They were beaten badly by the South Africans in their first warm up game of the tournament but worst was to come later when they were trounced by the Indians in front of a packed Lords stadium, a match that was more than a warm up, a precursor to their further troubles against a desperate English team in their first match of the World Twenty20. Pakistan lost in a shambolic manner in a worst display of rusty batting, erratic bowling and a performance of fielding, the less mentioned the better.
They entered into yesterday’s match against the Netherlands with lots at stake; the aspirations of their supporters in millions, their credibility to prove themselves one of the better cricketing nations and most importantly their survival in the very tournament they were playing to move to the Super Eights in face of the challenge of a passionate Dutch side who had tasted the blood of success by catching England unawares in their first encounter. Pakistan weren’t to succumb, though. They played with a purpose and it showed when they posted a challenging total of 175 with all the senior players like Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and Misbah playing responsible knocks. But it was Shahid Afridi who tied the Dutch into knots and they never managed to find a clue. Saeed Ajmal and Shoaib Malik bowled well too, supported by a surprisingly good glovework by Kamran Akmal to take Pakistan through to the next phase.
The contentious statement of the Pakistan captain Younis Khan that ‘Twenty20 cricket is more for fun than serious business even if is international cricket’ in the wake of their loss to England raised a few eyebrows in the cricketing circles, didn’t prove that bothersome last night when the Pakistani team brought a few smiles to the sad faces of the Pakistani masses. We just hope the fun continuous . It is very much needed in todays Pakistan.