Pakistan wilt to hand India a shot at glory - Pakistan Today

Pakistan wilt to hand India a shot at glory

MOHALI – It was not India who won this war of attrition. It was Pakistan that turned out to be sub-par, sadly, every which way. This handed India its third shot on glory at the World stage. The two sub-continental teams take each other on in the World Cup final on April 2, and Pakistanis would rue that their boys would not be one of them.
The celebration here is going to be long and deafening; delivering the knock-out punch to arch-enemy on way to the final is the ultimate aphrodisiac in these parts where cricket is only a close second to religion. India after all has ambitions of world leadership – in all spheres.
Being so close to being crowned world champions in the limited format, after being numero uno in Test cricket, if not wholly, at least quite substantively satisfies those cravings. It was a game in which Pakistan was most shockingly insipid. When each one of the eleven should have been primed to perform, most disintegrated, shooting themselves in the foot.
Such implosion, such caving-in had been predicted by many an expert, but the diehard Pakistani fan had clung to hope that this once, Shahid Afridi and his charges would turn out to be equal to the challenge. They would be massively disappointed. The greenshirts had flattered to deceive yet again and this must have stung the aficionados.
There is no dishonour in defeat. But the manner in which so many of our boys did not make their opportunities count, absolutely refusing to slug it out and muster a fight in a crunch game was shocking. It was not that Pakistan alone was found wanting. India was quite bad itself, but the sad thing was that on this day we were worse.
Pakistan had its moment and these could have been turned into match-winning ones, dousing India’s frenzied ambition only if there had been some method, some conviction, some application and some commitment. At the end what separated the winner from the vanquished was 29 runs – and it would not have been a bridge too far if any two or three from the upper order planned and executed the gettable chase with some sense.
The openers had seen the dangerous Zaheer Khan off in a reasonable stand, when the worst of the offenders on the day, Kamran slashed outside off and fell. That was the start of a procession and soon it was about 100 runs on the board at the expense of four wickets – including that of the elder statesman Younis Khan.
The second major culprit, the younger Akmal, Umar essayed a loose shot after reviving the innings in an eye-catching little came. Razzaq didn’t know where his off-stump was and with Misbah a strokeless wonder, Afridi too lost his wits and it was beyond redemption. Again the responsibility for allowing India to 260 was our bowling’s and our most atrocious fielding’s.
Once the toss was lost, with the sun belting down on a featherbed of a wicket, Umar Gul was expected to dent the opposition. Instead he chose this moment to bowl short and leg-sidish. He was asking to be murdered. And Sehwag was in a mood to oblige. Wahab got him, but Gul refused to reform himself – wicketless and 69 runs was his punishment.
Sachin Tendulkar had held the Indians together and was named Man of the Match for a charmed innings that was a gift of Kamran Akmal and two of our most senior campaigners, Misbah and Younis for they floored him. But for Wahab Riaz’s most impressive five-for and the spinners making India choke and sputter in the middle overs, Pakistan’s misery may have been a whole lot profound.
Pakistan World Cup campaign has fallen short, but it is not just this one reverse that we have to ponder. We need to think hard and deep why our cricket lacks the killer instinct. This is not just a cricketing issue but a management show too. It only becomes manifest on the field – the Board room though is equally responsible.
MOHALI – India beat Pakistan by 29 runs on Wednesday to set up a World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, as disappointed Pakistani cricket fans blamed a sluggish Misbahul Haq for the defeat. By the evening all major roads in several cities were gridlocked with cars, motorcycles and jubilant revellers, but the festive atmosphere turned tense as the Pakistani batting line began to fall before India.
By the end of the day, 30 people were brought to hospitals across Karachi after being wounded by stray bullets fired during the festivities, hospital officials said. Pakistan, chasing 261 for victory, were dismissed for 231 in the face of a disciplined effort by India.
India’s 260 for nine, after winning the toss, was built around Sachin Tendulkar’s 85, but they might have made considerably less had not the “Little Master” been dropped four times in an innings. Wahab Riaz led Pakistan’s attack with career-best figures of five for 46. AFP

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