Monday, June 15, 2009

Live Blogging Pakistan Vs. Ireland T20 World Cup AKA Revenge Day AKA Let's Do This For Bob AKA Go Back To Potato Farming And Leave The Cricket To Us

Hello and welcome to Rs. 5's coverage of today's T20 world cup game between Pakistan and Ireland. As always, all times are local (i.e. Chicago).

7:21 a.m. Bloody hell, it's early. My eyes aren't even open. The W thinks I am completely insane. But she doesn't understand. You, loyal cricket follower, understand, but she doesn't. She doesn't know/remember what happened in 2007. Today, we correct history.

7:23 a.m. We've won the toss, and chosen to bat. Same team as the one that destroyed NZ.

7:24 a.m. I want this to be a Tony Soprano vs. Fabian Petrulio type of situation: revenge.

7:30 a.m. And we're off. Akmal facing up to Boyd Rankin, and works away the second ball off his hips for one. Shahzaib at the other end.

7:32 a.m. And straight away there's some action, as Shahzaib skies one over mid off trying to work it through the leg side. Falls safe for two. Anyway, four off the first over. I want 250.

7:34 a.m. Trent Johnston to bowl from the other end. "Bowls a heavy ball" according to Alan Wilkins. "Bowls a wide ball" according to the umpire.

7:35 a.m. Bang! A full ball pinged over cover. That heavily clattered into the advertising hoards.

7:37 a.m. Iffyish shot from Shahzaib, just evades mid off running back. Ends up for four, and neither he nor I will complain. Hey, man, they don't pay you to be pretty in T20. It's 13-0 after two.

7:39 a.m. Looks to be a beautiful day for cricket. But I am sitting about 10,000 miles away and watching on a real dodgy feed, so don't trust everything I say.

7:41 a.m. Bloody hell, this Boyd Rankin fellow is built like fucking Frankenstein. He bounces one well over Akmal's head, who of course tries to hook it. FYI, Akmal was out pulling against both England and New Zealand. Anyway, quiet over -- just the one off it. 14-0 after three.

7:43 a.m. Akmal's looking very iffy here. Hasn't middled one yet.

7:44 a.m. My powers know no bounds. Akmal middles the next one alright. A nonchalant flick into the stands at midwicket. First six of the day.

7:45 a.m. And now it's Shahzaib's turn to get into the act, flicking a good length ball to deep square for four. The next one is lifted over mid on, and this has been a good over so far. 14 off it already with one to go.

7:46 a.m. Yeah, make that twenty off it. Huge hit over long on. Count me fairly and squarely as occupying the Shahzaib bandwagon. 34-0 after four.

7:48 a.m. What do you think Salman Butt is thinking right now? "Thank God the management had the good sense to see that I'm a terrible, terrible player"?

7:49 a.m. Shahzaib has added something to our team that most teams already have but we inexplicably didn't: big hitting at the top of the order. I mean, it's frigging twenty overs. You think our management would have caught on to the fact that you might want to score quickly at the top (and in the middle, and at the end). Anyway, this Rankin fellow is bowling well, mixing up menacing bouncers with balls swinging away. Three off the over, and we move on to 37-0 after five.

7:51 a.m. Alex Cusack into the attack. Apparently he got 4-18 against Sri Lanka.

7:54 a.m. Well, that was one too many attempted lofts from Shahzaib. Tries to get it over mid-off again, and this time it's safely pouched. He'd done that a couple of times and gotten away with it. No worries, he's done his job.

7:55 a.m. Surprise move here, as Boom Boom Afridi walks in. 38-1 after six, by the way.

7:57 a.m. With the fielding restrictions up, Regan West (slow left arm) into the attack. "Dream come true for Shahid, spinners on" says Waz. Chappel thinks it's a good move to have him up the order, so that he actually has a chance to get into form. Meanwhile, Akmal plays a gorgeous cover drive for four.

7:59 a.m. Wow, Afridi strategically placing it so they can back for two. What's happened to him? Anyway, eleven off the over and it's 49-1 after seven.

8:01 a.m. And now a smashed cover drive off Cusack. Say it softly, but Afridi's actually playing well.

8:02 a.m. And now Akmal paddle sweeps Cusack (a medium pacer) over short-fine's head. Four more, and we're looking good here. Also, it's nice to see Akmal carrying on after a solidish start -- he's thrown it away the last few games. He's such an important player for this team.

8:03 a.m. Great over, with a couple of boundaries and a couple of twos. 14 off it, and we're motoring here: 63-1 after eight. Really sensible cricket, mixing powerful hitting with aggressive running and smart placement.

8:07 a.m. 73-1 after nine. Remember, kids: aim for 250. So we 177 off 11, just around 16 an over from here.

8:09 a.m. An off-spinner in from the other end. Afridi greets him with a powerful sweep for four, and he's raced to 24 off 12. The funny thing is he hasn't really gone after the bowling.

8:10 a.m. Well it was too good to last. Afridi holes out to long on. Sigh. 78-2 after 9.3. Younis in.

8:12 a.m. Tidy first over from Generic Off-Spinner, and it's 79-2 after 10. Johnston back in from the other end.

8:13 a.m. "Three and four, lads," yells the keeper. "Two freshies out here, two freshies out here." Listen up, Irish dude: shut up. You don't even play this sport. You don't belong here. Stop talking like you know what you're doing. Just stop it. Go home.

8:15 a.m. As Manrekar says, Younis looking busy straight away. Two, four, one to start.

8:16 a.m. Beautiful. Akmal plays a really delicate late to the medium pacer, the type which makes the purists go "Aha". 91-2 after eleven.

8:18 a.m. Stop the presses: Younis played a sweep shot against a spinner. Anyway, five off the over (including a half stumping chance against Akmal), and Pakistan are 96-2 after twelve.

8:20 a.m. Shot! Akmal opens his arms against West, and lifts him over extra cover. He's the complete batsmen when in full flow, Akmal.

8:21 a.m. And Younis is gone! Nothing shot in the end, as he tries to slog sweep across the line and gets bowled. Very unYounis like shot there, at least at this stage of his innings. 102-3 in 12.5 and Misbah in.

8:24 a.m. These spinners are being really slow and loopy, as Manrekar calls it. Making the batsmen come up with the pace -- smart bowling. Anyway, Akmal holds the key for us. He needs to bat until the end.

8:25 a.m. Tidy over, with six off it and no boundaries. 109-3 after 14. Come on, guys. Let's get to 200. Seriously. 200. Teach these bastards a lesson.

8:26 a.m. I would like to nominate Kepler Wessels for the coveted "world's most boring and least insightful commentator" award. Other nominees: Rameez, Arun Lal, Bob Willis, Jimmy Adams, Ranjit Fernando.

8:28 a.m. Another tidyish over, seven off it. Just biding their time, methinks. 116-3 after 15.

8:30 a.m. Fifty for Akmal! Well played, young man. Not exactly Karachi circa 2006, but then again, what is? Now carry on.

8:32 a.m. Akmal tees off, and lifts it over the covers. Another gear now that he got his fifty?

8:33 a.m. And now Misbah gets going by smashing a low full toss past the cover fielder for four. Good over, and it's 129-3 after sixteen.

8:34 a.m. The seamers have been carted for a lot more than the spinners. Clue for how we should approach things in the field, right? I expect Ajmal, Afridi and Malik to bowl their full quotas.

8:36 a.m. What the fuck, dude. Four singles off the first four balls. Get a goddamn move on, guys.

8:37 a.m. And now Akmal's gone. Brilliant. Dances down and basically yorks himself. 133-4 in 16.5. This hasn't been a great over for us, to put it mildly. Razzaq in. Not that I disagree with the move or anything, but allow me to say the following: poor Fawad Alam.

8:39 a.m. Three overs left. Ok, seriously guys, we need at least 160-170. Let's get some boundaries going here.

8:40 a.m. Misbah obliges. To be fair, if you're going to bowl a full toss at slowish pace, you're going to end up in the stands. 98 meters, we're reliably told.

8:41 a.m. What a comical dismissal. Quite possibly the slowest delivery ever bowled in cricket, and Misbah's through his swing by the time the ball gets to him. Gets the toe end, and loops up for the keeper to take a smart catch. Malik in, and Pakistan 141-5 in 17.4 overs.

8:42 a.m. Shoaib Malik's nickname is "moon". I have no idea why. Alan Wilkins elicits 42 million groans with "Well, I hope he's a full moon, not a half moon." Good one, Wilko. Good one.

8:43 a.m. Just nine from the over, and Pakistan are 142-5 with two overs to go. BOUNDARIES! MORE THAN ONE AN OVER, THANKS.

8:45 a.m. Single to mid off. By the way, Waz pronounces the word "interesting" like it's "entrusting".

8:46 a.m. Single to backward point. I have three words. WHAT. THE. FUCK.

8:46 a.m. Bouncer, through to the keeper. Dot. Two off four in this over, by the way.

8:47 a.m. Single to long on. Awesome.

8:48 a.m. And a single to finish. Brilliant. 146-5. We'll be lucky to get to 160. Disappointing close to the innings, it has to be said. After the start we got, we really should have ended up with 180. It can change so quickly in this format -- a couple of quiet overs, and suddenly you're left with a below average total.

8:50 a.m. Two singles to start this over. I can only presume match-fixing.

8:50 a.m. Thank you, Razzaq. Massive six, ramrod straight.

8:51 a.m. A two to midwicket.

8:52 a.m. And a single to finish. Ireland will require exactly eight an over against a top-class bowling line up. But you have to give them credit: they pulled it back really well in the last six overs. Their spinners bowled really well, as did Rankin. For Pakistan, Akmal was obviously the best player, and Shahzaib and Afridi both played useful knocks. No one else really did anything of note.

8:54 a.m. Misbah starts every sentence with "Yeah, of course." He also looks quite pissed off. Pretty bland interview with Chappell though, which is yet another reason Younis is a better choice for captain. The "WWF" and "fun" and "dummy captain" and "every game is like a semi final just to get to the semi final" quotes? Come on man. You can't argue against that stuff.

8:58 a.m. What do you think people? Is it enough? What about net run rate considerations?

9:08 a.m. Aamer to open the attack. Porterfield (?) works off his hip for two to start. Follows with a single. Come on, Aamer. Crank it up.

9:11 a.m. A couple of LBW appeals against Niall O'Brien. First one was perhaps too high, second one probably had a bit of bat and struck just a bit outside off. Anyway, six off the first over. Decent start for the Irish.

9:13 a.m. The replays suggest that both shouts were closer than I had first thought. But it's Rudy, so we really shouldn't expect anything.

9:14 a.m. These guys just keep it tapping it and running. Our fielding in the circle is so bad, it's not funny.

9:14 a.m. And Razzaq is picked up over mid on by O'Brien. Excellent.

9:16 a.m. Seven from a harmless over from Razzaq. 13-0 after two. "Ireland are really up for this, they're up for it," says Wilko. Shut up, Wilko. I don't want to hear this crap.

9:18 a.m. Aamer with a couple of quick bouncers, flying right past O'Brien, who's apparently been hit in his career a couple of times according to Kepler Wessels. Just keep bowling the bouncers, then.

9:19 a.m. GONE! The bouncer does the trick. O'Brien is caught one-third of the way between a pull, a short arm-jab and a leave, and it just scoops up to Aamer for the caught and bowled. Well done, Aamer. Well fucking done. Next Waz? You heard it here first.

9:20 a.m. By the way, I was joking with the whole "next Waz" thing. Even my hypometer is not that off-base.

9:21 a.m. Beautifully carved through the covers by the new batsman, Paul Stirling. 18-1 after three.

9:22 a.m. Razzaq is just putting it up there -- this can't even reliably be called "bowling". "It's rather gentle," Wilko says.

9:24 a.m. Razzaq apparently bowls a slower delivery. I say "apparently" because it's impossible to tell with him. Anyway, five from the over and Ireland are 23-1 after four. Decentish start for both sides, I would say.

9:28 a.m. This is great bowling from Aamer. Just back of a length, at good pace, and well directed. Can't really get him away.

9:29 a.m. Yeah, Fawad! Great fielding at the boundary. Saved a run there. Seven off the over, and Ireland are 30-1 after five. Can't play the short ball from Aamer AT ALL, for whatever it's worth.

9:33 a.m. Note to Razzaq: you can't bowl halfway down the pitch if you're bowling at 70mph. That instantly transfers it from "bouncer" to "long hop". Ruins the good over, and Ireland move on to 37-1 after six overs. Afridi into the attack.

9:36 a.m. Ireland are ticking along here. Getting singles and twos regularly. I mean, they're not dominating or anyting but...I donno. I don't feel comfortable.

9:38 a.m. Ok, I feel a touch more comfortable. Stirling tries to slog sweep Afridi and gets bowled. What a bowler Afridi has become. Kevin O'Brien in.

9:39 a.m. Ajmal in from the other end. "This will be the test for Ireland," Kumble informs us.

9:41 a.m. They're just quietly knocking it around. 47-2 after eight. Rate required around nine and a half.

9:43 a.m. Akmal, please stop talking. Please.

9:45 a.m. Too many twos in that over, as the Irish batsmen just knock it halfway to the boundary and challenge our pathetic out cricket. 55-2 after nine.

9:45 a.m. Malik replaces Ajmal after just the one over.

9:48 a.m. This has been a good over for Ireland. A three and a boundary in between a couple of singles, and there's already ten off it with a ball to go. Why was Ajmal taken off after a really good first over? Malik's half the bowler Ajmal is. Anyway, Ireland move on to 66-2 after ten.

9:51 a.m. Afridi's keeping things tight. Rate required inching to ten.

9:51 a.m. Damnitt. Boundary to end the over. 74-2 after eleven.

9:52 a.m. And Umar Gul into the attack. A bit early for me, but whatever. In Younis We Trust.

9:54 a.m. Aaaannnd we're into a discussion of ball-tampering. Lovely. Cameras trained on the ball. Let me say this: Pakistan unjustly complains about a lot of things on the international cricket stage, and generally we act like we have a permanent chip sculpted on to our collective shoulder. But just for once, I would like the Western countries to just appreciate when we're better than them. I mean, is it really a surprise when we kick New Zealand's ass with quick bowling? We've ALWAYS kicked their ass. In Pakistan. In New Zealand. In third countries. In test cricket. In ODI cricket. In meaningless games. In World Cup semi finals. I think our record of being a better team, and a better skilled team, is fairly well-established. I just wish they would acknowledge this, instead of casting asperions on the reasons for our success.

Put differently, fuck you, New Zealand.

9:57 a.m. Ireland 81-2 after twelve, by the way.

9:59 a.m. Afridi's last over is, as usual, full of guile and smarts. Just the six off it, and he finishes with 1-26 in his spell. Ireland need 73 off 7 overs.

10:01 a.m. Ajmal replaces Gul after one over, and gets a wicket right off the bat. A mistimed push, and Younis gobbles it up at extra cover with a well-timed jump. Ireland drop to 87-3, and finally Pakistan break the partnership.

10:03 a.m. Ajmal ruins his wicket-maiden with a last-ball wide. This better be a quiet last ball.

10:04 a.m. It is. Dot to finish. 88-3 after fourteen. Rate required is an even 12. Gully replaces Afridi.

10:07 a.m. Great bowling from Gully. Beats the left hander three times in a row outside off, and follows with a bouncer.

10:08 a.m. And the next one is fuller and on leg stump. Don't know what Akmal is appealing for.

10:09 a.m. And again, full and on leg stump. Just the leg-bye from the over. Beautiful bowling. As Manrejkar says, Gully has all the tools: pace, swing, direction, a good bouncer, and an excellent yorker. Ireland are 89-3 after 15.

10:10 a.m. And Razzaq drops a catch at long off. I've run out of mean jokes about our fielding. I'm just going to matter of factly tell you when we misfield and drop catches. That's it.

10:11 a.m. No mistake this time though, as this one goes straight to him. Maybe the fact that he didn't have to move helped. Ireland drop to 93-4, and this game is over. But we need to keep our foot on the pedal because of net run rate issues.

10:13 a.m. Five off the over, Ireland 98-4. They need 62 in four overs.

10:15 a.m. Stumps all over the place. Yikes. How many bowleds/LBWs is Gully going to get in this tournament?

10:18 a.m. Have you noticed how few wides Umar Gul bowls? He's always at the stumps or within six inches of them. It's the Pakistani way for quick bowlers, I guess. (Except for Asif)

10:19 a.m. Gul hits the stumps but it's not out because it was a free hit. What a dumbass rule this is.

10:20 a.m. Anyway, Ireland are 105-5. 55 needed from 18 balls.

10:22 a.m. Akmal gets a stumping off an Ajmal doosra. Brings back Saqlain-Moin memories.

10:24 a.m. Hahaha. Classic. Cusack (the new batsmen) hits Ajmal in the deep for a two. Akmal then says "yeh maarey ga" ("he's going to go for it") so Ajmal serves up a doosra. Sure enough, Cusack comes down, swings, misses, and Akmal has himself another stumping. Brilliant.

10:25 a.m. And now it's Gully, getting another batsmen bowled. He doesn't half smash the wickets, Gully. Ajmal and Gully, if I'm not mistaken, are now the tournament's two leading wicket-takers.

10:27 a.m. I think it's safe to say no.55 is going to be my next Pakistan shirt purchase. Now he gets a run out, as there's a little bit of confusion, and Gully runs down, aims, and gets the direct hit. Things have fallen apart for Ireland quite quickly here. 111-9.

10:30 a.m. Some mild comedy here, as a powerful gust of wind drops the umpires hat, drops the bails, blows the boundary in, and leads to the bowler's cap escaping Rudy's control too. Shahzaib goes and collects Gully's cap and promptly sticks it down the back of his pants. I'd be careful about wearing that cap if I was Gully.

10:33 a.m. And that's the end of Gully's spell. Four overs, 2-19. Brilliant stuff. And yes, confirmation that Gully and Ajmal are the leading wicket takers in the tournament (12 and 11 respectively).

10:33 a.m. Last over will be bowled by Aamer. He starts with a leg-side wide. He did his part too, don't forget, with the early breakthrough.

10:36 a.m. So as this winds down, let's discuss the group at large. Basically Pakistan are now through. Sri Lanka will be through if they beat NZ. If NZ win, it will then depend on net run rate to decide who between them and SL go through. The only question for Pakistan is now whether or not we go through as the first seed or second seed. Seeing as how the second seed will be playing (a very dangerous looking) South Africa, we should be pulling for NZ to beat SL badly enough to knock them out, but not so badly to get their NRR above ours. Don't know if that's mathematically possible, but we shall see.

10:38 a.m. And we're done here. Pakistan win by 39 runs in a comprehensive victory. As Ian Chappell says, "things coming together for Pakistan." FYI, the table shows our NRR well above both SL's and NZ's. But because NZ has a better NRR than SL, any win for them gets them through. So we basically we should be pulling for a narrow win for NZ against SL. Anyway, that's it from me, I hope you've enjoyed the coverage, and take care.


Anonymous said...

Ok this really pisses me off...Just found this on bbc...take a look at the following link

Anonymous said...

is it just me or has malik seriously gone downhill as a cricketer since being sacked as captain??

Anonymous said...

Dude, stop with the net runrate obsession. We are ahead of both Sri Lanka and NZ in runrate, so we are through regardless of who wins.


Anonymous said...

Yep. We are through for sure. Our net rate exceeds that of both NZ and SL. If there is a three way tie, the winning team's run rate will increase and losing team's rate will decrease. Since ours is greater than both it won't matter as far as qualification is concerned. However, whether we top the group is still in the air.

Pagal_Aadmi_for_debauchery said...

With India gone, I am cheering for Pakistan now so good game! If Pakistan does not face South Africa in the semis they actually have a good chance of reaching the finals.

Apart from Wonkette, I don't really follow any liveblogging, but I have been following your liveblogging of the Pakistani games and it has been a lot of fun.

You should start regularly liveblogging other events like Obama's big pressers etc.

Nikhil said...

For someone who considers one-day cricket a waste of time, and T20 not even a sport, you're:

A) awfully keen on getting revenge for a loss which, at the time, you refused to even discuss because it was "just one day cricket."
B) waking up awfully early to watch a dodgy feed of an event you consider an utter waste of time.

What gives, choothie? What gives?

Ahsan said...

To the people who want me to stop caring about NRR:

Gentlemen, it matters greatly. Would you rather play the Saffies or the Windies (if you can help it)? Yes, we're through, but that's not enough.

Pagal Aadmi:

Thanks. During the run up to the election, I live blogged a couple of the debates. But nothing since then.


Ok, fair point, except:

1. I genuinely find T20 more entertaining than ODI cricket. The logic is: if you're going to bastardize the game, go all the way.

2. I would obviously much rather cheer on Pakistan playing test cricket, but no one seems to want to play tests against us right now. We played a grand total of zero tests in 2008. Since the beginning of 2007, we've played something like 7-8 tests, which is half a season's worth for the big teams (Oz, Ind, Saffies, England).

3. Revenge matters because Bob Woolmer friggin died after our last loss against these potato farmers.

4. We're doing well, and it's been too long since I actually got to cheer us on doing well. Even if it means waking up an ungodly hour.

karachi khatmal said...

sometimes, when people talk about test match cricket and t20s, its as if a couple of prissy old prudes sat down for tea one day, when one of them admitted that they enjoyed oral sex.

all the others throw up their hands, and cross themselves, and tut-tut furiously. how could you? it's not how love making is supposed to be. oh god, you've ruined something sacred.

i mean, let's face it, making love to an amazing lover may be the pinnacle of experience (pak v india, karachi 2006) but some great fellatio or cunninglingus (pak v aus 2007) or (w.i. vs india, w.i. vs aus 2009) can also be a pretty fucking amazing experience.

so let's all stop being apologetic and making excuses.

zeyd said...

Regarding the mad scramble to avoid the saffies, you sure it's that big of a deal?

I mean, these are the guys who have NEVER won a semi-final in a world cup.

I fancy our chances.

Pinky said...

i second Ahsan's response to the dumb allegations of ball-tampering against us!!
pathetic losers!!
i so wish NZ beat Sri lanka and then beat their semi-final opponent to meet us in the final, we will beat them again & the world will see whose balls have been tampered with

(err i am assuming that we will reach the finals :P

Shahab Riazi said...

Thursday will be a tough day. SA is on fire and after watching them against India, I am more convinced that these guys mean business this time around. Unless we get 200 against them batting first (because we can't chase anything), and Afridi, Ajmal and Gul fire and fire quickly, I think we are probably going to be watching a final b/w the wrong shade of green and the right shade of blue.

MW said...

at 8:20 a.m.
"Akmal opens his arms against West."

too much depth in the statement, eh?