Pakistan and New Zealand evenly matched
The ICC Champions Trophy second semi-final between Pakistan and New
Zealand at the Wanderers Stadium in Jhonnesburg will be a contest
between two evenly balanced teams today.
In the circumstances,the team doing the simple things right in this
style of the game should, unless the unforseen happens enter the final
to be played at the Supersport in Centurion on Monday.
For a start the side winning the toss will think long and hard before
opting to have first go. That is because the uncertain nature of the
The England- New Zealand game played on one of these wickets was not
fit for cricket. It was a tricky wicket with the ball coming at varying
heights and at times creeping and crawling and England who batted first
were on wicket that could have caused serious injury to their batsmen.
The two skippers, Younus Khan of Pakistan and Daniel Vettori of New
Zealand will be hoping for a wicket that is good for cricket when they
walk to the centre for the toss. If the wicket turns out into being like
the one that was prepared for the England- New Zealand game, then the
confrontation as contest would be over.
Good wickets are required for good and interesting cricket to be
played. Spectators flock to watch this style of game yearning for
entertainment. But when the teams produce sub standard cricket because
of the uncertain nature of the wicket, the spectators go back cursing
the curators, forgetting that it is not only the curators to blame, but
also the hosts and the ICC who conduct these tournaments.
With little to choose between the two teams, the side bowling wicket
to wicket, taking the half chances, cutting the twos into ones and doing
the other simple things right should be smiling at the end of the game.
Pakistan who won the Twenty20 Trophy in England will be determined to
beat the Kiwis and have a fling in the final and add to the trophies
already won. Though they lost to the Aussies in an earlier game,it would
not be a worry to them.
This game is a make or break game for the two teams Pakistan and New
Pakistan will be hoping for big scores off the bats of openers Kamran
Akmal and Imran Nazir. Both are attacking batsmen and Kyle Mills and
Shane Bond will have a time trying to stall them from rattling up the
runs or dismissing them. Younus Khan who bats one drop is sure to make
it his business to play a long innings and add stability to the batting.
What has been worrying the Pakistanis is the poor form of their dashing
batsman Sahid Afridi. Afridi starts with a bang,but suddenly loses
concentration and dollies a catch for no apparent reason. He should bat
with responsibility in this crucial game.
Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf have been in the runs and it is
hoped that they will continue the same form in this game too. Umar Akmal
will also have to make runs. He is highly talented with strokes allround
the wicket and if he settles should knock the Kiwi attack around and run
up a quick score. Pakistan will be hoping that left arm tearaway fast
man Mohammed Aamer will get them the early wickts when the Kiwis take
strike. Spinners Saeed Ajmal and Sahid Afridi must also oblige in
bowling. Ajmalís doosra has been difficult to spot and many a batsman
has fallen prey. Afridi has a well disguised googly and should be among
Kiwis will look to two of their most aggressive batsmen Brendon
McCallum and Martin Guptil to give them the ideal platform like they did
against England. McCallum is a dangerous batsman who can take any attack
In the absence of the dashing Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Nel Broom,
Grant Elliot and skipper Daniel Vettori must make it their business to
make big runs. A big score from Taylor is long overdue.
Kyle Mills, Ian Butler and Shane Bond and Grant Elliot must give the
Kiwis the early wickets for spinner Vettori to capitalise on and run
through the Pakistani batting. Over then to the Wanderers and a wicket
fit for cricket and an interesting and exciting semi-final encounter.