First of all, thanks to Almighty Allah: Afridi

Published: May 12, 2010
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Pakistan’s captain Shahid Afridi was criticised throughout the tournament for his failing captaincy, rejoices after taking a wicket in their crucial Super Eight match against South Africa. (AFP)

Pakistan’s captain Shahid Afridi was criticised throughout the tournament for his failing captaincy, rejoices after taking a wicket in their crucial Super Eight match against South Africa. (AFP)

KARACHI: Statisticians were left baffled and cricket gurus scratching their head when Pakistan pulled off a shock semi-final qualification on Monday, which can be described as nothing short of miraculous.

The qualification, which required them to win over a steady South Africa and group leaders England to win over New Zealand seemed unlikely. And with a qualifying campaign which included a dependency on Australia beating Bangladesh, failing captaincy, batting collapses, dubious replacements, consistent losses and dropped catches, none were expecting Pakistan to even make it past the second round.

But come South Africa, Pakistan fired exactly when they needed to with superb catches, a one-two from the Akmal brothers – to bring Pakistan out of a dismal 18 for 3 after just four overs – and wicket-taking spinners to set up at least one portion of the victory conditions. Yet the odds were still stacked against them with the Kiwis putting up a fighting 149 run total and with England lacking would-be father Kevin Pietersen’s firepower, a strange sense of dejavu prevailed amongst millions of Pakistani fans as they found themselves praying for an English victory.

Here we go again

Pakistan’s qualification ‘methods’ were indeliberate and reactionary rather than planned and targeted and looked like a recast of the 1992 World Cup, when Imran Khan’s “cornered tigers” (underdogs) won, exactly when it mattered the most, yet needed a lot of help from lady luck, as well as England. Pakistan had won only one of their first five matches and looked to be headed for a first round exit, only to win their last three pool games (including against previously undefeated New Zealand in their final pool match).

New Zealand lost only two games in the tournament, both against Pakistan who had a slightly lower run-rate than Australia, but received one point from their match against England which they looked set to lose (having made just 74 all out) until rain intervened. 17 years later, after getting thrashed earlier by England, Pakistan were rescued by the same team, who beat New Zealand to help Pakistan make the final-four, yet again, on net run-rate.

Looking ahead

With Australia as Pakistan’s next likely opponents, the men in green will have to perform even better than they did against South Africa, given that the luck afforded to them by round-robin tournament structures will be replaced by knock-outs. Afridi’s men will be clear underdogs, meaning they won’t have anything to lose. Moreover, Pakistan’s batsmen will prefer to take the Australian bowlers head-on, given the kind of wicket at St Lucia.

Pakistan now have momentum and anything is possible in Twenty20. What we can realistically expect them to do is to put in their best when it matters and hope for luck, momentum, a few stellar performance and the heavens to be on their side.

LUCKY CHARMS

Umar Akmal comeback

With dismal innings and unceremonious dismissals throughout the tournament, Umar finally fired when it mattered the most, consuming 33 balls to hit a half century with was adorned with four sixes and two fours.

Akmal brotherhood

Kamran, dangerous because of his furious bursts of slogging, had his lucky day and partnered with his brother to fight back hard with two massive sixes and kicking up the run-rate for Afridi and Umar to finish the job.

Saeed Ajmal ‘doosras’

Bowling his full overs, Ajmal took the crucial wickets of Kallis, de Villiers and Boucher and silenced a potential last-minute batting star in Botha with his ‘doosras’. He conceded only 26 runs and gave his tournament’s best..

Rock-steady Eoin Morgan

England’s mister reliable adapted well to the situation, coming down the order to score 40 runs, pairing up with Tim Bresnan to capitalize on the opener’s fiery start to take England, and Pakistan, into the semi-finals.

Also read: Shahid Afridi’s exclusive interview with Express.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 12th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Tayyab Raza
    May 12, 2010 - 1:40AM

    Go Team PAK..
    men in Green .. :)
    shock the aussiesRecommend

  • yasir
    May 12, 2010 - 3:36AM

    I m preety sure that pakistan will be able to record a win over australia in semifinal.Recommend

  • M
    May 12, 2010 - 8:58AM

    I still really, really doubt Pak can ever win the tournament =( Recommend

  • Muddsar Ali
    May 12, 2010 - 9:18AM

    PAKISTAN is great………Recommend

  • May 12, 2010 - 9:22AM

    thats like proud pashtun and muslim. G A AfrideRecommend

  • anwar
    May 12, 2010 - 10:07AM

    beat them, conquer them.
    but they have to drop fawal alam.abdul rehman must be included.Recommend

  • sana
    May 12, 2010 - 10:31AM

    bro we r with u all …. Go ahead and do ur best ,…….. just fight fight and fight till the very end …. Recommend

  • Faraz
    May 12, 2010 - 11:22AM

    Best Wishes Green Team May Allah’s Blessings By your side….Recommend

  • TL
    May 12, 2010 - 11:40AM

    Mathematically, it was always possible for Pakistan to qualify. No cricket guru was left baffled. Its just that it was us Pakistanis who lost hope of qualification.Recommend

  • waqas
    May 12, 2010 - 12:59PM

    Inshallah We will win the icc worldt20 Again And best of luck.Recommend

  • Omair Iqbal
    May 12, 2010 - 1:47PM

    W3ll i paray…Pakistan beat aussies in the semifinals..
    and move forward to win the T20..:)Recommend

  • asif nadeem
    May 12, 2010 - 2:02PM

    attack on Australians and u will see the panic in their dressing room…. go ahead and do ur best ,…….. just fight fight and fight till the very end … Recommend

  • ADIL KHAN
    May 12, 2010 - 2:39PM

    MEN IN GREEN ROCKSRecommend

  • Malik Adeel Imtiaz
    May 12, 2010 - 2:53PM

    Go Pakis Go… God and Pakistanis prayers are with you.Recommend

  • Malik Adeel Imtiaz
    May 12, 2010 - 3:03PM

    Mehnat apni ho gi
    Pehchan kabhi na bhoolo
    Sab ki nazron mein
    Pakistan
    Kabhi na bhoolo

    God Bless You.Recommend

  • Javed Ahmed Khan
    May 12, 2010 - 3:10PM

    Inshallah Pakistan will win the world cup and also shahid afridi will played very well.Recommend

  • Rana Taimoor
    May 12, 2010 - 3:19PM

    Try to deliver your best and leave the rest to allah. Moreover, you are the luckiest (beeeeeps) in the world, more deserving teams are heading home and u r not, be greatful.Recommend

  • BroInLaw
    May 12, 2010 - 3:36PM

    Good Article Ahmed :)
    very well done ;)Recommend

  • Naveed
    May 12, 2010 - 3:54PM

    Pakistan ki team ko ist ye chance mila k Khudah ki help sy reach in semi final. Iss mai khudah ki marzi shamil thi jo Pakistan team ko itni izet bakshi. Aur Khudah Pakistan ki qismat mai 3rd time final khelny and second time World cup pakistan mai lana b pakistan ki qismat ma likhy ga Inshallah. ALLAH pak pakistan team ko Kamyab krain AminRecommend

  • sufian
    May 12, 2010 - 4:14PM

    pakistan is t20 champion.Alaways play like a champion.God and Pakistani prayers are with you.Recommend

  • Sara Qureshi
    May 12, 2010 - 5:01PM

    And Shahid, don’t eat the ball this Friday! If you’re feeling peckish, just take a 5 minute break and go eat some chips or something.Recommend

  • waqas
    May 12, 2010 - 5:05PM

    Allah is great …………….shukar ha hm semi final main ponch gay haRecommend

  • nosheen
    May 12, 2010 - 5:06PM

    We have to beat Austrailia, inshAllah we will, if Allah wills the cup is ours! well it is ours but remain ours!!Guys Pakistan lost yes but they lost with some diginity hence the run rate.. look at other teams, there can be only one winner in this game so its not about loosing its about how u loose!!xRecommend

  • nosheen
    May 12, 2010 - 5:09PM

    and also go i want to wish Afridi luck coz he needs it both in batting and bowling, he is my fav player and he deserves good things happening to him, it will be great achievement and respect for him to lead the team to victory, he played major role last year!my prayers are with all pakistan team..and dont forget to do a prayer for them Pakistanie fans! this will be great achievement for our country too..Recommend

  • Taimur
    May 12, 2010 - 6:16PM

    I don’t think its that baffling that we made it. Who else deserved it better? I am not saying we deserved it but its just that the other teams were equally bad. We lost by 1 run to NZ who did not manage to win any other game in this round either. RSA had a dismal tournament and did not look any better than us, they are just a myth and a few brilliant catches by Gibbs dont make a team. India was pathetic and WI were average as well. So in the end the fourth semi-final spot was always going to go to a poor performing team. It just happens to be us! Recommend

  • nosheen
    May 12, 2010 - 7:38PM

    I agree with Taimur..who eles deserves it better, apart frm England and Australia no1 has really performed and lost so badly espiecially against Australia!! Plz Plz Plz pray for victory on friday and then InshAllah the finals..xRecommend

  • Naved
    May 12, 2010 - 8:38PM

    First of all I request Afridi to do justice to his potential and just be positive and I hope this time again T 20 WC will be in Asia …Best of luck men in green.Recommend

  • IMRAN
    May 12, 2010 - 8:43PM

    INSHALLAH CUP WILL BE PAKISTANS, BOYS JUST NEED TO KEEP THEIR MINDS CLEANRecommend

  • pakistan4live
    May 12, 2010 - 9:57PM

    take it easy and chillRecommend

  • Dr.Omar
    May 12, 2010 - 11:11PM

    Al-Hamdulilah,By The Help Of Allah,Pakistan Has Got The Chance To Enter Semi Final And Give A Big Surprise To Their Nation.I Think So Shahid Afridi Is The Best Caption For Pakistan In Both The Format ODI And Twenty 20.
    He Should Be Given Some Time And Trust .Mr.Ijaz Butt Should Not Interrupt In Afridi’s Decision In Player Selection As We Have Seen Before.Most Attracting Thing About Shahid Afridi Is His Enthusiasm To Win,
    He Wants To Win At Any Cost….This Is What We Need
    May Allah Help Them Out In Semi And In Final To Win The Cup And Bring It Back To Pakistan,Where The Cup Belongs… Recommend

  • May 12, 2010 - 11:38PM

    1. allah ka sukar ha pakistan sami final main a gya ab world cup hmara ha inshallahRecommend

  • May 12, 2010 - 11:40PM

    allah ka shukar haaRecommend

  • May 13, 2010 - 1:16AM

    Pakistan don’t deserve to win this cup. They should lose, come back and reorganized themselves.Recommend

  • K.W.Shariff
    May 13, 2010 - 9:39AM

    People! dont forget to thank the bookmakers for fixing the match, Its after all the money after which our boys are after, what national pride?

    Stop following Pakistani cricket you will save time and precious electricity.Recommend

  • PERVAIZ
    May 13, 2010 - 10:53AM

    it matter of just two good day for all four teams and pakistan is inculde in it. Good kowns that team may be pakistan. hope for the bestRecommend

  • Nangor
    May 13, 2010 - 11:46AM

    I hope that pakistan will defend his titleRecommend

  • raza
    May 13, 2010 - 10:36PM

    Good luck Pakistan!Recommend

  • Wajahat
    May 14, 2010 - 12:34PM

    Be Confident Guys!

    My gut feelings are that we are going to repeat the history of 92 world cup. PAK vs. ENG in the final and PAK wins.

    SALAAM TO ALL THE MEN IN GREEN – GO GET IT DONE.Recommend

  • Amad
    May 14, 2010 - 1:08PM

    Best of luck to Afridi 11 !Recommend

  • Amad
    May 14, 2010 - 1:10PM

    BEST OF LUCK TO AFRIDIE’S 11 … :)Recommend

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