Daily Archives: August 5th, 2015

Gayle’s record double ton flattens Zimbabwe.

n_78769_1 West Indies Chris Gayle celebrates his double century (200 runs) during the 2015 Cricket World Cup Pool B match between the West Indies and Zimbabwe at The Manuka Oval in Canberra on February 24, 2015. AFP Photo Chris Gayle smashed the highest ever individual World Cup score of 215 and his first century in 20 months to power the West Indies to 372 for two against Zimbabwe on a record-shattering day at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Feb. 24. Gayle, 35, clubbed a record-equalling 16 sixes including three in a row, to cash in after a huge let-off on the first ball he faced and was eventually out off the final ball of the innings, eclipsing his previous highest one-day international knock of 153 against Zimbabwe in 2003. Records tumbled as Gayle, who also went past 9,000 ODI runs, bettered South African Gary Kirsten’s previous highest World Cup score of 188 not out against the UAE in Rawalpindi in 1996. Only India’s Rohit Sharma with 264 and Virender Sehwag (219) have scored more runs than the explosive West Indian left-hander in an ODI innings. Gayle’s 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out) was also an all-time ODI record. The 35-year-old Gayle’s century was his first since he made 109 against Sri Lanka at his Sabina Park home ground Kingston in June 2013. Gayle threw his dreadlocked head back in relief as he raised his bat in salute of his long overdue hundred following a growing chorus of criticism over a lack of recent runs. “It’s been a lot of pressure, the runs haven’t been coming and this is the first time ever in my career,” said Gayle during the mid-innings break. “So many people wanted me to score runs and the messages kept coming in on Twitter and in the end I am glad to have given them something to actually cheer about,” he added after his 22nd century in 226 ODIs. Gayle turned around the West Indies innings with Samuels after the second-ball dismissal of fellow opener Dwayne Smith. Samuels was comparatively more sedate compared to Gayle’s whirlwind knock, scoring 133 not out off 156 balls with 11 fours and three sixes. But it could have all been different had Gayle not survived a very contentious review in his favour off the first ball he faced. Tinashe Panyangara had a tremendous opening over, bowling Smith second ball and then looking most unlucky not to get Gayle out leg before wicket with his fourth delivery after a review. Replays showed the ball hitting Gayle’s pads and he was initially given not out by umpire Steve Davis, only for Zimbabwe to seek a referral. The TV umpire ruled umpire’s call, adjudicating the ball was going over the stumps, but Gayle looked fortunate to still be at the crease. “It was scary the first ball, it was like ‘come on, you’re not serious, you can’t be out first ball,'” Gayle said. “I needed a chance and I got a break and I made best use of it.” “I was under pressure to score runs, and I kept getting messages from Twitter and on my cell phone from fans. I have never known so many people wanting Chris Gayle to do so well.” Gayle’s record-shattering innings came just days after he was inadvertently caught up in an embarrassing Twitter gaffe committed by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron who retweeted a post from a spectator calling for the batsman to be pensioned off. “I have never felt this kind of pressure, but in the end, I am sure I gave them something to talk about,” added the opener. Gayle’s knock was only the fifth double century in all ODIs and the first by a non-Indian, with Sharma having gone past 200 on two occasions. “I am very happy to get this first double hundred and ever since Rohit got two, I have been hounded to get one as well,” said Gayle. Samuels also had a life on 27 when he was put down by Tendai Chatara at backward point off Skiandar Raza just before drinks and the West Indies were 73 for one. Gayle was caught by Raza off a no-ball by Panyangara on 121 in the 39th over as things continued to go his way. But off the last ball of the innings, Gayle was out after he skied a catch to Zimbabwe skipper Elton Chigumbura. February/24/2015 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/gay…&NewsCatID=371

2nd T20 Preview: After Tests, ODIs Pakistan confident to seal the T20 series

Pakistan will be itching to apply finishing touches to what has been the most memorable and satisfying cricket tour for the team in recent times. The performance in this tour must have given them immense self belief. They have won the test and ODI series. Now, they are a single win away from clean-sweeping the T20 series.

When the second and final T20 match gets underway tonight at the R Premadasa Stadium, Khettarama, Colombo, two teams with contrasting mindsets will be in action. Pakistan looks jubilant and enthusiastic, while Sri Lanka appears drained and frustrated.

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Pakistan T20 cricket captain Shahid Afridi (3-L) and teammates celebrate after victory during the first Twenty20 International cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at The R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on July 30, 2015. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 29 runs in the first Twenty20 international in Colombo to take the lead in the two-match series. AFP PHOTO / ISHARA S KODIKARA (Photo credit should read Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Background

The record does not look good for Sri Lanka. In the first T20 match, Pakistan scored their third highest score against Sri Lanka. The score of 175 for is not a mammoth total by international T20 standards. However, the ease with which Pakistan cruised to the score after a relatively calm start (52 for two in 7.3 overs) must alarm the Sri Lankan team management. Moreover, this was only the fourth time in 13 matches that Pakistan has managed to cross 150 against Sri Lanka.

The idea of playing both the T20 matches at the R Premadasa Stadium may have irked the Sri Lankan fans, if not the players. The team has lost seven of the eight matches played at this ground. Still, they can take inspiration from the fact that their only T-20 win at this ground was achieved against Pakistan in 2012.

Preview – Sri Lanka

Lasith Malinga, the captain and the biggest proven match winner in the squad, is fast becoming a liability to the squad. He has himself acknowledged that. Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik tore him apart in the first T20. His four overs leaked 46 runs. The whole of Sri Lanka will pray for Malinga to regain his radar sooner than later.

Leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay has a reasonably good debut. The batsmen played him with caution. The same cannot be said about the other debutant of the previous match: Binura Fernando, a fast bowler. The islanders’ bowling lacks enough bite and venom to trouble the Pakistani batsmen. Sri Lanka’s batting depends on how well Kushal Perera begins upfront. If he finds his rhythm, Sri Lanka will look a much better batting unit.

Preview – Pakistan

Many of the Pakistan fans must be pinching themselves just to check whether this is a dream or reality. Pakistan is playing such great cricket. They are batting without any panic. They are not going into a shell even if a couple of wickets fall. The batting is slowly regaining the long forgotten pluck of the 1980s and 1990s. Ahmed Shehzad, Malik and Akmal have all made vital contributions in the first T20. May be this is going to be Shahid Afridi’s match.

Pakistan’s bowling too looked tidy and efficient. Anwar Ali and Sohail Tanvir were incisive, while Mohammad Irfan was as miserly as ever. All they need is to guard against complacency.

Prediction

Pakistan looks heavy favourites to win the title. But this is T20 cricket and this is Pakistan. You can never be certain.

Squads

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (c), Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Mukhtar Ahmed, Nauman Anwar, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Shah, Imad Wasim, Zia-ul-Haq.

Sri Lanka: Lasith Malinga (c), Tilakaratne Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardene.

Shahid Afridi and others who have scored a duck on their birthday in ODI cricket

Pakistan batsman Shahid Afridi plays a shot against Bangladesh during a one-day international World Cup warm-up cricket match at Blacktown Sports Park in Sydney on February 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ KHAN  --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE        (Photo credit should read FAROOQ KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan batsman Shahid Afridi plays a shot against Bangladesh during a one-day international World Cup warm-up cricket match at Blacktown Sports Park in Sydney on February 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FAROOQ KHAN
–IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read FAROOQ KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Shahid Afridi was out for a duck on his 35th birthday yesterday 

Shahid Afridi was out for a second-ball duck on his 35th birthday against Zimbabwe at Brisbane in a group match of the ICC Cricket World Cup yesterday. Afridi arrived at the crease when the score was 127 for four in the 34th over. A lot was expected from Afridi, who is playing his 5th World Cup but hasn’t hit any half-century. But he lasted only two balls at the crease. It was Afridi’s 30th duck in One-Day Internationals (ODIs). Only Sanath Jayasuriya (34) has got out for a duck on more occasions in ODIs.

Afridi became the 19th player in the history of ODIs to get out for a duck on his birthday. Here is the list of players who have got out for a duck on their birthday in ODI history:

Players to have been out fo a duck in ODIs on birthday:

Birthday # Batsman Balls Team Against Venue Date
37 Glenn McGrath 2 Australia England Melbourne 09-Feb-07
36 Pat Symcox 1 South Africa India Sharjah 14-Apr-96
35 Shahid Afridi 2 Pakistan Zimbabwe Brisbane 01-Mar-15
34 Mark Burgess 2 New Zealand England Manchester 17-Jul-78
32 Russell Arnold 3 Sri Lanka India Nagpur 25-Oct-05
31 Nathan Astle 2 New Zealand Australia Colombo (SSC) 15-Sep-02
30 Bryan Young 3 New Zealand India Delhi 03-Nov-94
29 Kim Hughes 2 Australia England Sydney 26-Jan-83
29 Junior Murray 1 West Indies Pakistan Melbourne 20-Jan-97
28 John Bracewell 2 New Zealand Pakistan Sharjah 15-Apr-86
28 Dinesh Mongia 4 India Pakistan Delhi 17-Apr-05
26 Azhar Mahmood 1 Pakistan New Zealand Dunedin 28-Feb-01
26 Hamilton Masakadza 6 Zimbabwe Bangladesh Bulawayo 09-Aug-09
25 Ian Bell 10 England Bangladesh Bridgetown 11-Apr-07
24 Basit Ali 2 Pakistan New Zealand Port Elizabeth 13-Dec-94
23 Makhaya Ntini 0 South Africa Sri Lanka Galle 06-Jul-00
23 Daniel Vettori 2 New Zealand South Africa Adelaide 27-Jan-02
21 Axar Patel 1 India England Brisbane 20-Jan-15
19 Asif Mujtaba 10 Pakistan West Indies Gujranwala 04-Nov-86
  • The first player to get out for a duck on his birthday in ODIs was Mark Burgess on his 34th birthday on July 17, 1978.
  • The oldest to get out for a duck on birthday in ODIs is Glenn McGrath on his 37th birthday in 2007. Pat Symcox (36), Shahid Afridi (35), Russell Arnold (32), Nathan Astle (31) and Bryan Young (30) are the others to have got out for a duck on their birthday after the age of 30.
  • Players to get out for a golden duck on their birthday in ODIs are Pat Symcox, Junior Murray, Azhar Mahmood and Axar Patel.
  • Makhaya Ntini was out for a diamond duck on his 23rd birthday in 2000.
  • Ian Bell and Shahid Afridi are the only players to have achieved this feat in World Cups.
  • Asif Mujtaba and Ian Bell faced 10 balls for a duck on their birthday.

Bonus Trivia:

Vinod Kambli (100* vs England, Jaipur, 1993), Sachin Tendulkar (134 vs Australia, Sharjah, 1998), Sanath Jayasuriya (130 vs Bangladesh, Karachi, 2008) and Ross Taylor (131* vs Pakistan, Pallekelle, 2011) are the four players to score a century in ODIs on their birthday.

Shahid Afridi – A mercurial maverick of Pakistan Cricket

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Shahid Afridi bats during the 2015 World Cup

Shahid Afridi is one cricketer who fascinates and frustrates in equal measure. His brand of cricket is capricious but coruscating, erratic but enthralling, rickety but riveting. Be it with bat or ball, consistency has never been his forte but he is the shining example of the fact that in the limited-overs cricket, match-winning exploits are not necessarily the corollary of cast-iron consistency.

It is an eloquent testimony to his match-winning prowess that he has bagged the maximum number of Man-of-the-Match awards by any Pakistani cricketer in the ODIs (32) as well as in the T20 Internationals (9).

His meagre average as a batsman in the ODIs is a mirage that camouflages both his phenomenal potential and creditable contribution. There are a string of matches which he has won single-handedly, often from hopeless situations. Be it his 36-ball hundred against Sri Lanka at Nairobi in 1996, his 45-ball ton vs India at Kanpur in 2005, or his unbeaten 108 off 92 balls vs New Zealand at Sharjah in 2002, he pummelled the opposition teams to smithereens when on song.

Consistently winning matches for Pakistan

In the latter part of his career, he started batting at no.7 in the ODIs and unfurled some brutally braw innings to snatch victories from the jaws of defeat for his team.

His innings of 76 off 55 balls vs West Indies at Guyana in 2013 came when Pakistan was reeling at 47 for 5, while he unleashed 75 off 65 balls vs Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 2011 when his team was tottering at 71 for 5. In both the matches, his sparkling innings helped Pakistan reach a respectable total and later win them. As an icing on the cake, Afridi wreaked havoc with the ball too and claimed 5-wicket haul in both the matches.

These are just two of the many such examples when his late bursts brought home the baton for Pakistan.

While one can rightly carp about his disconcerting inconsistency and the fact that he often throws away his wicket playing irresponsible, sometimes daft, shots, what is beyond doubt is that he is a high-impact limited-overs cricketer, both with the bat and the ball. More often than not, his team wins the matches when he comes good.

His strike-rate in the ODIs is well above 100 which is highest by any batsman in the history of ODI cricket with over 8,000 runs.

Did Afridi the batsman fulfill his potential?

While there is nothing to write home about his batting technique, it would also be incorrect to dismiss him as a mere slogger. His Test record – 1716 runs at an average of over 36 in 27 Tests with 5 tons – is quite decent, if not excellent. His match-winning 141 vs India at Chennai in 1999 wasn’t the kind of innings a slogger can compose.

However, despite winning scores of matches, it must be stated that Afridi hasn’t fulfilled his potential as a batsman; he was capable of much better returns than what he has managed. His injudicious shot-selection and impetuosity often got the better of him leaving his team in the lurch.

His untimely retirement from the Tests saying that he isn’t cut out for Test cricket sums up his lackadaisical attitude and temperament. One gets the feeling that after a certain point of time, he started underestimating his capabilities as a batsman and bought the myth often perpetuated by media that he lacks the wherewithal to be a good batsman.

While the truth is that what he actually lacked is the sturdy temperament and self-belief.

Post 2004, he focused more on his bowling and emerged as a fine, albeit inconsistent, allrounder. Since January 1, 2004, he snapped up 264 wickets in 222 ODIs at an economy rate of 4.64. Only Lasith Malinga has snared more scalps than him in this time period in the ODIs.

Another striking fact about his record is that he grabbed 5-wicket haul 8 times in this phase – most by any bowler. On three occasions he cracked a half-century and snagged a 5-wicket haul in his ODI career; no other cricketer has attained this feat more than one time.

But perhaps the crowning glory of his cricketing career is leading Pakistan to the World T20 title in 2009 when he displayed uncharacteristic gumption and batted responsibly to smash half-centuries in semi-final (51 off 34 balls vs South Africa) as well as final (54 off 40 balls vs Sri Lanka). He was appropriately adjudged Man of the Match in both the games.

When it comes to Afridi and his performances, there is either a trickle or a torrent, there is not middle ground. Spells of drought are often followed by resonant downpours evoking frenzied hysteria among his millions of fans.

A stormy petrel on and off the field, he has been involved in a slew of controversies – announcing retirement several times & retracting, scraps with many of his team-mates, and most notably when he chewed off the cricket ball more than he could bite.

One can mock at his idiosyncrasies and his daft capers, but it is tough to dislike the man. Despite all his follies, his integrity and passion have remained unsullied in an era where many of his team-mates have been found guilty of corrupt practices like match-fixing and spot-fixing.

He talks like he bats – sometimes irksome and devoid of substance but unfailingly forthright and heart-felt. His brand of cricket symbolizes gamut of emotions – enigma, erratum, ecstasy, enterprise, and effulgence – which encapsulates the quintessence of Pakistan cricket. Perhaps that is why Shahid Khan Afridi is the biggest superstar of Pakistan.

A line from Salman Khan’s blockbuster film KICK describes his persona & cricket befittingly – ‘Dil Mein Aata Hoon, Samajh Mein Nahi.’ (I appeal to the heart, not the mind).

Pakistan win a T20 thriller against Sri Lanka

Colombo – Shahid Afridi and Anwar Ali played key roles as Pakistan ended a successful tour of Sri Lanka with a thrilling one-wicket victory in the second Twenty20 international in Colombo on Saturday.

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Pakistan’s cricketers celebrate after their victory during the second Twenty 20 International cricket match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo on August 1, 2015. © AFP Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

Pakistan recovered from 40-5 in the eighth over to surpass Sri Lanka’s challenging 172-7 with four balls to spare with Imad Wasim striking the winning six off left-arm seamer Binura Fernando.

Skipper Afridi led the way with a 22-ball 45 that included four sixes and a boundary, before Anwar smashed 46 off 17 balls in a match-winning knock that contained four sixes and three fours.

Imad, who remained unbeaten on 24, helped Anwar add 58 for the eighth wicket as the tourists recorded a heart-stopping win in front of a sell-out crowd of 35,000 at the Premadasa stadium that briefly included Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

Pakistan, who won the first T20 match by 29 runs on Thursday, completed a remarkable treble on the six-week tour, having earlier won the Test series 2-1 and the one-dayers 3-2.

Afridi played down his own contribution, focusing instead on the contributions of the younger players.

“I think 170 was chaseable, but we panicked early on,” he said. “Then came these awesome innings from Imad and Anwar. Hopefully they will continue to do well in the future also.

“I have an excellent bunch of guys, who have given me hope for the future.”Pakistan-cricketer-Shahid-Afridi-celebrates-after-he-dismissed-Sri-Lankan-cricketer-Dhananjaya-de-Silva

Fernando, a lean 20-year-old playing only his second international match, gave Sri Lanka a flying start with a double strike in his second over.

He bowled Ahmed Shehzad with a slower delivery and then forced Mukhtar Ahmed to top-edge a bouncer to Chamara Kapugedera at mid-wicket.

Pakistan’s top order caved in as Mohammad Hafeez and Umar Akmal were run out and senior batsman Shoaib Malik was stumped.

Afridi began the amazing turnaround with a sixth-wicket stand of 61 with Mohammad Rizwan (17) as the inexperienced Sri Lankan attack wilted under pressure.

Earlier, aggressive batting by debutant Shehan Jayasuriya and the recalled Kapugedera lifted Sri Lanka to 172-7 after skipper Lasith Malinga won the toss and elected to bat in the day-night match.

Jayasuriya, a 23-year-old left-hander unrelated to Sri Lanka’s former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, smashed three fours and two sixes in his 32-ball 40 before he was fifth out.

But it was Kapugedera who boosted the total with an unbeaten 48 off 25 balls that contained four sixes and two boundaries.

Kapugedera put on 55 for the sixth wicket with Milinda Siriwardana (23) as the hosts plundered 59 runs in the final five overs.

Malinga, who conceded 40 runs in his four overs, rued his poor form with the ball.

“I should have bowled better,” the sling-arm fast bowling spearhead said. “But I am happy the way some of the younger players have performed.

“Sri Lanka has a good talent pool to pick from.”