Pakistan vs South Africa, 1st ODI Review

Written by Fahd Mirza on February 6th, 2007   (1,809 views)

Pakistani cricket fans saw a traumatic nightmare with open eyes on Sunday the 4th Feburary, 2007, when Pakistani bowlers got severe spanking from every South African batsman, resulting in the highest ever target of 392 against Pakistan. South Africa literally thrashed and sifted Pakistan brutally in Centurion.

The all-too-familiar ill-judgement and yet-again lack-of-planning on the part of Pakistani Captain Inzamam-ul-haq resulted in giving South Africa (SA) a golden chance to bat first even after winning the toss. From the very first ball, Vibrant Smith(72) and Smart AB de Villiers (67) took the attack to Pakistan and never looked back. They hit the ball where they liked. They played brilliantly with the help of inconsistent line and length of Rana Naved and the rest. Even jaded Mohammad Asif received his chunk of sticks.

The onslaught at Centurion by the centurion-match player Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers was so bombastic that SA raced to 140 in just first 18 overs. Misery of Pakistani bowlers and fielders loosened somewhat when Loots Bosman got out and Kallis(88) waited to his 50th ball to score his first boundary. Kallis and prolific Ashwell Prince(39) built the innings from there professionaly.

After the departure of Prince, Electrified Mark Boucher(78) appeared on the horizon and then all hell broke loose. Projectiles were everywhere. Six, six, four, four, wide, four, noball, six, wide……and so on. The blizzard was so intense that even Younis Khan forgot to show us his 32 teeth. The mosaic of boundaries was jam-packed. The continuity of aggression was so impeccable that even spectaters got tired of raising placards announcing 6 and 4. Kallis wrapped up the sixer galore by bludgeoning the 10th six of the innings to haggard Naved.

After ripping apart the Pakistani bowling and fielding, SA set on to rampage their batting. House of cards a.k.a Pakistani Batting line up fell ignominiously. No one showed any serious resistance. Yousaf(39) showed a little spark and Shoaib(52) did some batting practice, while Sami (46) tried to convince selectors with his batting skills. When showdown of Pakistan Cricket’s misery ended, the target was still 164 runs away.

The salient features of match also included the dumbness of Inzamam’s so-called captaincy, apathy of coach, uselessness of Rana Naved and Sami, skill-lessness of Hafiz, hype of Afridi’s aggression, fragility of Younis Khan, failure of Kamran Akmal, callousness of Abdul Razzaq and a total lack of will-power and desire-to-win on the part of all Pakistani players. The most glaring difference was between the approach of both captains. Smith was proactive, dynamic, reactive and professional at every stage of the game while Inzamam stood their like a stupa or was it statue?

Where this match has un-masked the dark realities regarding the professionalism and skill-level of Pakistani team, there is also a silver lining. Failures like these open up a new window of opportunities where one can redeem himself by learning from mistakes. But in order to correct mistakes, first one has to recognise and admit them with an open heart and firm resolve.

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