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ICC World Cup 2011 Semi-Finals: Probable Pakistan Team Against India
Mohali is set to host the second semi-final of the ICC World Cup 2011, between India and Pakistan. Only one other match was played here during this year’s mega event, when South Africa took on the Netherlands, in a B league match.
That match started in overcast conditions and the Dutch sailors found some purchase, as the Proteas slipped to 58/2 in the 16th over. The wicket eased as the game progressed, and Smith piled on wards 351/5, on the back of contrasting hundreds from Amla and De Villiers.
Interestingly, the spinners came into play when Holland chased under the lights and Imran Tahir took 3 wickets and Peterson 2, as Holland collapsed to 120 all out.
Obviously, spinners hold the key, and Pakistan must take that into account when selecting a team. Their fast bowlers include Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Akhtar. Razzaq is also a seam bowling option that Afridi can fall back on. While Umar Gul has been outstanding, Razzaq has won a few wickets. Riaz has been less than impressive, while Akhtar seems to have fallen out of favour, after the hammering he took against New Zealand.
Pakistan have three frontline spinners, in Afridi, Rehman and Ajmal. Hafeez is the fourth, and Afridi considers the opening batsman as his team’s best batsman. Hafeez justified his captain’s confidence in him, with a spell of 2/16 against the West Indies in the quarter-finals. He followed this up with an unbeaten 61, a successful challenge for his side.
The following players select themselves: Mohd Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal.
That leaves only one player to pick, from Abdul Rehman and Wahab Riaz. Riaz took 0/29 off 6 overs against the Caribbean. He had 4 wickets from 3 matches earlier in the tournament; overall, in ODIs, Riaz has taken 26 wickets in 17 matches and has an economy rate of more than 5 per over.
There is not much difference in the success achieved by Riaz and Rehman; the latter played in 5 of his team’s 6 league games and took 3 wickets. Rehman’s ODI career of 20 matches has yielded 15 wickets; where he scores against Riaz in his economy rate, which is 4.31 overall and 4.42 in this world cup. But his world cup average of 66.3 per wicket contrasts unfavorably with Riaz’s average of 37.33.
Pakistan will aim for wickets rather than containment against batting powerhouse India, and so Rehman’s claim for a spot has been weakened. In addition, Riaz, with his left-arm fast medium, gives the team variety in his bowling armoury.
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