The Battle to defeat the Undefeated

If Pakistani cricket was a TV character, for me it would be Severus Snape. The textbook definition of being highly unexpected, from liking to hating (sadly a very strong word but used to display the emotion only) to loving that character and crying when he dies, Severus Snape is someone who’d anyone would want on their team… this is my connection to my team. From loving them to crying with them, boycotting them, but crying those tears of joy on very laudable performance.

Previously…

Generation after generation of this nation has been highly invested in cricket as it is a way to define our drive. Define our madness.

A tragic defeat India rocked both the confidence of the Pakistani fans and the chances of the national team, but then came to the high octane match against the baggy greens.

Their performance against the baggy green deserved every bit of appreciation for the Men in green (after the heinous and undeserved criticism that was projected towards them especially our captain). Even though they outperformed in the categories of balling and batting, but their fielding still lacked the same flare as the other two, but regardless, a win from 49 runs gave the Shaheens a much-needed edge that instilled ‘OUR’ confidence back in the team along with the team getting a much-needed boost to strive better as it opened the possibility to make it to the semi-finals.

Undefeated vs Unbroken

To explain the current scenario (read: hope this go this easily and smoothly), everything would be simpler for Pakistan: if they win the last three matches, against New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. This would open up the realm of them sneaking into the semi-finals (even though there may be some dispositions… but easy, right?) Undoubtedly, today’s match is a big one – if they win it (hoping hard) Pakistan will be back in the game (literally) have their chance at strutting towards the semi-finals like they own the place.

Today’s task: to beat the undefeated…
Will it be easy? Frankly speaking, before my laptop crashed, I typed a hard NO because I never thought that it would be an easy task for our boys to bring down the Blackcaps. But oh this bowler-friendly pitch and the successful beginning over, which is a treat to watch, had shaken the Blackcaps. 83-5, New Zealand (undefeated) vs Pakistan (crashed and burned, yet survived) was a little hard to swallow.

Skippers challenge today is to defeat the undefeated Blackcaps, who wouldn’t want to compromise their winning streak and maintain the seal a last-four berth with a win at Edgbaston today. The Black Caps throughout the world cup performed exceptionally. To have played with such precision and form was commendable. Although today’s match… (Is it too early to boast?) Has been quite different than how they’ve performed the entire tournament.

Men In Green:

As New Zealand won the toss, Pakistan’s bowlers had a crucial role to play that would contribute to our victory today (fingers crossed and praying simultaneously.) The attack was led by none other than Mohammed Amir. The name says all… 2nd over, 1st and Guptill is shown the way back. That’s Mohammad Amir for everyone. Such class and precision showcased.

Talking about precision, Shadab Khan’s dismissal of Williamson was magical. OUR captain showed such exceptional form by taking such outclass catches today.

Mohammad Amir, Shahdab Khan, and Wahab Riaz have been ticking all the right boxes, be it against South Africa on Sunday or New Zealand today or India.

However, Shaheen Shah Afridi was someone whose form remained a concern. But did he outshine everyone today? Oh yes, he did. Taking up big wickets with the Captain taking beautiful catches, this lad celebrated like Shahid Afridi. I’m sure every heart melt as it was nothing short of how Lala would perform, to make the crowds roar.

Good old days.

Pakistan finally made the wise decision of dropping Shoaib Malik and bringing in the very talented Haris Sohail. In only one match, he repaid the management’s faith by smashing 89 runs against South Africa. Undoubtedly, Sohail provided the much-needed impetus that Pakistan was lacking once the in-form Babar Azam departs. (As I typed this, Santer bowled to Haris Sohail and shouts of OUT were heard. Still recovering from this and another appeal was made. Guys!)

Babar Azam up till has been steady but will have to be mindful that he needs to convert his half-centuries into much bigger innings and possibly centuries, if he aspires to help reach his team to the semifinals.

There is no doubt that Team Pakistan looks forward to winning this game as it will help them get back in the race by not only defeating the undefeated (The ring this phrase has to it) also, to make their way easier for semi-final qualification, given that after this victory, Pakistan will have to defeat Afghanistan and Bangladesh in the upcoming games. However, this is where I ask that the rain does not ruin the play (even though I believe that rain makes everything better) but it’s highly important that will the rain doesn’t play a spoilsport in coming games which would reduce their chances to make it into semis.

Not only this, but it’s also very important that the form that our team has right now, this stays throughout the upcoming games. It’s fundamental because we may succeed in batting or bowling but right now the team has dropped 14 catches in the tournament overall. We are top on the list of teams dropping the most catches in the World Cup which is not a good trait. As much as winning depends on hard work and teamwork, performing well in every department is very fundamental.

With 57 runs needed from 62 balls, the match has been coming closer to its end, with the black caps tightening up the fielding. So enjoy the last few overs as these unexpected lads will probably give us a roller coaster ride. But don’t forget to pray for our national pride, for our national team. Probably out of desperation but pray out of belief. Let’s see if history repeats itself… just in case Pakistan wins this match with only 3 wickets down, it’ll be another similarity to the World cup of 1992, as the blackcaps were undefeated, but were defeated by the Men In Green and won the match by 7 wickets. Let’s keep those fingers crossed.

 

 

About Maham Tahir

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