ISLAMABAD - Shahid Khan Afridi, Ahmed Shahzad and Fawad Alam played superb knock to guide Pakistan to a thrilling victory against Bangladesh in the last group match played at Shera Bangla Stadium, Mirpur.
Green shirts never chased such a huge total earlier in their cricket history. Despite poor umpiring and unfriendly crowd, men in green stamped out their authority and chasing a huge total, they also managed to remove the tag of poor run-chasers.
Bangladeshi batsmen gave a real rough treatment to one of the best bowling attacks of the world with their sensational batting while sloppy fielding, drop catches and full-fledged support of the on-field umpires also supported the Bangladeshi batsmen’s cause. None of the Pakistani bowler except Hafeez escaped punishment, otherwise, Umar Gul was the main culprit, as he gave away 76 runs in his quota of overs. M Talha also disappointed the nation as he failed to carry on with the good form he showed against India and gave 68 runs in only seven overs. Afridi (64), Ajmal (61) were the other bowlers, who were severely punished by the Bengali Tigers.
The most astonishing thing was three beamers bowled by Abdul Rehman which cost Pakistan dearly, as his inclusion in the team was purely due to his bowling but his stupidity left team with high and dry. Instead of committing blunders in the team selection, now the team management should use commonsense and select Anwar Ali for the finals as he is the best option because he can bowl well and can also hit some lusty blows when it matters the most. Hafeez showed some courage by opening the innings and played well. Sharjeel should be rested and Anwar should be given chance ahead of Abdul Rehman or Junaid Khan.
It was a real treat to watch Afridi in full flow as his majestic knock almost ensured Pakistan post highly unlikely victory, which at one stage was almost out of the hands of green shirts when they lost three quick wickets. Fawad Alam also played crucial role in team’s triumph as he not only stayed at the wicket, but also sneaked quick singles. It was by all means team work, especially by the batsmen, who were long being blamed for their irresponsible batting and throwing wickets away but they performed their duty well and helped the team register victory and berth in finals.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) must take up the umpiring issue with the International Cricket Council (ICC). They must ask the reasons why only Pakistani team is given such a special treatment by the umpires in almost all their matches and this attitude must be stopped once for all. PCB chairman Najam Sethi should stop giving unnecessary and unwanted statements. What was the reason of attributing victory against India to changes in Pakistan Cricket Board as it has nothing to do with changes in the board or Najam Sethi rather it is a sheer good work of the entire team.
Now the momentum is very much in the favour of green shirts so they carry it on in the final against Sri Lanka and beat them to bring the trophy to home.