Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Live Blogging Pakistan versus the Netherlands

Welcome to the live blog of the most important match Pakistan has played in years. And its against the might of the Netherlands. Watch the brilliant Dirk Nannes bowl us out and knock us out of a competition that is only meant to be "fun".

Pakistan innings

Over 1: Dirk Nannes opening to Akmal. Five runs off an over marked by excellent Nannes bowling and better Dutch fielding - both of which were noticeably missing in our performance against England. First stupid decision of the day was batting first. I would say we need 190 to feel safe. Five off the over

Over 2: First boundary of the day courtesy Akmal. First inane remark of the day courtesy Wasim, who says, "Pakistanis don't buy tickets on the internet." Akmal finishes off the over the over with another airborne four. Risky, but this is a time that calls for risks. 17-0

Over 3: Salman hits a confident boundary, followed by a nervous prod outside off, a horrific swish and an insane attempt to hit an inside-out shot. A single ensures he will guard the in-form Akmal from the strike. Nannes is clocking in at 91 mph, similar to Arafat. I advice everyone to ignore the speed gun.

Over 4: My apologies to Salman. The insane inside-out shot gets him our second six of the tournament. Then he plays and misses. Let me repeat an observation made by Ahsan: Salman deals only in boundaries and dot balls. Which may explain why his career 20/20 strike rate is below 100. Another Salman boundary takes Pakistan to 34-0.

Over 5: Akmal gets the strike after two over and is nearly caught off a lofted shot. Sorry for not telling you who has replaced Nannes but the commentators don't seem to know who he is either. Salman is caught off a drive. He hit a few boundaries but looked very shaky. Btw the bowler is Doeschate, which may explain why no one wants to say his name. Pakistan is 38-1. Malik walks in and Doeschate gives him a leg-side gift that is dispatched to the boundary. And then a drive through extra cover to take Pakistan to 46.

Over 6: Misbah is padded up to come in next. Shouldn't it be Younus? A huge graphic is displayed quoting Younus' "fun" statement. The commentators make disapproving noises. Guys, relax. Younus says random shit all the time. A sedate over where Akmal fails to connect with anything. 50-1.

Over 7: Under 9 an over in the powerplay isn't great but we have some sort of platform. Netherlands players seem to be either 40 or 17. Do they have no one in their mid-20s. An excellent start by Holland's left-arm spinner, with only one poor full toss that Malik fails to dispatch. 54-1 and two tight overs by the Dutch haven't helped our cause.

Over 8: Another nameless medium pacer comes into the attack. Second six of the day courtesy a brutal pull from Akmal. He's moved to 28 despite not getting enough strike. A wide delivery allows Akmal to end the over with a boundary. He seems quite untroubled.

Over 9: Some guy at backward point who looks like George Michael and fields like Imran Farhat drops Malik at backward point. It was a relatively simple chance. Two more dot balls. "Malik started well but has been subdued since." He has only faced 10 balls which should tell you everything you need to know about 20-20. Akmal hits another six. Pakstan is 77-1

Over 10: The left-armed spinner is named Seelar. Which is a pretty cool. His bowling is pretty good too, with lots of changes of pace. A bunch of singles and a couple of dot balls. Akmal, probably frustrated at the tightness of the bowling, fails to connect and is caught at the boundary. Seelar does a hilarious Goofy dance to celebrate. Pakistan is 81-2 at the halfway stage. Not good enough.

Over 11: And its Younus, not Misbah who walks in. Bumble thinks 175 will be enough. I'm not so sure. Only 7 off a good over.

Over 12: There doesn't seem to be any urgency to Pakistan's batting. Or are these supposed to be the consolidation overs? Malik aims one squarely at Younus' head. Regrettably he misses and picks up a couple. Six singles and Pakistan is 94-2.

Over 13: It's been 21 deliveries since the last boundary. The mantra seems to be drop and run at the moment. The bowling figures show many dot balls each bowler has delivered. Which sums up how ridiculous this version of the game is. Only five off the first five balls. Predictably, Malik goes for the six and is caught at deep midwicket for 30 of 18 balls. An excellent over by Peter Borren. He earned that wicket through tight bowling.

Over 14: Misbah comes before Afridi. And gets a boundary with a cut through midwicket. Finally. Hopefully he wants to prove to Younus how stupid it was to send Afridi before him against England. Eleven off the over and Pakistan is at 110-3.

Over 15: Dirk Nannes, who was understandably pissed off at not being picked by the Aussies, is back in the attack. He's probably give them the middle finger this morning. The running is quite poor as Misbah saunters through for a single where he could have got two. Then he mistimes a pull and whiffs at one outside off. I sense disaster. Only five off the over. We need to score at 13 an over off the last five.

Over 16: The wonderfully-named Doeschate replaces Seelaar. I love Dutch names. Finally a sense of urgency from Younus. He had made 10 off 11 balls before he hits a magnificent six, followed by a Misbah inside edge that brings four more. A good over for Pakistan and we are at 130-3

Over 17: I hate these mid-innings interviews. Salman Butt says, "I think there are a lot of Pakistanis in England." Well-said, sir. Alternating singles and twos off Borren, Pakistan get nine off the over. Nothing too inspiring.

Over 18: If we get 40 off the last three overs, we'll be in a decent position. It's been a strange innings. We haven't lost many wickets but haven't looked to score at 10 an over. Until now. Younus slog sweeps Seelar for six and then lofts one straight down the wicket for another maximum. He tries the same again off a full toss but doesn't connect at all and is caught at midon. Younus out for 36 off 20. Misbah ends the over with another boundary. 17 off the over and we're 156-4. We should be set for 180+.

Over 19: What odds would you give me on Afridi skying his first ball? Actually, he whacks it for two. Wasim advises him not to close his eyes and hit. And I advised Zardari not to grin so much. Neither has any chance of working. Schiferli (another great name) bowls a decent over giving up some twos with a precious dot ball thrown in. 164-4.

Over 20: Nannes to finish off an innings that has been pretty even. He starts with an excellent yorker that can only be dug out by Misbah for a single. He follows that with a well-pitched delivery that Afridi easily puts away for six. Then he is bowled. Hands up anyone who was surprised by that. Fawad Alam, with his career strike rate of 188, walks in and can only get a single. Wasim calls Nannes 'Nanas', as in his grandfather. The last three balls only bring four runs and Pakistan finishes on 175-5. Netherlands needs 151 to go through. It could get very tight. I predict the London-Lahore flight tomorrow will have 16 despondent Pakistanis.

A decent but unspectacular effort. Akmal made 41 and Younus and Misbah got into the thirties. Nannes was the pick of the bowlers with 1-26 of his four overs. See you guys in 10 minutes.

Netherlands innings

Over 1: Anyone know why the Dutch are called the Netherlands in cricket and hockey and Holland in football? Sohail Tanvir, who has thankfully replaced Yasir Arafat (what were his parents thinking), will open the bowling. Hollands openers are Reekers, 36 and Kervezee, 19. Just to stress my point about the Dutch players' ages. Reekers, who has the physique of David Boon, gets a boundary off the second ball. But four dot balls and a single mean Holland only manage 5 off the over.

Over 2: This Reekers is one powerful guy. Aamir's first two deliveries are mishit but both go for four. Another Reekers mishit goes high in the air. Pakistani fans wait for what seems an agonizingly long time. But it is caught. 13-1. Bas Zuiderent, who I recall played in the '96 World Cup, is next man in.

Over 3: Tanvir beats Zuiderent all ends up with an away swinger. Then beats him again with a wide one. Fawad misses a direct hit. Nothing new there. Tanvir is bowling really well. Shame he has to rely on Pakistan's fielders. Malik completely misjudges what should have been a catch and ends up about two metres away from the ball. 17-1

Over 4: Muhammed Aamir looks like a clone of Muhammed Sami. He also bowls a vintage Sami half tracker that is mishit by Kervezee for four.Hahaha. Salman Butt at fine leg drops a dolly. That's two dropped catches and a missed run out in four overs. Netherlands are 25-1.

Over 5: Wasim thinks Tanvir is unfit. His pace is certainly down. Yeah, he's definitely limping. Still, an excellent over. Only four singles.

Over 6: Umar Gul takes over from Aamir. His economy rate is under 6. That's quite incredible. Holland were falling well behind the pace with Gul giving only two runs off his first four deliveries. The Tanvir, no longer able to move, allows a ball to go to the boundary. He should go off the field but I guess he wants to bowl his one remaining over. Netherlands are 38-1.

Over 7: Saeed, who's had an excellent start to his T20 career, takes over from an ailing Tanvir, and is hit for a boundary off his second delivery. The ball is following Tanvir, who would have been able to stop that were he mobile. Simon Doull gets credit for the 10th mention of Younus' "fun" statement. A possible stumping is referred to the third umpire but Kervezee was well in. Five dot balls and a boundary so the score is 42-1.

Over 8: Afridi's first ball is a fast yorker and Zudierent, possibly expecting a conventional spinner, is bowled. Pakistan is well on top right now. Afridi's bowling has developed in inverse proportion to his batting. Two runs and a wicket off the over. We won't possibly screw it up from here, will we?

Over 9: Netherlands are trying to force the pace, they're just not very successful at it. Poor Tanvir has to run a lot for a possible catch. Were he fit, he would have reached the ball before dropping it. As it happens, he was nowhere near it. Then, shock, Salman Butt takes a catch as Borren departs. And Netherlands are 47-3. Make that 49-4 as Kervezee is stumped. Game over?

Over 10: Afridi is bowling really tight here. He also missed the simplest of run outs, failing to take the ball cleanly. I'm glad Pakistan can win without sacrificing the comedy routine. At the halfway stage, Netherlands are 53-4. They're going to need to score at 10 an over from here on out. Not impossible but looking extremely unlikely.

Over 11: A delicate dab from Doeschate, who has a reputation as good batsman, gets him three off Malik, who has replaced Ajmal. 8 off the over. 61-4.

Over 12: Afridi bowls De Grooth of his first ball. The new batsman is van Bunge (the best name so far). And he's gone. Stumped second ball. Afridi has the amazing figures of 3-6. One wide and two wickets in a brilliant over. 62-6.

Over 13: Doeschate (pronounced Diskata) isn't giving up. He hits Malik across the line for six. A very good stumping by Akmal (I'm as amazed as you are) and the dangerous Doeschate departs. The new man is skipper Smitts, 36. 72-7.

Over 14: Another wicket for Afridi as Schiferli hits a wide one down Ajmal's throat. Man of the match will be either Afridi (4 wickets so far) or Akmal (41 and 3 stumpings). These are the two players I was hoping would be dropped forever a year ago. Akmal gets hit on the arm after an Afridi faster one is deflected off Nannes' toe. For some incomprehensible reason, Malik decides to make it worse by rubbing his arm. Afridi ends with the outstanding figures of 4-0-10-4. 76-8.

Over 15: Alan Wilkins says, "It could be a run-out," before realizing he's talking about Pakistan. Next ball, another possible run out. A good take by Akmal (what did he have for breakfast today?) off a wide throw and it's too close to call. Benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman. 82-8.

Over 16: Yorker specialist Umar Gul takes over from Afridi. Then decides to bowl two quick, short balls that Smits can't reach. Nothing much to report here other than Wasim's boring commentary. Gul shies at the stumps, misses and gives an overthrow. Deja vu, anyone? 87-8.

Over 17: Ajmal, who has 2-15, comes on to finish his spell. Nannes, thinking he was bowled, didn't bother trying to get back to the crease, gifting Akmal his fourth stumping, despite a fumble. Ajmal ends with 3-20, confirming that he and Afridi will be the backbone of our bowling attack in the Super 8's.

Over 18: Comment of the day from Wasim, "Winning is fun." Except when you've taken $300,000 dollars to throw a match but the other team is better at throwing it because they have taken $500,000. Umar Gul bowls Seelar and that's that. The Netherlands are 93 all out. Well, disaster averted in a thoroughly unexciting manner. That's it from me.


Nabil said...

Come on Umar Gul! and Tanvir!
(atleast they picked the right team this time)

AKS said...

They need like a 109 of 77 balls. They could still do it.

Having said that they don't seem to know how to play Afridi. Considering that, if you're Younus, do you give Shoaib Malik the ball today?

AKS said...

Aamir should've caught that. Why the hell can't our fielders a) run towards the ball, b) dive, c) catch it;

(Next ball) d) why can't the right man run for the ball, this Akmal is useless.

(NEXT ball) Finafuckingly!

AKS said...

Afridi is the man!

And Shoaib Malik is a chooth.

Nabil said...

haha how unpredictable are the pakistani team..akmal ended up getting 3 ( or was it 2?:S)) stumpings...

We need to fine tune our fielding though!

Tazeen said...

The Netherlands comprise of 12 provinces and Noord Holland and Zuid Holland (thats North and South Holland) are just the two of those provinces.

Useless trivia: (The Philippines and The Netherlands are the only two countries where article 'the' is part of the official name)

Ahsan said...

The Congo?

Ahsan said...

The Solomon Islands?

karachi khatmal said...

the pol sci nerd?

(if you notice, ahsan took 17 minutes to come up with solomon islands - a lot of thinking, or a googling effort at par in terms of laziness with our fielding...)

Tazeen said...


Is it not the People's Republic of Congo?


pol sci nerd - of course, what else do you expect from a doctoral candidate?

PS: Nothing can compare the gentle stroll that our cricketers think pass for fielding.

Ahsan said...

KK you haramzaada, I wasn't thinking of alternative responses to Tazeen for those 17 minutes. I was internetting on other stuff, and then thought about one more out of the blue. Please don't abuse me this way.


Maybe, I don't know. Also this whole "definite article" business is really a byproduct of the fact that you're using the English language; in French for instance all countries have the definite article (La France, Les Etats Unis etc etc).