Clash on the ‘Trent Bridge’

As time passes quickly, is any Pakistani ready to witness yet another showdown between the ‘world’s favorite versus our favorite’? I know I’m not. Especially since the last defeat our team tragically faced. It’s scarier when I think about ‘Trent Bridge’. The strip being played on today is only two strips down from the one used to bowl out ‘our favorite’ at 105 by the ‘Windies’.

Making it a little more interesting (read: upsetting) for you guys, it’s the same pitch on which the ‘world’s favorite’ have twice broken the record for the highest ODI scores, accumulating 481 runs against Australia in 2018 and 444 against our very own Shaheens. This makes this pitch one of the best batting surfaced for the ODI cricket at present. Taking the pitch conditions in account, hence, any side batting first would have to take up a rather guarded start to the innings. The hostility from the bowlers in one factor, one must never overlook.

The Win Lose streak:

Talking about battling head to head in World cup matches, shaheens and the favorites have split the encounters with four matches each team won, whereas one was rained out. The English capitan, Eoin Morgan has face tremendous success at this ground as he won three matches played under his captaincy with only one loss. Unlike for the Pakistani skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed faced defeat in both the matches that were played under his captaincy at this ground. Both losses came in 2019, the first against England in the ODI and then against West Indies at the World Cup. To point out the least, Pakistan’s most prominent win against England has been in the 1992 World Cup final. The Pakistani bowlers were instrumental with the ‘sultan of swing’- Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed picked up three wickets each. Let’s just hope that on this very slow pitch, our magic bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Hassan Ali can work their magic and help break the losing streak of these ‘Me in green’.

Pakistan Roars back:

It was being said that if Pakistan wins the toss, they should choose to field because the team which fields first has won 25 matches, compared to 18 for the team batting first. England and West Indies also elected to field when they won the toss against Pakistan…
Unfortunately Team Pakistan was unable to win the toss and hence, as the crowd witnessed the sky overshadow, our favorites ended up batting. But may I say, that was some class batting by the early line-up of team.

Pakistan, who lost the past 11 ODI’s, including a 4-0 series made a confident start. Owing the success to Babar Azam and Muhammad Hafeez, they have played a pivotal role in driving Pakistan to a formidable score of 349 runs on the battleground of Trent Bridge. While Babar Azam scored 63 runs off 66, ‘Professor’ showcased the experienced player that he is, as he culminated 84 runs off just 62 balls. The captain was not far behind, as the skipper played a knock of 55 runs from just 44 balls. Turning back their embarrassing knock out by the windies on Monday, the shaheens have actually turned about their batting strategy to roar back at their opponents by scoring a massive total.

Have they done enough?

But have they done enough? A question running in the minds of everyone…
A match that started off with a win predictability of 78% in favor of England, 50 overs later, the ‘Men in green’ successfully were quick to turn about the predictions to 48% in favor of team Pakistan. Still a long way to go, let’s just hope that on this slow pitch, the bowlers can repeat history (final of 1992) to bring their team the victory they deserve. The batsmen have done everything they could’ve, Rest lies in the hands of the bowlers and us as a nation, to pray.

Current scenario:

The first wicket was struck early by the green shirts as Shadab Khan dismissed the English opener Jason Roy at just 8 runs. A catch missed on Mohammad Amir’s ball and 7 overs later, the English were going steady at 60 runs. But this glory was short lived, as wahab Riaz (the powerhouse) bowled a slow ball to Jonny Bairstow, showing him the way back to the pavilion. An easy pitch. An easy catch. The start of the 11th over, marks the unleashing the unpredictability of Hassan Ali. Let’s pray we all get to see his victory pose as he may be successful to take wicket(s).

With this effort put in and the pitch slowing up, not only the run chase has mounted up for the English but also the win predictability falls in the favor of Team Pakistan. The struggle does not stop here for Pakistan, as they should keep in mind that as unpredictable as the English are, they are not the number one ODI team but are the current favorite of this tournament. With the bowlers doing everything in their power, the fielders must be ever vigilant to support their team. In the end it all comes to teamwork because it’s a collective effort. They should get on with the early wickets and break partnerships.

Let’s just see how this match unfolds guys. As today it’s a serious affair for the team and the nation. Which reminds me, don’t forget to cast in your votes in our polls guys, let’s pray the opposite of the current trend does not happen (the Bangladesh vs South African match. What a tremendous victory for the Bengal tigers). Let’s pray that the 67% in favor changes to many more in favor. Let’s pray that our boys emerge victorious guys, it’s been too long.
Pakistan Zindabad. We bleed green.

About Maham Tahir

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