|Afridi heroics fail to save Pakistan in 3rd ODI|
19 March 2013
ISLAMABAD – All-rounder Shahid Afridi heroics failed to save Pakistan blushes against South Africa in the third ODI at Johannesburg. Afridi, who scored a half century after February last year, regained his form and hit seven towering sixes in his 48-ball 88-run innings to entertain the spectators and millions of Pakistani fans. He hammered all the Protease bowlers at will. Once again Misbah somehow assumed that wicket is going to help his bowlers as he decided to field first, a decision which once again backfired, despite green caps managed to get two early wickets, but drop catches, poor bowling and doggy fielding help South African batsmen to pile misery on Pakistani bowlers. Both centurions AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla got chances in the early part of their innings as fields drop simple catches, which proved too costly for Pakistan, as both these batsmen slammed big tons. Umar Gul was dropped from the side and Wahab Riaz was given the nod. There was a lot of pressure on the selectors to include Wahab in the playing XI because of his domestic form, but Wahab proved to be the most expensive bowler in the Pakistan one-day international history, as he conceded 93 runs in his quota of 10 overs although he managed to grab two wickets. All the Pakistani bowlers except Irfan and Junaid Khan were butchered by the South African batsmen. Pakistan could have lost the match with huge margin had Shahid Afridi not played that swashbuckling knock, as the top order was sent to pavilion with only 132 runs on the board. It was Boom Boom who stood his ground and played one of the most memorable innings of his career to give a respectable look to Pakistan scorecard. Green caps are giving worst performances in the fielding and bowling departments and their overall performance is also not as consistent as it was expected with the arrivals of Dave Whatmore, Julian Fountain and M Akram. Fountain and Akram have completely failed to justify their roles despite being paid hefty amounts every month. If the team continues giving such poor performances in fielding and bowling, then there is no need of these two coaches, as these ordinary results could easily be achieved through local coaches. Chief selector Iqbal Qasim, although selected not more than an ordinary team for the Test series and there was hardly much difference in the T20 and ODI squads, instead of going with the seasoned Sohail Tanveer, who had the vast experience of playing in South Africa and was already applying his trade in South African League, had other ideas. Now he is forced to recall Sohail Tanveer after injuries to Umar Gul and M Irfan. Had Sohail was selected in the original squad, things could have been far different. Pakistan had not played well in all the three ODIs, but some individual performances kept them in the hunt. Although Pakistan is 2-1 down, but they can still bounce back and win the series by delivering well in the remaining two matches. But for that purpose, the team has to play with unity and Misbah should also take bold decisions in the upcoming matches. If the skipper continues with his defensive-minded approach, it will be almost impossible for green caps to stay alive in the series.
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