February 19, 2006

Blame-storming

So, the last match of the Hutch Cup ended today and Pakistan lost it by 8 wickets, loosing the series 4-1. Pakistan got a reasonable start today and it seemed that 300 runs could be piled on board but the middle order fumbled and inspite of good knocks of 67 by Yousuf and 74 by Younis, Pakistan made 287 only, an achievable total at National Stadium, Karachi. Inzamam, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Razzak all failed to stand on the wicket. Inzamam, the senior most player in the team, got out repeatedly playing in cross.

Pakistani bowling was on the mark in the initial overs but it was the fielding that turned the game against us. Dropped catches, over throws and fumbling with the ball proved to be lethal. With Sami dropping two catches and players like Yasir Arafat doing overthrows that costed 4 runs, it was felt that Indians were playing against a bunch of school boys.

At times, it seemed that more direct hits were missed than there were people in the stands, more balls were fumbled than there are people in Karachi, throws were backed up in much the manner Brutus backed up Julius and as a collective, fielders became India’s 12th, 13th and 14th men on the field. Indian batsmen gleefully took the piss, tapping straight to fielders and blindly, sans calls, running because even in the unlikely event of the ball being picked up clean, stumps weren’t going to be struck. Mohammad Sami was particularly special, bizarrely pulling out of a catch at square leg and throwing regularly at an imaginary set of stumps on another ground. Many others made sure he didn’t feel left out, with Shoaib Malik dropping Yuvraj Singh at extra-cover when 94 were needed at nearly eight per over. The only positive might be that it really can’t get any worse.

After the defeat, routine blame-storming is in progress. Some of the ex-players put the blame on captain and team management’s shoulders, accusing them of defensive mind set. Inzamam thinks that indians outclass us in all aspects of the game but it was the fielding that took us down.

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