Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The War of Dark Horses: Pakistan Vs West Indies

This is the War of Dark Horses. Thankfully it is scripted this way; otherwise it would have been sleepless nights for those who tag themselves as favorites to face either of them in Quarter Finals.
Honestly, WI has not lived up to the expectation of the dark horse tag. They have not beaten any of the big sides in this tournament so far. Pakistan would be the first team if that happens. There are some interesting problems for WI ahead of the big match. Ravi Rampaul waiting in the wings for the first 5 proved with the 5 wicket haul that he is too hot to be warming the bench. Guess he made it count for every game he sat out.
Russell filled the shoes of Dwayne Bravo quiet admirably.  The new kid Bishoo surprised the world with his leg breaks. While Pollard good with his variations and the Big Benny boy has been consistent with the new ball. With the pace guru Roach leading the pack, it is only Sammy The Captain spot is under fire as a bowler. To top it all Gayle has under bowled in this tournament.  It will be interesting to see who they drop out for this big game.
It is the WI batting that has let the team down in most occasions. Gayle, Bravo, Sarwan, Pollard have not been in the same page since game one. However it is Dwayne Smith who has been consistent with the bat for WI. 
The problems for Pakistan are their openers and wicket keeper. With Kamran replacing Shezad as opener and Asad Shafiq coming at no.3 extended more solidity to the batting. And Younis, Misbah, Umar, Afridi and Razzaq to follow, Pakistan line up definitely look much stable on paper.
On the bowling front, despite Abdur Rehman very effective with his left arm spin, Pakistan would be tempted to play Saeed Ajmal the off spinner to open the bowling against the likes of Chris Gayle. Mind you, when CHRIST Gayle was firing in all cylinders, it was the pair of offies Tredwell and Swann brought him down to earth for heaven’s sake. Again with mercurial Afridi and Umar Gul, Pakistan bowling can defend any low target their batsman give.
Having said that, this will be my line up for the game
WI: Chris Gayle, D Smith, D Bravo, Sarwan/Chanderpaul, Pollard, Thomas, Russell, Sammy, Roach, Benn, Rampaul.
Pak: Hafeez, Kamran, Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah, Umar Akmal, Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz
Bottom Line: It is the bowling unit that is likely to triumph the game for Pakistan or West Indies in this War of Dark Horses.
My favourites: Pakistan despite the Gayle Show.

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