Well this is my first blog so it has to be related with cricket.
Its already two weeks since the start of the world cup but everyone is talking about off field happening more rather than on-field action. Only England's matches were somehow succeeded to grab some focus mainly because of that epic tie with India and Kevin 'O Brien's superb knock.
Many are talking about its format with lots of games being played against associate countries which mostly ends in tame win. The main problem arises when these games didn't even contribute to the final standing of a particular group.There were also discussions on weather ICC should shift its super six format to knock out format or not. There was lots of fuss being made on Bangladeshi fans when some threw stones on bus carrying West Indian players. Some people even suggesting changes in the venues.
In between all these what I have noticed more is that almost every country had played at least two matches. So lets rate the performance of probable contenders of this world cup based on these matches and their chances.
Questions being asked weather they can recover from the recent spot fixing controversy which resulted in a ban of their top three players. Some considered them dark horses. But in first 3 matches they not only proved that they have completely recovered from the controversy but also emerges as one of the strongest contender of the cup. They won all the three matches with one against another favorite contender team Srilanka.
They are very good bowling side with their captain leading from the front. Afridi's form is important for them as he is wicket taking as well as very economical bowler. He is the highest wicket taker of this cup till now which include 4 wickets against Srilanka. In subcontinent pitches nothing seems to work other than Afridi's pace variation.
They have very long batting line up with one of the best striker of the ball in world cricket at no.8. Their middle order has two very experienced players and both are in good form right now. Umar Akmal has shown some promise in two outings. Lots of crackers in their store. Afridi and Razzaq are the big hitters at no 7 and no 8.
The strongest point of Pakistani team is that they can defend any total.
It seems that they are too much dependent on Afridi to take wickets. This thing may heart them specially against team like India who can play spin well. They had opened their attack with Razzaq which is little bit negative for them as he didn't stood out as bowler in that matches. They may change this in latter stages.
Biggest worry of Pakistan is their opening combination. Both openers are out of form and are struggling to make runs. Kamran is also performing under par which leaves Pakistan to be extra dependable on Yunus and Misbah.They have the ability to crumble under pressure as seen in match against Canada. It reminds me of that match against Ireland in 2007 world cup. They have to sort this out.
They will top the group and will play either WI or England. They should reach till semis.
My suggestions for opposition
Try to bat first against them as they are vulnerable when batting second. Play Afridi as a fast bowler.
Next Blog will talk about Australia's world cup dreams.