked up the wicket of Hafeez. Javed forced Hafeez to drive the ball. Hafeez did that and gave a simple catch in cover region. Malik joined Akmal in the middle after the wicket of Hafeez. They carried on from 17-3. Like Anwar & Mushtaq, Malik and Akmal assured that Pakistan don't loose another wicket in powerplay.

They played sensible cricket. They took their time in the middle. They were not in a hurry to score runs. They were ticking the score board with ones and twos. Along with ones and twos, they were dispatching the loose delivery to the boundary. At the end of ten overs, Pakistan reached to the total of 48 at the loss of 3 wickets. They played in that manner till the end of thirteen overs. From fourteenth over, they started attacking as the required rate crossed 9.5 R.P.O. mark. Akmal hit the first six of the innings in fourteenth over. Malik hit the second in fifteenth. In sixteenth over, UAE dropped Malik and that was it. Both the batsmen were well set and were looking for that chance only. Then there was no stopping for them. Malik brought up his half century in seventeenth over and at that stage Pakistan needed 29 runs of 22 balls. Akmal also completed his half century and after that Pakistan needed just 3 runs to win the game. Malik hit the boundary and finished the game in style. Pakistan was down on 17-3 and Malik and Akmal used all of their experience to bring their team out of that situation. They stayed there till the end & won the match for their team. UAE bowled well but were sloppy in the field. They dropped a catch at crucial stage. Hence they lost a match. Pakistan was still alive in the Asia Cup.

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