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KheloPakistan » Articles for 15.03.2012
Another cup exit yet again for the current premier league champions and questions are sure to be raised about the future and quality of the current crop of stars assembled by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson. Let’s take a look into what went wrong in their latest cup exit
Most of my friends are from a Indian background; and naturally very much into cricket. I remember my school and college days, Pakistan V India games were epic. Watching the game together, great banter, snacks and food, but one thing that beat it all was the mutual respect for both nations. We would sit there going through the motions and wishing to take the bragging rights for the next few days. The euphoria around a Pakistan V India game; is only matched by a handful of sporting events around the world. People talk of the Ashes as a big event; it really don't come close to what a Pakistan, India match provides to their respective nations. Shop traders can close and go home as all the punters are glued to their TV screens, either at home or at the local tea shop. The silence on the streets for hours is deafening but for one nation turns to pure jubilation when a victory has been achieved. For the other; well words can't explain what happens. What I'm about to share is a small story...
Pakistan have been struggling in the limited overs’ formats of the game since the test series against England. The game against Bangladesh was a clear sign that the middle order is not in great shape and Pakistan would have to do more than just good in the matches against Sri Lanka and arch-rivals India to win themselves the Asia Cup. It looked as if the team bowling is ten times better than the batting and that they needed to raise up their game today to compete with the Sri Lankans who have just had a pretty decent tri-nation series at Australia. Pakistani batsmen have struggled to chase totals, either small or big. Most of the batsmen have had their hearts in their mouths when they have heard about Sri Lanka winning the toss and batting first. All relied on the bowling department to contain Sri Lanka under a total of 200.
Sri Lankan openers started with a flurry of boundaries. Aizaz Cheema was on the receiving end as his first two overs went for 22 runs. He came back with a reply and got both the openers. Both were caught while trying to muscle the ball for boundaries, first Jayawardane (12) at point by Muhammad Hafeez and then Dilshan (20) at mid-on by Saeed Ajmal. Umar Gul took the third wicket of Dinesh Chandimal, who nicked one to the first slip and was caught brilliantly by Younis Khan for a duck. Hammad Azam too got himself a wicket when the left-handed Thirimanne tried to cut him but was caught at point by Umar Akmal at a score of 7. Sri Lanka were struggling at 65-4 with almost all the top order back in the hut. Sangakarra and Tharanga held the sinking Sri Lankan ship and formed a huge partnership of 96 runs.