The Aussies fold

Cricinfo:

Abu Dhabi really was nothing like Dubai. Over in the nation's most global city, Australia batted out 140 overs in blazing sunshine to thwart Pakistan's hopes of a win. Here in the capital under clouds and a slight drizzle, it took Mohammad Abbas and his teammates barely 50 overs to scythe through an Australian side that looked as feeble as the worst pessimist had feared a fortnight ago.

Australia scored an incredible 362/8 in the last innings to save the first Test. They were all out for a combined 309 runs in two innings in the second Test! Khawaja being injured didn't help but even he couldn't have changed the final outcome. Abbas was the chief destroyer. He should be getting his ODI debut soon.


Aussies tumble

The Australians are having trouble scoring in the first innings:

Since the first Test of the series in Durban, Australia's first-innings tallies have been 351 in 110.4 overs, 243 in 71.3 in Port Elizabeth, 255 in 69.5 in Cape Town, 221 in 70 in Johannesburg, 202 in 83.3 in Dubai, and now 145 in 50.4 in Abu Dhabi.

After their stunning, record-breaking second innings a few days ago, this 145 all out is so bizarre. The Pakistanis slowly managed almost the same number of runs with a loss of only two wickets. If Asad and Babar click tomorrow and take the lead to 500 runs, then, again, Australia will have to fight like mad to save the Test. A draw is even more unlikely since the Aussies will have to survive for two days.


Test no. 2030

When I woke up today, Australia was at 87/0. I read a few news stories and checked the score again and it was 87/3. The Marsh Ducks were to blame.

I thought that Pakistan would push for a 500-run lead for the psychological edge but they declared with a 462-run target for Australia. It's still too much. The only question now is: for how long will Australia survive on the fifth day? Under 30 overs would be my bet.


Pakistan vs. Australia

142/1: a respectable start in a Test match. 202 all out is an excellent score ... for a T20 game.

60 Runs for which Australia lost all their ten wickets after the openers had put on 142. The collapse is the third-worst for any side after a century opening stand. The two worst such collapses were India's 10 for 46 against England at Old Trafford in 1946, and New Zealand's 10 for 51 runs against Australia at Auckland in 1974.

42 Runs by Australia's last nine wickets are the fewest in their first innings in the last 50 years. After the openers, the highest individual score was Mitchell Marsh's 12, and only two others got into double-digits.

What's really shocking is that the main architect of this destruction has never played a Test match before! On the flip side, these two Aussies had the worst start to their Test career:

6 Instances of two debutants in the top-six batting positions making ducks in the same innings. Australia's Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne got out for ducks to the debutant Bilal Asif in the same over. It was only the third instance when debutants at No. 5 and 6 got out for ducks.

Brutal. The Aussie batsmen will likely face the refreshed Paki bowlers at the end of day 4. If their openers don't survive, then it's game over for Australia.


Asia Cup final

Liton Das comes out of nowhere, opens the innings, and gives Bangladesh a dream start by scoring a fantastic century. Then, the team crumbles. Das scored 121 while the rest of the team combined scored 94 runs! Their fans must have gone from jubilation to feeling utterly shocked at the miserable end result.

Now, once again, the Indian team has a simple and comfortable chase ahead. Bangladesh has to conjure up their most magical bowling performance to win from here.

Updates
Bangladesh reduce India to 167/5. They're fighting hard. 

India need 36 runs off 42 balls with 5 wickets in hand. Pressure!

Now, 9 runs off 12 with 4 wickets.

6 runs off 6 balls with 3 wickets in hand. Damn. Bangladesh really pushed India.

Scores tied! 1 ball remaining!

The Bangladeshi guys have never won an Asia Cup. That didn't change today. One has to feel sorry for Liton Das. The man played the most amazing innings of his life but his team just couldn't capitalize. Though, they did manage to scare the crap out of one billion Indians.


Chaos and corruption

Steve Rixon gets a mild case of cultural enrichment from the Pakis:

Former Pakistan fielding coach Steve Rixon accused the PCB of "disrespect and stupidity", and said he had "not once" been paid on time. Rixon said that was the reason he quit his post after two years, deciding he "didn't need it that much", and opted to walk out than have to deal with what he believed to be a lack of professionalism on his employer's part.

Stupidity is the correct word to describe this behavior. Most sensible cricket teams don't tour Pakistan because of the constant threat of Islamic terrorism. On top of that, we've got these corrupt clowns who think they can fuck over a gora kafir and somehow replace him with another talented White guy without any consequences.

Refusing to point the finger directly at anyone, Rixon said the PCB needed to learn to treat overseas staff well. He pointed to the fact that the PCB's conduct had put off Darren Berry from replacing Rixon as Pakistan's fielding coach - the PCB's clear first choice - and forgoing the services of such professionals was "stupidity".

Did the PCB apologize and promise to do better? Of course not.

"The PCB is disappointed by the baseless allegations made by former fielding coach Steve Rixon in a recent interview," the statement read. "The PCB spokesman wishes to clarify that the Board has enjoyed cordial relations with all current and former foreign staff attached with national teams.


ODI no. 4047

Why was Shadab Khan sent in at 4-down? He consumed 24 balls, scored 4 runs, and got out. Anyway, as long as Inzi's tenacious nephew survives, Pakistan will win.

18 overs left. 120 runs to win for Pakistan. Required run rate? 6.66.

Imam out for a not-enough 83. Bangladesh will win from here. If they do so, then this will become the first time that both Pakistan and Sri Lanka got knocked out of the tournament before making the finals of an ODI Asia Cup. In each of the previous 12 finals, one of these teams always made it.

Afghanistan and Bangladesh caused quite a few upsets.

India will demolish Bangladesh on Friday to win the final game.


ODI no. 4046

There was little chance of Afghanistan winning against India. The Afghanis made sure that India didn't win either. It's a tie! India rested their best players and the Afghanis fought till the end and managed to bowl out the entire Indian team. Minus the Indian openers, the rest of the players simply didn't hang around; worse their strike rates were too low. 

Afghanistan deserves a lot of credit. They consistently put runs on the board (min: 249 and max: 257) and pushed their opposition in all five games of the tournament. They have certainly made the case for playing the stronger ODI teams in the world. Perhaps, ahem, Sri Lanka can offer them a tour.


India crush Pakistan

ODI no. 4044 ends with India posting their highest 1st-wicket partnership against Pakistan -- an absolutely epic 210 runs. It's funny that the one Indian wicket to fall was because of an error in judgment by an Indian batsman. So, the Pakistani bowlers didn't even get a single wicket! The Pakis were bad in every department: batting, bowling, and fielding.

If the other matches go as expected, then we'll see an India vs. Pakistan final at the same ground in five days. India will definitely have the psychological edge.

0- Number of times India had defeated Pakistan by nine or more wickets before this game. This nine-wicket win is their biggest in terms of wickets against their arch-rivals.

Yup. I can't remember the last time Pakistan got destroyed so badly by India ... because this is their worst defeat.


ODI no. 4043 - Fight!

Afghanistan dragged the Pakistani batsmen all the way to the last over of the innings. They just couldn't get Malik out who methodically won the game for Pakistan. His wicket would have been crucial since he has been playing the game for almost two decades! Malik used to play the 1-down position but nowadays his experience is more valuable in the lower order.

Afghanistan deserves a lot of credit. They played the most competitive match of the tournament. Hopefully, the India vs. Pakistan final will be even better.


KHHAAANN!

That would be Rashid Khan who on his 20th birthday destroyed the Bangladeshi cricket team. He scored a stunning 32-ball 57 and then had the best bowling figures: 9 overs, 3 maidens, 2 wickets.

Afghanistan is looking very dangerous. (Apparently, it's not just the US that has trouble beating them.) They already knocked out the team that has won the most Asia Cups five days ago. Today, the tiny tigers got a thrashing. It would be so hilarious if the Afghanis end up winning the tournament. At the very least, the next few matches will be very competitive.


ODI no. 4040 - Lame surrender

The Indians couldn't get the "Hong Kong" batsmen out for 34 overs yesterday. Today, the similar bowling ripped through the Pakistani team in 43 overs. The Indians conceded an impressively low total of 162 runs. Now, they are 91/1 with 37 (!) overs remaining. This will be a steady, low-risk, demolition of Pakistan. It'll be a shocking miracle for Pakistan if India lose this one.

It's kind of sad for the spectators who bought expensive tickets to sit in the Arabian heat only to watch a boring match. Anyway, the same teams will likely meet again in the final of the tournament. Undefeated India vs. Hungry Pakistan. That should be a better contest.

Update
Read this funny bit in the Cricinfo commentary:

Shahrukh: "Listen, I have been watching Pakistan play since before I could walk. I could tell by their faces during the national anthems they were in no mood to put in a performance for this game. We dont waste energy on inconsequential games so Relax! When the stakes are higher, then the Real Pakistan will turn up, and you all will know it. Good night!"

I've to say that there's some truth to that. It's the exact opposite of the Aussies who show up in a murderous mood in every tournament game. No wonder that they have won 4 out of the last 5 world cups.


ODI no. 4039

Hong Kong played Pakistan two days ago. The Pakis got them all out for 116 in 37.1 overs. Today, Hong Kong is playing India. Somehow, they managed to score 174 runs without losing a single wicket!

We'll find out just how weak India's bowling is when they face Pakistan tomorrow.

The "Hong Kong" team manages to survive the entire 50 overs and scores 259 runs. They lose by 26 runs. The fact that noobs scored 91% of the runs of the second-best team in the world is quite impressive. At the very least they scared India for 34 overs. On the basis of this performance, India is going to have a very tough time in 15 hours.


The epic comeback at Eden Gardens

Cricinfo: The top 25 Test batting performances of all time.

I don't know about all time but the greatest Test performance of this century was by VVS Laxman in 2001. Australia had crushed Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup plus they had won 16 Tests in a row. India had lost the previous match and they were staring at a humiliating defeat by an innings at home. That result would have also meant losing the series. The mighty Australian juggernaut was unstoppable!

Under such tremendous pressure and utterly hopeless conditions, Laxman scored an epic 281 runs which won them the match. India won the next match as well which meant that they won the series. This was all done against the greatest Test team of the era.


Two painful days left for England

India finally put up a fight. England need over 500 runs in the fourth innings to win -- it'll be a miracle if they manage a draw. 

440- Virat Kohli's aggregate in this series, which is the highest by an India captain in a Test series in England. [...] He has already set the record of highest series aggregate by an India captain in series in Australia and South Africa on the last two tours.

Kohli is a run-making machine. His talent and value in one statistic:

While Kohli has scored 200 runs each in the first and third Tests of this series, none of the other India players have aggregated 200 runs in three matches combined.

The authorities might as well give him the Man of the Series award right now.


Test no. 2315 - India crushed

The eleven Indian players combined put up the following figures.

1st innings: 101 runs

2nd innings: 118 runs

Chris Woakes, one English player in one innings, scored 137 runs. His highest score before this match? 66 runs. England didn't need a second innings.

This was a stunningly weak performance for India which is ranked number one in the world. Nobody put up a fight. Worse, their prolific captain has a sore back. What answer will they have for England if Alastair Cook unleashes a double century in the next match?


Compared to greatness

Virat Kohli is definitely the MVP for India in the past five years:

In the 10-year period between November 1991 and December 2001, Tendulkar played 23 Tests in Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa, and his numbers in those matches are very similar to Kohli's stats in the 17 Tests he has played in these countries since the start of the South Africa tour in December 2013.

Kohli has the slightly better average, but there is little to choose between their conversion rates, or the manner in which both dominated their batting line-ups, scoring a fifth of their team's runs off the bat.

The big difference today is that India is #1 in the Test rankings. Their overall batting inconsistency makes for more close and interesting matches.


No support for Kohli

One feels sorry for Virat Kohli who scored a mammoth 200 runs in the Test and still lost the match! The fact that the rest of the Indian team combined scored a measly 214 runs in two innings tells the story.

England also didn't perform well. The seasoned players, with the exception of Root, didn't step up. They should be grateful for the young noob who smashed just enough runs to turn the tide.


Lots of brawn

Fakhar Zaman broke multiple records in the recently finished series against Zimbabwe.

515 Runs scored by Fakhar in this series - the second-most by any batsman in a bilateral series. He was dismissed only twice and averaged an incredible 257.50.

That's the most runs scored by any batsman in a five-match series.

I've been following cricket for nearly three decades and I've never seen such a thorough demolition of an international cricket team in five consecutive matches. If Zimbabwe don't get their top players in the team, then we'll unfortunately see such boring destruction again very soon.

Also, it has been a very long time since Pakistan had truly competent top three batsmen. Zaman, Haq, and Azam form an excellent trio which should give Pakistan a fighting chance against the powerful batting strength of England and India in the World Cup next year.


The annihilation continues

On June 9, 2018, I wrote a post about Fakhar Zaman titled The next Saeed Anwar.

Saeed Anwar was a left-handed opener for Pakistan. He was a supremely elegant batsman who scored 194 -- the highest score ever by any Pakistani batsman.

Today, Zaman broke that 21-years-old record by smashing 210 not out. The eleven Zimbabwe players combined managed 155 runs in response. That shows just how competitive the match was.

A few other ODI records:

  • Highest total by Pakistan: 399-1
  • Highest opening partnership for any team.
  • Most fours scored by a Pakistani batsman in one innings.

Soon, Fakhar Zaman will become the fastest batsman to 1,000 runs in ODIs. He has definitely cemented his position in the team for a few years.


ODI no. 4019

Another massacre:

Fakhar Zaman smashed 43 off 24 balls as Pakistan hurtled towards the target in record time; never before have Pakistan chased down a target with over 40 overs to spare.

When he smashed the 59th ball of the innings through midwicket for four, the target had been achieved and the game was over, half an hour before the scheduled lunch break.

Wow. Zimbabwe scored 67 all out which can't be defended by any bowling side. The only shock was that Pakistan didn't win by 10 wickets.


The next Saeed Anwar

Fakhar Zaman destroyed India in the Champions Trophy final last year. Yesterday, the Australian T20 team got the same treatment. Usually the cool Aussies crack the Pakistani batsmen under pressure (see 1999 World Cup final) but Zaman marched on as his team lost two batsmen in the very first over.

Also, who had the bright idea to throw this noob into a tournament final? The Aussies got him for a grand contribution of zero! What the hell was the coach thinking?

Anyway, Zaman's impact and damage was so severe that they handed him both the big awards: Man of the Match and the Tournament.


Mother of God!

England massacres Australia:

England thrashed the highest score in the history of ODI cricket to set up the most crushing defeat - in terms of runs - ever inflicted upon Australia.

It's hard to believe that Australia won the last World Cup.

As this series has progressed, it has become hard to fathom how roles have reversed since the 2015 World Cup when one of these sides lifted the trophy and the other was humiliated. It will amount to little until England do it in a global tournament but you can be sure that no side - and certainly no bowling attack - will relish facing them in conditions like this.

On the basis of this series, England are strong contenders for the World Cup next year.


The champions slip

Cricinfo: Australia slip to 34-year low in ICC ODI rankings.

Australia's rankings situation reflects their downturn as an ODI side since beating Pakistan in a home series in January 2017. Thereafter, they have lost 13 of their 15 completed ODIs, in which time they have lost three successive bilateral series - to New Zealand, India and England - and exited the Champions Trophy at the group stage.

What's stunning about this decline is that they won the last World Cup.


Abraham Benjamin de Villiers

The most magnificent cricketer in the game today has decided to retire.

Former South Africa Test captain AB de Villiers said he had "run out of gas" as he announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 34-year-old has played in 114 Test matches, 228 one-day internationals and 78 Twenty20 matches for the Proteas.

He sums it up here:

"I've had my turn and, to be honest, I'm tired," he said.

AB de Villiers had the best combination of genetics, attitude, and performance. The most stunning display of his immense talent, power, and timing was on Jan. 18, 2015. He scored 149 runs off 44 deliveries. My initial reaction upon reading that was: Silly website, that must be 144 not 44. No one in the history of cricket has ever scored that fast. So, it can't be--HOLY SHIT! That's not an error!

You can watch him murder the West Indies bowling here:

Of course, it had to end one day. What's truly sad is that such a glorious athlete never lifted the World Cup. Of all the players, he deserved it the most.


Shame for Shami

In a startling revelation that could land Indian pacer Mohammed Shami in serious trouble, his wife has accused the cricketer of having extramarital affairs and torturing her mentally and physically.

In a series of posts shared on the social media, Hasin Jahan attached screenshots of Shami's alleged chats with many women. She also posted photographs of some women and claimed they were "Shami's girlfriends".

More:

Jahan further claimed, Shami tortured her after returning from South Africa, where the 27-year-old was there with the Indian team for the three-match Test series in January.

“Shami abused me and started beating me even after returning from South Africa. He has been doing this for quite some time now and now I have had enough.”

A guy named Mohammed beat his wife? Inconceivable! Seriously, the adultery part is likely true and also easy to prove. The torture and beatings? Maybe. In this day and age, a sensible wife would have made a audio or video recording and then gone to the court.


South Africa vs. Kohli

South Africa, not long ago, were the team to beat in ODIs. Now, they have trouble lasting the entire 50 overs. They were all out for a mediocre 204 runs.

Afterwards, it was another episode of The Virat Kohli Show. He smashed 129 runs to seal victory. In doing so, he also set a new record: the most runs scored by a batsman in a bilateral ODI series. Kohli has definitely become the MVP for India.

The World Cup is next year. It should be interesting to see how smart bowlers deal with him.


The modern Titan

Virat Kohli has hit six double centuries in 32 Tests. That's the best ratio in cricket history. Kohli just put Don Bradman into the second spot! That's not the only record he holds:

Kohli set a new record for most double-centuries by captains in Tests - six - going past Brian Lara who had five. Considering the period between 1932 to 2015, no Indian captain had hit more than one double-century. MAK Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni had hit one each in their time leading the side.

Kohli was very good when he started playing for India but he has turned into an absolute beast in the last two years.


Eights defeats in a row

Shoaib Malik scorched his way to a 23-ball fifty, Mohammad Amir scythed through Sri Lanka's chase to claim his best T20 figures, and Pakistan gave a raucous home crowd an evening to remember, as they trounced Sri Lanka by 36 runs, and swept the series 3-0.

5-0 in ODIs and now 3-0 in T20Is. It has been an atrocious month for Sri Lanka. They only really came close in the second T20. They could have won that but their batting order was shattered by the strong opposition bowlers.


The Land of Pace

Pakistan have always prided themselves on the quality of their pace attack, but recently that reputation has been under some threat, in ODIs at least. In the three years, between January 2014 and December 2016, Pakistan's fast bowlers collectively averaged 39.57 in ODIs. Among the 19 teams that played ODIs during that period, only four had poorer averages: Zimbabwe (41.29), UAE (42.14), Kenya (44.12), and Canada (45.12).

That was atrocious.

In 2017, Hasan has been the stand-out bowler in ODIs: from just 18 games, he has picked up 45 wickets - easily the highest for the year - at an exceptional average of 17, and a strike rate of 20.3.

That's how they won the global tournament.

Those numbers have transformed the stats for Pakistan's quick bowlers in 2017. From languishing at the bottom of the table between 2014 and 2016, they have moved to the top in 2017: their average of 25.61 is the best among fast bowlers from the top nine teams this year, while their strike rate of 28.6 balls per wicket is their best in any calendar year.

Why can't next-door India bottle this magic? Anyway, it should make for an interesting contest when they meet in the near-future. 


The magical assembly line

One of the great sports mysteries is how Pakistan churns out a never-ending supply of world-class bowlers. Such players have been instrumental in winning a World Cup and a Champions Trophy. If next-door India had those kinds of bowlers, they would rule the cricketing world.

Usman Khan, in his second ODI game, got 5 batsmen in his initial 21 deliveries -- that's the most efficient performance of any Pakistani bowler in this century. The guy is a noob and yet he just annihilated his opponents. He could have taken even more wickets ... if the rest of the bowlers weren't so damn good.

Sri Lanka all out for 103. This is the third time in a year they'll lose an ODI series by a 5-0 margin. No team in history has managed such a miserable feat.


The greatest of his generation

AB de Villiers had played 223 ODI matches in his life. His highest score was 162 not out. Today, against Bangladesh he scored an epic 176 -- more than the rest of his team combined.

The challenge for the shell-shocked Bangladeshi team: can they together outscore that 176? We'll find out in a few hours.

Update
The chase was never on. Bangladesh got all out for 249. They got crushed by over a 100 runs. It's like a basketball team winning by 40 points.

The South Africans are way too powerful for these guys.


Pakistan's ODI strength

Pakistan scored 219 runs in 50 overs. That was only possible thanks to Babar Azam and his most unlikely partner, a teenager named Shadab Khan.

Tharanga, the Sri Lankan captain, made an absolutely massive 112 runs not out. That ought to be enough for a comfortable win but nope. The rest of the sorry team managed a mediocre 64 runs combined. What a painful loss. Can't imagine how tired and disappointed Tharanga must have felt as the entire team was out and he was the last man standing.

Babar Azam is quickly making himself to be the best ODI batsmen of this century for his country. He has scored a record five consecutive centuries in the UAE. That also makes him the fastest in history to seven ODI hundreds. Given the relatively shambolic state of Pakistani batting, this guy has become indispensable. Let's see how he adapts and performs in other countries. The 2019 World Cup should be interesting ...


Their best is not enough

This was a very cruel match:

Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla blitzed a century each, became South Africa's most prolific ODI pair of all-time and scripted their biggest win by 10 wickets in ODI history. South Africa's mockery of a 279-run target followed Bangladesh's own record-setting after they chose to bat in the first ODI. Mushfiqur Rahim became the first Bangladesh batsman to score a century against South Africa in any format and led his team to their highest total against this opposition.

That's the gulf right there. The entire Bangladeshi team fought and made their best total score ever against South Africa. A few hours later they still got annihilated. They've improved but against the top teams like Australia, India or South Africa, they will get badly beaten.


The weak force of cricket

Osman Samiuddin:

In today's age when analytics and reason underpin most aspects of life, all the data indicated that Pakistan did not have a chance. How then did their Champions Trophy win happen?

Pakistan have always had talented individuals in their cricket teams. Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Younis Khan, etc.

Their biggest problem? They far too often don't gel or perform as a team. A simple example: dropped catches which result in lost matches. Pakistan was extremely lucky to get thrashed by India in their opening game. That forced them to make changes to bring in new blood. They had three (!) new players who made their debut in this tournament.

Number of players who made their debut from all other teams combined? Zero.

After a couple of wins, they got tremendous confidence. Almost every player contributed in the semi-final against England and then for India, in the final, the entire Pakistani squad showed up and put up the best performance of any team in the entire tournament.

Game over for India.

The talent is there. When they fuse together, they annihilate opponents. Will the whole team regularly show up in the future? Or will they be, as usual, inconsistent and thus, remain a weak force?


Those crazy Pakis!

Andrew Fernando:

If the 2017 Champions Trophy were to have had another two games, Pakistan might be scoring 750 and bowling teams out for negative 12 by the end of it. Even for a side that is routinely unpredictable, even for a team with a long history of starting slowly then making a white-hot charge through a tournament, what Pakistan have pulled off at the 2017 Champions Trophy is some diamond-studded, galactic-scale nonsense.

They have not just defied logic, they have spat in logic's face, questioned the moral inclinations of its parents, kicked it in the shins, kneed it in the groin, strangled it unconscious, then shoved it into the mud and set its trousers on fire.

It's ironic that Pakistan lost to India on June 4th because that crushing defeat resulted in the debut of a most impressive opening batsman: Fakhar Zaman. Plus, the bowling brought its A+ game as well.

It was also impossible, at times, to believe that India were the side playing their fourth major final in six years. The first mistake - the error that bust open the flood gates - was Jasprit Bumrah overstepping in the fourth over to reprieve Fakhar, who had edged the ball to the keeper on three.

That wasn't the first mistake. Kohli, the Indian captain, made the very first mistake. He put Pakistan in to bat after winning the toss. Pakistan suck at chasing targets. Their batsmen melt under pressure. Kohli knows this since he experienced it on June 4th!

Anyway, I thought that Pakistan could restrict India to 200-250 runs. Instead, India got crushed. The entire team was out for 158 -- not even half of what Pakistan scored. The talent is definitely there. Let's see how they perform in the coming years.


Champions Trophy -- India vs. Pakistan

Update 6
The cornered tigers maul India by 180 runs. The lowest ranked team has won the Champions Trophy! The last time Pakistan won a global ODI tournament was the 1992 World Cup.

This will be viewed as their greatest victory over India. Zaman and Amir are the new Anwar and Akram.

That 180-run victory margin is the largest in an ODI final ever. Epic demolition.

Just shows what the Pakis are capable of. If they could be consistent and perhaps not cheat, then the world would have a better standard of cricket.

Update 5
Pandya tried. He hit 76 off 43. The seventh batsman scored half of all the runs scored up to that point. India will want to forget this game.

India 156/9. Pakistan will win the Champions Trophy in one of the most one-sided finals in ODI history. With the exception of Pandya, the entire Indian team failed. Shame.

Update 4
India imploding pretty badly. Now at 54/5. This is turning out to be the worst final India has ever played. Conversely, Pakistan have never had such a potent performance at the top stage.

India beat Pakistan early in this tournament. It's funny because that just might be the reason why Pakistan is winning today. They made the necessary changes after that shambolic display, fought back, and now they're close to victory.

Update 3
Amir annihilates the entire Indian top order. He gets dangerous Dhawan for 21. Wasim Akram's 1992 World Cup performance just might be eclipsed.

India under tremendous pressure at 33/3. They still have to score over 300 runs!

The rusty middle order is exposed. This is now Pakistan's game to lose.

Update 2
India lost Sharma for a 0. Insane pressure. Of course, Amir is such a gifted talent. His demolition of England seven years ago was phenomenal. However, the fool lost five years due to cheating. He has a chance to recover some glory today.

Oooh, and he does! Amir gets the #1 ranked batsman in the world! Kohli is out for 5. Amir has given 5 runs for 2 wickets in 2 overs. India are 6/2 chasing 339!

Update 1
Pakistan bat first and make the highest score of the entire tournament: 338/4. None of the main bowlers needed to bat. They're all fully rested.

The mighty Indians have one hell of a chase. Insane pressure! Why did Kohli let them bat first!? Bad decision.

Fakhar Zaman made his debut on June 7, 2017. His four scores read: 31, 50, 57, 114. He averages 63. I was thinking that Azam would make a century but Zaman just might be the Man of the Match. Of course, Zaman has now got a lock on the opener spot.

Pre-match
India is the stronger team but they have one odd weakness. Their middle order hasn't been tested in the tournament. The only way that Pakistan can win is to expose those rusty batsmen and get them out cheaply. Otherwise, India will successfully defend their title.

It really is Indian batsmen vs. Pakistani bowlers.

Also, Babar Azam is due for a big score. He can be guaranteed a place in the team for the next decade if he delivers. No pressure.


Champions Trophy Final

India vs. Pakistan.

The conquering tigers vs. the cornered tigers.

The defending champions vs. the lowest ranked team.

The batting powerhouse vs. the finest bowling clique around.

This Sunday, June 18, an audience of over 1 billion people will watch the most anticipated cricket match of the year. The victorious shall be forever glorified. The sorry failures will die a thousand deaths.

It should be fun.


The Surreal Trophy

August 30, 2016: England smash 444 runs against Pakistan. That's the highest score in the history of ODI cricket. What's shocking is that Pakistan is known for its bowling attack and yet they got massacred by the English batsmen.

Today: England score a miserable 211 all out against Pakistan! That would be an excellent score in a T20 game but it's just disappointing in an ODI. I wrote before, "Pakistan has a chance if a) their bowling fires on all cylinders and b) Babar Azam finally makes a big score in this Big Event."

Babar Azam did make his highest score in this Champions Trophy but really England lost the game when they barely made 200 runs. The famous Pakistani bowling showed up in full force.

Wrong time

This was the most comprehensive cricket display from Pakistan in a long time. Eight teams played in this tournament. Pakistan is ranked 8th! The "worst" team is one win away from taking the trophy. The only way the final can get more surreal is if somehow, against all odds, Bangladesh beat India in the other semi-final. But really, the advertisers and the fans must be salivating over an epic India vs. Pakistan final.


Champions Trophy 2017

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka are out. The poor Pakistani captain had to drag his team towards a win today.

1st semi-final: England vs. Pakistan

England is the only undefeated team of the tournament. They have played surprisingly aggressive cricket over the past couple of years and they've got home advantage. Pakistan has a chance if a) their bowling fires on all cylinders and b) Babar Azam finally makes a big score in this Big Event.

Otherwise, England are going to crush Pakistan.

2nd semi-final: India vs. Bangladesh

Indians have many big guns. Players who won the World Cup in 2011. I don't see how Bangladesh is going to win. It would be a stunning upset if they did. Still, they deserve credit for punching above their weight. Who would have predicted that they would proceed to the semi-finals?

Final match prediction: England vs. India.


The rising tiger

The Bangladeshis have been unsuccessful in the cricketing world for a long time. They are not bad but they can't compete against the firepower of teams like Australia, South Africa or New Zealand ... Er, wait, what!?

Today, they played one of their very best games in a global tournament. They knocked out the Kiwis who were the previous World Cup finalists.

Their progress now depends on the outcome of a future game between Australia and England. This Champions Trophy (a mini-World Cup) has been a very competitive tournament where many big guns have misfired.