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.


Tough luck

A gruesome day for Bangladesh was highlighted by Mushfiqur Rahim being taken off the field in an ambulance after being struck on the helmet by a bouncer from Tim Southee. The fact that he was batting in the first place, having injured his hand, was a sign of how desperate the situation was for the visitors. They were eventually bowled out for 160 seven overs after lunch. New Zealand, set 217 to win in 57 overs, absolutely raced to victory and with that they broke a record that has stood for 122 years.

Ouch.

In December 1894, Australia put up 586 against England in a timeless Test in Sydney and it became the highest first-innings total to result in a loss. Bangladesh take on that ignominy now having declared on 595 for 8 when they batted first in a match where nearly 50 overs were lost to rain in the first day.

An absolutely stunning performance by Bangladesh which wasn't enough.

One commenter at Cricinfo writes:

Bangladesh did Pakistan here.

That's just cruel.


The Religion of Peace in Pakistan

Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, a religious scholar who issued Fatwa of infidelity against Shaan Taseer, has written an open letter to Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan over his alleged speech regarding prophet Muhammad (PBUH), warning him of ‘dire consequences’ if he doesn’t render an apology.

The Fatwa alleges that Imran Khan, in one of his speeches, had said blasphemous sentences for the Prophet (PBUH) .

Soon, the captain of the 1992 Cricket World champions will be an open target of faithful Muslims.

Talking to Daily Pakistan, Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri said that if the leader doesn’t render an open apology, the organisation will formally issue a religious edict, declaring him a ‘Wajib-ul-Qatal’ (liable to death).

“If the state fails to execute Imran Khan, it wouldn’t be a crime if any ‘aashiq-e-Rasool’ (lover of prophet P.B.U.H) kills him. He will be exempt from Qisas and Diyat (blood money),” Qadri told Daily Pakistan, adding the blood of blasphemer – in this case, Imran Khan’s – has no worth compared to Prophet (PBUH).

The insidiousness of this threat is that the police can't do anything.

If Imran Khan grovels and apologizes, then he a) concedes to the legitimacy of the blasphemy rulings and b) admits to saying something terrible about the evil Procunt Muhammad; some Muslims might not accept his remorse.

If Imran Khan refuses to apologize, then it becomes perfectly legitimate for a Muslim to slaughter Khan. At least in Pakistan, no sane judge is going to sentence that murderer.

How can a cornered tiger escape such wicked circumstances?


Minor credit to rain

Foreign teams, understandably, refuse to tour Pakistan. So, they have to travel abroad to play cricket and now they're ranked number 1. Their bowling attack has almost always been top notch but this stat surprised me:

6 Pakistan batsmen who have scored 1000-plus Test runs at averages of more than 44 in Tests during this period - Younis, Misbah, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed. Among them they scored 37 hundreds, and were largely instrumental in ensuring that Pakistan's batting average was a healthy 38.15, better than all teams except New Zealand (38.38) and Australia (39.33).

The members of the PCB made one magnificent decision in 2010:

Perhaps the greatest ever achievement of the Pakistan Cricket Board was to make Misbah Test captain after 2010, narrowly followed by its decision to leave him in charge for the next six years. The PCB got those epoch-making decisions right, Misbah did the rest.

They are still improving:

They will need that improvement to see them through series in New Zealand and Australia. Australia, in particular, is the measure of any would-be world champion.

Australia has the best win-loss ratio in cricket history. Misbah's team will need a draw, at least, to still be regarded as the best modern team.


Half-baked Bates

New Zealand women's cricket captain is interviewed:

Where do you see women's cricket in ten years' time?

I think it could be as big as the men's game. In the last two years it's gone from strength to strength, so why can't it carry on like that? It'd be good to have big T20 leagues around the world - just like the men do - which get lots of TV airtime. Women's cricket is getting more and more professional all the time, the standard has gone up, and it's now a fantastic product in its own right.

Funny girl. Last year, the World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan attracted one billion people. I'd by mighty surprised if any women's cricket game gets that many viewers in the next century -- let alone a decade.


Youth and destiny

Cricinfo on the incredibly young Alastair Cook:

It was Cook's 23rd Test century and his third in successive Tests this series. Not only did that make him the leading century maker for England in their Test history but it also made him the youngest man from any country to pass the milestone of 7,000 Test runs.

He's almost 28 years old. If his body lasts another decade, then he'll likely become the greatest cricket player England has ever produced.


The Indian Bradman

Ian Chappell:

At first there were three and now there's only one. For around a decade Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting were the dominant batsmen in world cricket, but following Ponting's retirement announcement, the Indian maestro will now stand alone. While Tendulkar might still be upright, he's no longer dominating attacks.

I thought that he would retire after the World Cup victory last year. No matter, it'll be some time soon. Though, can't imagine the pressure on the player who "replaces" Tendulkar in the batting line up.


What a terrible waste

Cricinfo:

It's ironic that Amir's cricket career started out with friendly bets, when he challenged renowned tennis-ball batsmen from Lahore and Rawalpindi to hit him for a six in one over and win a meal at any big restaurant in Islamabad. He bowled six dot balls.

"[The batsman's] shoelaces came undone when I bowled him a yorker," Amir said.

It's reasonable to assume that Amir took the same attitude in International cricket: What's the harm in making a little bet (and getting cash) by bowling a certain way that most likely won't affect the final outcome of a match?

Of course, that was utterly stupid. He got caught and paid a terrible price: he lost three years of precious cricket and his reputation is dirt. It will take him years to earn respect and any off-days in the field will invite rumors of possible, probable cheating.


Once in a century event

A spectacular debut:

West Indies bulldozed through the first eight Bangladesh wickets on a flat, low and slow Khulna pitch. In came debutant Abul Hasan, all of 20, and proceeded to do something that had been done only once before in 2059 previous Tests dating back to 1877, by Reggie Duff over a century ago in 1902. Abul, who goes around as a fast bowler, became only the second Test debutant to make a hundred at No. 10.

Bangladesh should definitely bump him up in the order. The fact that he was selected for his bowling means that he could be an excellent all rounder.


Not a popular tourist destination

Cricinfo:

The PCB governing board has sanctioned the purchase of bulletproof buses to ensure best security protocol for visiting teams, and thus address some of the security concerns that have prevented international teams from touring Pakistan over the last three and a half years.

Next: bulletproof vests for the international players while they play their matches? I see a lot of run outs!


T20I no. 288

It's so rare to see the Australian cricket team get annihilated.

So lopsided was West Indies' obliteration of Australia in the second semi-final of the World Twenty20, the victors had near enough to 13 overs to bask in their looming progress to the final against Sri Lanka. Matthew Wade's departure in the eighth over of Australia's reply to 205 for 4 left George Bailey's team at a forlorn 43 for 6.

Can Sri Lanka stop Gayle on Sunday? They won't be victorious if they don't.


World Twenty20 2012

What is so surprising: Just a few weeks ago, South Africa were ranked the #1 team in the world. Yet, they somehow managed to lose all three matches in the group stage of the current global tournament. The South Africans have yet to make it to a World Cup final. For a team that has an awesome win-loss ratio in the last two decades, that's quite disappointing.

Not-so-surprising: Pakistan proving my prediction wrong by winning against Australia. Pakistan have now managed to make it to the semi-finals of all four World Twenty20 tournaments. They are not even close to having the best team in the Test arena but in the shorter game, they have been quite impressive.

Strange: India won the first tournament in 2007 but they haven't managed even a semi-final spot since then. They've got big hitters but, it seems, their bowlers can't contain the opposition. That extremely heavy defeat against Australia a few days ago hurt their chances.

Anyway, a paragraph describing the cluelessness of the Australians:

Australia had secret camps, brought in spinners from across their country, ventured into the desert and took on the beast of Ajmal, all so that they could be ready for this tournament and the wily mystery spinners they would have to handle. They handled the 18 overs of Pakistan spin (it would have been 20 if not for Shoaib Malik getting Mike Hussey treatment) much the same way you would a chest bursting alien popping out.

Ouch.