Asian News

Pujara To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Indian batsmen Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire on a short term deal after Younus Khan’s u-turn.

Pujara Set To Play For Yorkshire After Khan U-Turn

Former Derbyshire batsmen and Indian international Cheteshwar Pujara is set to play for Yorkshire after Younus Khan pulled out in the last minute. Pujara who has blossomed in the international arena after Rahul Dravid’s retirement, replaces former Pakistan skipper Khan who has made himself available for his country’s up and coming tour of Bangladesh.

Younus Khan had only agreed the deal to join the county champions last month – but the lure of international cricket proved to much. The Pakistan number three had been on the fringes of his country’s world cup squad, so maybe this decision from the 37 year old is a way of trying to force himself back into contention after all-rounder Harris Sohail seems to have made the number position his own.

As good of a player Younus Khan is – it’s fair to say that the Tykes have a fantastic replacement in Pujara. Indian batsmen Pujara has a very impressive batting average of 57.01- and also has scored 8,724 runs in first class cricket – but the most impressive thing about the 27 year old right handed batsmen is his temperament.

The Indian number 3’s battling qualities and his resilience whilst at the crease will win the hearts of the Headingley faithful no doubt. After all it’s not as if Pujara doesn’t have previous experience in English county cricket , he did have a stint for Derbyshire as well.

The Three Musketeers Help Boost Pakistan World Cup Hopes

Mohammed Irfan celebrates taking a wicket in Pakistan's 29 run win over South Africa.

Mohammed Irfan celebrates taking a wicket in Pakistan’s 29 run win over South Africa.

Pakistan produced a brilliant performance to win against all the odds against one of the pre tournament favourites South Africa. Pakistan in typical Pakistan fashion insisted on doing it the hard way – but this win by 29 runs via the Duckworth Lewis method sees the 1992 world champions on course for the quarter finals.

The 2009 and T20 World champions came into this match showing two changes, one was enforced and was tactical. Nasser Jamshed who has excelled for Pakistan at the top of the order in the past, has sadly struggled in this tournament, wicket keeper batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed took his place at the top of the order.

The other change sees the injured Harris Sohail miss out, with veteran Younus Khan back in the side and at number three in the batting order.

As for South Africa they just showed the one change, Farhaan Behardien makes way for the returning JP Duminy who was injured in the last match.

It was South Africa who won the toss and unsurprisingly opted to out Pakistan into bat. Proteas captain AB Devilliers appeared to have made the right choice, as this was the pitch which produced the low scoring thriller between the two hosts New Zealand and Australia.

Pakistan who have evidently struggled in the first 10 overs this tournament, seemed much more determined to bat better than what they have done in the first 10 overs of previous matches. The Green shirts as they are also known, Pakistan were very circumspect in the first 10 .

To their credit, Pakistan were batting really well and there was no need to panic as far as Pakistan are concerned. Sarfraz Ahmed in particularly was playing with purpose as the 27 year old was playing out of his crease at any given opportunity, maybe to just look to unsettle the South African attack.

South Africa though were on the whole very well disciplined – but didn’t bowl many short balls considering this pitch did have extra bounce in it. Pakistan and more in particular Ahmed Shehzhad after weathering the initial storm if you will but began to play more expansive .

The Pakistani opener played some beautiful straight drives as he looked to move through the gears – but Shehzhad’s innings would come to an end due to a brilliant catch from one of the South African players you would least expect.

Dale Steyn who is famed for his bowling took a quite brilliant catch to remove Pakistan’s opener. Ahmed Shezhad who was starting to gain a bit of confidence after those drives, decided to take on Kyle Abbot – but managed to only find Dale Steyn who quite brilliantly dived backwards to catch a ball in midair.

After that setback Shehzhad’s opening partner Sarfraz Ahmed exploded and hit 23 of a JP Duminy over which included three massive sixes. Ahmed seemed well set to get a 50 – but rather needlessly ran him self out when trying to chase two runs for his 50, it was poor judgement from Pakistan’s wicket keeper who tried to take on one of South Africa’s better fielders in David Miller.

After Pakistan lost their second just before the 100 came up, Younus Khan and captain Misbah Ul-Haq looked to regroup and consolidate their ascendancy. The Pakistani’s plan at that point was working – but when Younus Khan unforgivably lost his wicket for 37 playing a nothing shot off the part time bowling of De Villiers, Pakistan were again on the back foot at 132-3.

In came Sohaib Maqsood, a very capable middle order batsmen – but just like Khan, Maqsood also played a careless shot, South Africa at that point were looking to turn the screw. When Umar Akmal came in, a player who has performed reasonably well this world cup, the Green Shirts must have thought that any threat of a middle order collapse were dispelled.

Sadly however just like the other batsmen before him, Umar Akmal played a needless shot which De Villers gladly caught with out knowing to much about it due to the bad light. Soon after that dismissal the rain came and the players had to go off – but thankfully there was no detriment on the game, which made Akmal’s dismissal all the more unnecessary.

After being in a position of utter dominance, Pakistan contributed to their own down fall. When the players did come back out, the Pakistani’s crumbled from being 175-5 after Akmal’s dismissal, Pakistan were all out for 222.

The 1992 world champions in a game they could do with winning looked to have made a score which was at least 25 runs short of a par score.

South Africa in a match which was made to 47 overs a side due to rain interruptions, came out to bat knowing that if they successfully chase this total down, they’re all but through to the quarter finals – and that’s when the drama unfolded.

The Proteas couldn’t have got off to a worse start, Quinton De Kock who is struggling for form with the bat, also struggled for runs today. De Kock departed for a duck to leave South Africa in deep trouble at 0-1.

It was left to the experienced pair of Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis to rebuild the innings, and that they did superbly. Amla and Du Plessis put on 67 for the second wicket – but when Du Plessis was caught behind by Sarfraz Ahmed off the bowling Rahat Ali, Pakistan’s left arm seam trio of Mohammed Irfan, Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz got to work and essentially blew South Africa away.

Hashim Amla soon followed Du Plessis. Riley Rossouw who has impressed in South Africa’s last two games where they have scored 400, sadly for South African fans failed to make a big contribution as the RCB player just made six.

Rossouw wasn’t the only player to get a low score as Duminy and Miller were both dismissed cheaply, the latter being dismissed for a duck. In fact in South Africa’s lower order it was Dale Steyn who got the highest score with 16.

South Africa after doing brilliantly to restrict Pakistan, looked like they had quite clearly pressed self destruct as the Proteas managed to slump to 172-8. The South African’s hadn’t done just yet – and still had AB De Villiers at the other end of the ensuing carnage
When De Villiers was ninth man out for a well played 72, you knew the game was up for South Africa. The game did duly end when Imran Tahir was demised two runs later to hand Pakistan a 29 run win via Duckworth Lewis method.

Pakistan with this win have most definitely reigned their hopes of a quarter final place. As for South Africa despite losing today their superior run rate gives them an edge of their rivals. Group B draws to a climax on Thursday 12th and Sunday 15th March.

World Cup 2015 Preview

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The I.C.C World Cup kicks off on Friday 13th February, where India will be looking to retain their crown.

The Cricket World Cup 2015 is almost upon us. Fourteen teams from across the globe will be competing for crickets top prize. With cricket’s biggest event under a month away, the team here at Asian Sunday we thought that we would get you into the cricket world cup spirit.

We take a look at England’s preparation for the tournament as well as the Asian nations as well. Sri Lanka kick the tournament off against in form co hosts New Zealand on 14th February.

This years tournament, just like previous tournaments will see two groups of seven which will also include qualifiers of the round robin event to qualify for the tournament. Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE and Scotland were the teams to qualify through the round robin event.

Pool A consists of: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Afghanistan , Scotland.

Pool B consists of: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland , UAE .

Pool A Review:

Group A sees England in a very difficult group. The three Lions will be joined by Australia the team with the most world cup trophies (four) , in form New Zealand, Bangladesh, T2O winners Sri Lanka, Scotland and the very dangerous to underestimate Afghanistan.

With the first four teams from each group going through to the super eight phase, on paper you would expect England, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka to all progress to the next round. The gulf of class between the more experienced teams shall we say and the so called smaller sides is still big – but surprises do happen such as Ireland beating Pakistan in the 2007 tournament. It will have to take a surprise of extreme proportions for one of the qualifiers to qualify, which we don’t see happening .

England who have been marred by controversy off the field such as Kevin Pieterson’s criticism of the England set up, in the media and in his auto biography, hasn’t helped their preparation. On the pitch however England’s form has been poor which lead to Alistair Cook been replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan.

The Dubliner who replaced Cook due to the test captains poor form in one day internationals, hasn’t faired much better himself with the bat – but the 28 year old does have a good scoring average as captain and did hit a 100 in a losing cause in the match against Australia last week . A brilliant nine wicket win against India, should given Morgan confidence in his ability as a one day leader for England.

The Three Lions have taken a good squad with them with a mixture of ‘big hitters’ and ‘sensible batters’. Some may argue the exclusion of Ben Stokes is a mistake – but the Durham man’s bowling looks to have counted against him.

The ‘smaller nations ‘ if you can call them that I am afraid haven’t closed the gap yet – but countries such as Afghanistan, UAE and Ireland for example can only beat the best if they compete against the best.

The Afghan’s in particular have impressed in World Cups, Asghar Stanikzai is a player that caught our eye in the last tournament, Mohammed Shazhad is another who has impressed for the Afghans. The Achilles heel for the Afghans has been their fielding – and the Asian side will have to improve on that if they are to compete in matches in this World Cup.

Sri Lanka the T20 winners have struggled in the build up to the World Cup. The current series against New Zealand has been a difficult one – but the Sri Lankan’s have a lot of talent at their disposal – and not to forget the legendary Mahela Jayawardena and his partner in crime Kumar Sangakarra. I don’t think they need to worry to much, ideally though the Asian side would love to carry a winning momentum into the tournament.

Bangladesh the other Asian side in the group, unfortunately I think will not get past the first round. Off the field issues in The Tigers build up to the tournament hasn’t been ideal build up.

Teams we predict To Qualify From Group A:

Australia (Winners)
New Zealand (Runners Up)
Sri Lanka
England

Pool B Review:

Defending champions India, start their defence against arch rivals Pakistan on 15th February in a mouth watering game. The defending champions since their title 2011 win have gone onto to dominate recent tournaments. An ICC Champions Trophy and a runners up spot in the T20 World final emphasise the dominance the South Asians have had in recent years.

India’s preparation for the tournament hasn’t been the best however. The defending world champions have lost their last two games, which is never ideal. With superstars such as Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and not to forget to mention Suresh Raina it can be argued that the Indian’s have an embarrassment of riches.

Their opening game against Pakistan won’t be easy due to the way these matches have always been well contested – but the Indian’s haven’t lost to their fierce rivals in World Cup games.

Pakistan who will be facing arch rivals in the first match of their world cup campaign, come into this tournament with not as much cricket as their rivals. Matches against England and Bangladesh, just before the tournament starts could help the 1992 champions get into the right mindset.

The Pakistani’s forever known to be unpredictable, were rocked at the start of the tournament with the news that star spinner Saed Ajmal will miss the tournament as the 34 year looks to correct his illegal bowling action. The inclusion of all rounder Mohammed Hafeez who has also been reported for his action is a plus – but the 34 year old is expected to be just a batsmen for the tournament.

With the other teams including South Africa, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland; UAE and that the first four qualify, you would expect a safe passage through to the super eights for both Asian sides .

The Teams We Predict To Qualify From Group B

India ( Group Winners)
South Africa (Runners Up)
Pakistan
West Indies

Our Verdict :

The 2015 tournament promises to be a good one. Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan will no doubt feel they could go all the way and win the tournament. Australia the most successful side in the history of the tournament might have their work cut out in this tournament as they look to add to their four world cup wins.

India will feel they have something to say about, the defending world champions who have won the title twice and will be seen as favourites for this tournament by many , ourselves included. The beauty of sport and in particular sports tournaments – they’re never won on paper – but rather on the sports field.

New Zealand who will look to bring their good form to the world cup will be a potential dark horse. A team with Brendan McCullum in it, definitely has a chance of being successful, the Black Caps have never got past the semi-final – but maybe this team can?

England and Sri Lanka will be seen as outsiders by many – but both have good enough good squads to cause some surprises in the latter stages. Sri Lanka will be looking to give the legendary pair of Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardena a fitting send off, who most definitely will be playing in their last world cups.

The World cup starts on the 14th of February and finishes on the 29th of March.

England, Pakistan And Sri Lanka Announce Their Squads For The Cricket World Cup

Moeen Ali who has been selcted in England's 15 man squad, will be a crucial player for the three Lions if they want to succeed at the world cup in Australia.

Moeen Ali who has been selcted in England’s 15 man squad, will be a crucial player for the three Lions if they want to succeed at the world cup in Australia.

England who were runners up in the 1992 world cup, announced their cricket world cup squad on Wednesday 7th January and there was very few surprises. Former captain Alistair Cook was publicly dropped and was replaced as captain by Eoin Morgan as sports fan will know, Gary Balance is the man to take the England test captains place.

Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes is another player to miss out after disappointing in recent games for England – but as is the way with disappointments the 23 year old Stokes blasted an impressive 77 off just 37 balls for his new Australian club side the Melbourne Renegades the day he got omitted from England’s world cup side.

As for Pakistan (the side who beat England in that 1992 final) , the announcement of their cricket world cup squad brought a few surprises , the absence of experienced paceman Umar Gul, will no doubt raise eyebrows.Another experienced bowler, off spinner Saed Ajmal already was announced as an absentee for Pakistan’s world cup squad as the 34 year old already declared his unavailability on 28th November. The talented Akmal brothers both miss out – but Kamran Akmal’s inconsistency with his wicketkeeping has ultimately lead the Pakistani selectors to keep faith in current custodian of the wicketkeeping gloves Sarfraz Ahmed. Ahmed’s performances with the bat in recent months does justify the Pakistani’s decision to stick with the 27 year old wicket- keeper batsmen.

Sri Lanka who won the world cup in 1996 announced their squad which included the least surprises. Paceman Lasith Malinga who has recurring knee problems is included – but subject to fitness. The Asian side will be captained by Angelo Matthews as usual with Lahiru Thirimanne as vice-captain.Veterans Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jaywardena are included in what will most likely be their last world cup, and both will no doubt be wanting to go out on a high.

England’s 15 man cricket world cup squad :

Eoin Morgan (capt),Jos Buttler (wk) , Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad,, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan,), Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.

Pakistan’s 15 man cricket world cup squad:

Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Ehsan Adil, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan,, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Irfan,Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Khan, Umar Akmal,Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, Younus Khan.

Sri Lanka’s 15 man cricket world cup squad:

Angelo Mathews (capt), Chandimal (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Rangana Herath, Mahela Jayawardene, Dimuth Karunaratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga (subject to fitness), Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Dhammika Prasad, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sachithra Senanayake, Lahiru Thirimanne.

India Cricket World Cup Squad Announced

India one day captain will be hoping to lead India to a succesfull defence of their World cup trophy.

India one day captain will be hoping to lead India to a succesfull defence of their World cup trophy.

Defending World cup champions India announced their 15 man squad on Tuesday 5th January with the Asian side look to bounce back from a difficult test series with Australia by successfully defending their world cup crown in February. Ravindra Jadeja who is carrying a knock and Ishant Sharma who also have a niggle, are both included – but Yuvraj Singh who was the star of the last World Cup and been in good form this year domestically, is overlooked. Record breaker Rohit Sharma who scored a superb 264 last month against Sri Lanka is included in the squad which doesn’t include many surprises.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni who retired from test matches last month captains the side with Virat Kohli his deputy.

India World cup squad:
MS Dhoni (capt & wk)Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Shikhar Dhawan,, Ravindra Jadeja,, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Akshar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

Sport Comes Out On Top After A Difficult Week For Pakistan

In a brilliant gesture, New Zealand captain is said to have donated his match fee to the victims of the Peshawar massacre.

In a brilliant gesture, New Zealand captain is said to have donated his match fee to the victims of the Peshawar massacre.

It was something that could only happen in nightmares we thought – but sadly for the people of Pakistan and more particularly of Peshawar, (a city in the North West of the country) they were victim to one of the most violent terrorist attacks in recent history.

Some 128 people, mostly children had their lives cruelly taken away by the Taliban terrorists who attacked an army school in Peshawar. In an attack which shocked the country and the world, not many would have thought that sport would have a starring role in showing the terrorists that people can unite in such a tragedy.

Sport though has provide one way of bringing families some comfort. New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson is rumoured to have given all of his match fee from all the five games that he played in the recent series win over Pakistan to the stricken families of Peshawar.

In another act of kindness British born boxer Amir Khan who is of Asian origin is to donate his shorts which are rumoured to be valued at £30,000, to the victims of the atrocity in Peshawar. The Bolton born fighter on top of that act of kindness, Khan is out in Pakistan currently – and has vowed that he will do all he can to help the grief stricken people of Peshawar by physically being on the ground in aid of the victims.

Sport is very powerful in the way it promotes social values, such as racial equality and equality in general. Not every one maybe a fan of sports or sports people – but one thing you can’t away from sports and sports stars is that they unite really well in times of tragedy. The team at Asian Sunday very much offers it prays and thoughts to the families of Peshawar at a difficult time no doubt.

Pakistan Vs New Zealand Second T20 Match Report

A crucial 32 from captain Kane Williamson helped New Zealand square the T20 series 1-1

A crucial 32 from captain Kane Williamson helped New Zealand square the T20 series 1-1

Pakistan went into this second match of the T20 series looking to win – to secure a 2-0 lead which would win them the series. The Asian side drew the test series last month and were looking to go one better against the Kiwis this time round.

Former world champions Pakistan came into this match making one change, Awais Zia was replaced with test opener Ahmed Shehzhad. Daniel Vettori came in to the side for New Zealand Adam Milne and Mitch McCleneaghan made way for Kyle Mills. Pakistan won the toss, just as they did in the first game – and were looking to restrict the Black Caps to a total which they would be able to chase down.

New Zealand opening pair Anton Devcich and Kane Williamson who is captain of the T20 side helped their side put on a good stand for the opening wicket. In fact the New Zealander’s put on 49 for the first wicket. The Kiwi pair were looking solid, it was bit of a surprise when the first wicket did fall – Devcich the man out, bowled Mohammed Hafeez for 21.

The dismissal of Anton Devcich sparked a mini collapse for New Zealand who lost another three wickets for 29 runs. Just like in the first game the Black caps were in serious danger of not having enough runs on the board to defend their total.

A fifth wicket stand however of 38 helped settle the nerves – but when Tom Latham was fifth man out with the score on only 116, New Zealand didn’t look like they had enough on the board. Another three wickets fell for 20 as New Zealand scraped to 144-8.

Pakistan needed 145 to win the second match which didn’t seem enough considering the batsmen they have at their disposal. Cricket though is a funny old game – just when you think you know what’s going to happen usually the exact opposite happens.

The Pakistani’s got their reply off to a nightmare start. Friday’s hero Sarfraz Ahmed who scored an unbeaten 76 was first out, the wicketkeeper only managed a single before being dismissed. It didn’t get any better for Pakistan who lost wickets at regular intervals. Six Pakistan wickets were down before the score reached 100, when the seventh wicket fell with 104 on the board, Pakistan must have known the game was up.

A late cameo by captain Shahid Afridi made the game closer as a contest – but Afridi’s 28 off just 21 balls was ultimately to little to late. New Zealand closed the match out and dismissed the hosts for 127 which meant the series was all square at 1-1, the one day international series starts on Monday.

Mo Of The Same Please

Moeen Ali has been one of the highlights of the current tour of Sri Lanka, and on current for he could really make the opening batting slot his own.

Moeen Ali has been one of the highlights of the current tour of Sri Lanka, and on current for he could really make the opening batting slot his own.

England’s one day side has been struggling for some time – but one of the highlights in the current Sri Lanka tour has been Moeen Ali. Ali has also excelled in the test arena – and thankfully England the 27 year old has taken his test form to the one day arena.

When captain Alistair Cook inherited the captaincy from predecessor Andrew Strauss, the 29 year old Cook had initially enjoyed success in the role. England even enjoyed a brief stint at the top of the one day international rankings – but since those highs England have only suffered lows. Kevin Pieterson making claim after claim in his book about team morale and to actually find a KP replacement have been some factors which have seen seen England struggle in recent months.

The most underlining problem for England though however has been their opening partnership, for the best part of a year England have struggled to find the right combination- until now. Several players have been tried in the opening position to accompany Alistair Cook – Kevin Pieterson and Ian Bell who are more middle order batsmen were placed as openers -such was the difficulty England were facing in the opening batsmen department.

Opening batsmen Alex Hales has been included to try and solve this issue – but one thing which might have dissuaded the England’s selectors to select Hales in the long term is the 25 year old’s tendencies to have a bit of ill discipline.

When the one day international squad was announced however it was a surprise to see Alex Hales dropped for Moeen Ali who is also middle order batsmen by trade. Much to the surprise of many myself included- but Ali has been nothing sort of sensational.

The Worcestershire all-rounder is the leading run scorer for England in this five match series, Ali has scored a century and a very entertaining half-century already in this five match series – so it’s no surprise that Moeen Ali has the most runs.

It’s the 27 year old’s aggressive approach makes him suited the role. For so many months the outcry from many has been for England to be more aggressive, with Moeen Ali at the top of the order they can now do that. The maturity that Moeen Ali plays with is very admirable and I feel it’s what makes him a very good opener at one day international level. Where as Alex Hales tries to play to many agressive shots at times Ali however has managed to balance attacking instinct with sensisble batting.

Although it’s to early judge Moeen fairly as he has not played a world cup yet, the early signs look very promising. England look like they just might have found the right player to partner Alistair Cook at the top of the order,with a player many didn’t expect.

Where many players have failed over the years Moeen Ali has so far exceeded, some senior players could do with taking a leaf out of the Worcestershire all-rounders book.

Pakistan Vs New Zealand T20 Match Report

Sarfraz Ahmed's quite brilliant 76 off just 64 balls helped Pakistan win the first game of this T20 series.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s quite brilliant 76 off just 64 balls helped Pakistan win the first game of this T20 series.

Pakistan and New Zealand after the drawn test series went into this game looking to build some momentum ahead of the 50 over world cup which is due to start in February,both teams made several changes as both were looking to build some momentum before February’s world cup.

Pakistan had newly re-appointed captain Shahid Afridi back in their side, as well as the inexperienced Harris Sohail, Saad Nasim and Anwar Ali. Pakistan in all made nine changes to their side, only Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammed Hafeez were retained from the test squad.

As for New Zealand their squad showed several changes as well. The Kiwi’s gave starts to Anton Devcich, Matt Henry and Adam Milne, the rest of the New Zealand side did show other changes as well, with most notably Brendan McCullum not being in the side. There was a starting berth for Brendan’s brother Nathan McCullum however and a recall for Martin Guptil.

It was Pakistan who won the toss in this match and they decided to field – and their decision seemed justified as New Zealand slumped to 61-4. Martin Guptil, new boy Anton devcich, Ross Taylor and skipper Kane Williamson were all back in the pavilion.

A brief rally from New Zealand saw the Black Caps put on 51 for the sixth wicket – but when Corey Anderson was out for a very entertaining 48 off just 37 balls, the game seemed up for the Kiwi’s. The score at that point was 112-5, sadly for New Zealand their innings didn’t get any better. The New Zealander’s in the end stuttered to 135-7.

Corey Anderson’s brilliant 48 was off just 37 balls and included four maximums, looked to be in a losing cause. Anderson did have support from Luke Ronchi, the New Zealand wicketkeeper scored an attacking 33 off just 28 balls.

There was also a good contribution at the top of the order from Martin Guptil who scored a near run ball 32 – but other than that the New Zealand scored card contained to many low scoring contributions- and this is what left New Zealand potentially 15- 20 runs short.

Pakistan went into this run chase with the knowledge that they have some very good T20 batsmen in their side. The Pakistani batting line up included Umar Akmal, Awais Zia who is seen as the ‘new boom boom’ and of course the original ‘boom boom’ himself Shahid Afridi.

With such an impressive batting line up, Pakistan would have been confident of their chances of winning this game. Pakistan started their run chase with the opening pairing of Sarfraz Ahmed and Awais Zia. The Pakistani opening pair put on 51 for the first wicket.

The opening stand was broken by a run out by Anton Devcich, at that point Pakistan seemed to be in control – but after another run out, this time Mohammed Hafeez being run out by Luke Ronchi – Pakistan looked like they were stuttering a little bit in this run chase.

A 37 run third wicket stand however did manage to take the sting out of the game it seemed – but when new boy Harris Sohail was out caught by Nathan McCullum off the bowling of Mitchell McClenaghan, it looked there was another twist in the tale.

A fourth wicket stand of 43 between Umar Akmal and Sarfraz Ahmed, who hit a quite brilliant 76 off just 64 balls, which included eight 4’s and two 6’s ended the game as a contest as Pakistan won by seven wickets. Pakistan lead the two match T20 series 1-0, the second game is on Friday.

Pakistan And New Zealand Play Out Stalemate

Ross Taylor played a key part in helping New Zealand to save the seconmd test.

Ross Taylor played a key part in helping New Zealand to save the seconmd test.

Pakistan’s cricketers who have been in impressive form of late, were looking to carry on their good form against New Zealand in the second test. The ‘hosts’ outplayed the Kiwis in the first game as Pakistan won by 248 runs. New Zealand were looking to get revenge in this one.

The New Zealanders batted first and got their innings off to a solid start. Brendan McCullum and Tom Latham put on 77 for the first wicket – but the opening partnership was ended by debutant Ehsan Adil, Adil had New Zealand captain McCullum caught for an attractive looking 43. The former wicket keeper hit four 4’s and two sixes in his knock.

Pakistan were sensing ‘blood’ after breaking the first wicket partnership – but Kane Williamson and Latham had other ideas. The pair put on a handy 76 run stand as New Zealand were looking to regroup after the loss of their captain. Zulfiquar Babar had other ideas – and bowled Williamson for 32.

Frustratingly for the Pakistani’s New Zealand were starting to take control of this match with some useful partnerships. Another 70 run stand the Kiwis lead them 200 for the loss of just three wickets. Pakistan at this point were probably looking to restrict New Zealand to a total they could get close to when their time comes to bat.

A mini collapse for the Black caps saw Tom Latham and Corey Anderson both return to the pavilion with the score stuck on 245. At this point Pakistan must have been ‘licking’ their lips as most of New Zealand’s top order was back in the pavilion. New Zealand in this game though seemed to be ‘up for the fight’ .

After being 278-6 at one stage many might have expected New Zealand to crumble – especially after the first game. To the Black caps’ credit they battled to a respectable 403 all out, Pakistan have a battle on their hands all over a sudden.

The Pakistani’s new they needed a ‘special effort’ just to stay in this game, they couldn’t have got off to the worst possible start as the new opening pair of Taufeeq Umar and Maqsood were both dismissed cheaply.

New Zealand at this point must have thought that they have got Pakistan right where they want them – but a third wicket stand of 113 halted the Kiwis’ charge. Misbah Ul-Haq the Pakistani captain was next and made an attractive looking 28 before being caught by Ross Taylor off the bowling Trent Boult. At that point they were 195-4

Pakistan were slowly getting there way back into this game – but the problem was they were losing to many wickets for their own liking. The 1992 world champions had a slight ‘wobble’ and slipped to 287-8 – but thankfully for Pakistan they can call on the services of wicket-keeper batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed – and hundred for Ahmed helped Pakistan to 393 all out, which left them just 10 behind New Zealand’s first innings score.

The second innings wasn’t as good for New Zealand as the first and the Kiwi’s lost four wickets before the score even got to 100. The New Zealander’s with a 46 run fifth wicket stand and a 60 run sixth wicket stand managed to get a lead of over 200 at that point (236 to be precise). The eight wicket fell two runs later and when the ninth wicket fell with the score at 250, New Zealand opted to declare.

With a lead of 260 which was in large thanks to Ross Taylor’s century ,was a testing score – especially for a fourth and innings and for a pitch like Dubai.
To cap a disappointing match Taufeeq Umar in Pakistan’s second innings was dismissed cheaply. With Pakistan looking to save the game – the Pakistani’s couldn’t have got off to a worst possible start. A second wicket stand of 62 looked to have taken the sting out of the game – but another two wickets fell with only three more runs scored.

Pakistan were wobbling and a New Zealand win seemed a distinct possibility. Out came ‘Pakistan’s Mr Reliable’ Younus Khan and talk of a New Zealand win seemed to have gone – but when Khan was out caught by Ross Taylor off the bowling of Mark Craig, New Zealand’s hopes of a win were renewed with that wicket.

Sadly for New Zealand there was to be no more drama as a sixth wicket stand of 43 between Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed ensured that Pakistan drew the ,match and still have there 1-0 series lead intact.

The third and final test starts on Wednesday.