Pakistan's victory = Misbah's victory

Misbah’s calm presence at the crease assured Pakistan victory in the match and a 3-0 lead in the series.

Dr Amyn Malyk April 29, 2011
On a pitch that offered pace and bounce, especially if the bowler was willing to bend his back, Ravi Rampaul did well in reducing Pakistan to 12 for 3 as the top batting order of the greens disintegrated.

Although they were not defending a big target, it looked as if West Indies could make a match of it at that point. But this was a short-lived dream, as Misbahul Haq’s calm presence at the crease not only assured Pakistan victory in the match but also an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the five match series.

Recently, Misbah has faced heavy criticism for his innings against India in the World Cup semi-final that some believe lost the match for Pakistan. Many have even called for his head for his performance in what was the most anticipated clash ever. But, the selectors did well to give him a place in the squad for this series, as currently he is the lone experienced member of the batting line-up with an average of over 40 runs in One Day Internationals (ODIs).

The target was small and so it allowed Misbah to play his natural game, which is to play risk free cricket. At first, he was accompanied by the aggressive Umar Akmal on the other end, who made quick runs as Misbah settled in his groove.

The importance of Misbah’s innings was the role of the sheet anchor that he played. As wickets fell around him, Misbah continued to ground out runs and did not panic, making sure he was there till the end, as it was evident at the moment that if Pakistan batted out the full quota of 45 overs, they would surely win the game.

Umar Akmal and Hammad Azam hit a brace of 30s to give Misbah good company.

Azam, who was playing his first ODI innings, showed good technique and seemed like a good prospect for the future, as a genuine all-rounder for the team. He needs to be given more opportunities and should be asked to bat higher up in the order in the remaining two matches to see how he handles the situation and pressure of chasing a bigger target or setting one.

We have already seen Azam’s potential at the Under-19 level. He also displayed good sportsmanship on the field when he left immediately after being given LBW when he had actually edged the ball. He is certainly a keeper.

After Azam’s dismissal, a mini panic set in the batting ranks as Shahiid Afridi and Muhammad Salman both were dismissed quickly, but this was followed by some big hitting by Wahab Riaz which removed all doubts about the outcome of the match.

Earlier, Pakistan bowled well to dismiss West Indies for under 200, though they were assisted by some inept batting from the opposition.

Simmons continued his rich vein of form and received support from Darren Bravo but once these two departed, the rest of Windies batting told a familiar tale of ineptitude as it folded rather easily.

The Pakistani bowlers, for their part, did well to limit the extras to 11 after having given over 20 extra runs in the last two matches.

There are still two matches to be played and hopefully a 5-0 whitewash is on the cards. That should provide a good launching pad for Pakistan in the upcoming Test matches where we seek to win our first ever series in the Caribbean.
Dr Amyn Malyk The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Said Chaudhry | 12 years ago | Reply Amyn, good work dude! Good to see there are more people out there like you, @IT and others who are sticking up for Misbah. Some people expect Misbah to score at Afridi's or Umar Akmal's pace in every game. He has become a common target among those who fear Misbah may one day take Afridi's place as the Pakistani ODI captain (you'll find me with a sheepish smile on that day) but they often fail to see the reality of Misbah's contributions. Im not the type of person to get emotionally attached to a player, my value of a player are always based on statistics and number crunching. So here it is: Misbah has been Pakistan's best ODI batsman since January 2010: ODI batting average of 59.80 in 17 ODIs (598 runs). Umar Akmal follows him as our second best batsman with an average of 34 during the same period! I hope this clears up any misconceptions people have about Misbah. He is the best batsman we have at the moment. People often don't understand the importance to having someone like Misbah with all these youngsters in the squad. The way he batted with Hammad Azam was wonderful. He kept the youngster's head in the game and made him play a role which was needed at that time, full credit to Azam for keeping his head in. Perfect example of learning while working. Hope Misbah's good form continues because there is much our youngsters will learn from his experiences.
closedstreet | 12 years ago | Reply Mibah is out best player - what a dark day of Pakistani Cricket !!!
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