WICKET! Pakistan 288-6 (Wahab Riaz b Saifuddin 2)
After Imad Wasim drives a sweet six over long-on, Wahab is cleaned up by an immaculate yorker from Saifuddin. Beautifully bowled.
The latest episode of our all-singing, occasionally dancing World Cup podcast is available. And while I’m disappointed they ignored my suggestion to play the popular pub game, ‘Name the England XI from the first ODI v New Zealand in 1994’, it does include:
- TMS commentator Daniel Norcross, author Marcus Berkmann & actor Prasanna Puwanarah join Emma John on this latest episode.
- The team discuss England’s progress to the semi-finals
- Dan Norcross reveals why he really hates Quidditch.
- Emma coins the phrase ‘panto catch’
- The panel pick the most theatrical moment of the World Cup so far
- And Marcus Berkmann brings his best quiz questions!
46th over: Pakistan 279-5 (Imad 19, Wahab 1) The resourceful Imad Wasim, who batted so impressively against Afghanistan on Saturday, drags Pakistan closer to 300 with consecutive boundaries. He has 19 from 13 balls.
“Phase v faze,” says Anthony Fletcher. “Stuart Sanders going through a bad phase, leaving Smythe unfazed.
And with a vowel in his surname, at last. But doesn’t that mean I got it wrong twice? I won’t lie you, I’m all over the show today. You may have deduced this already.
45 overs: Pakistan 267-5 (Sarfaraz retired hurt 2)
Sarfaraz’s elbow injury is too painful for him to continue, so he walks off the field to be replaced by Wahab Riaz.
45th over: Pakistan 267-5 (Imad 9, Sarfaraz 2) “As Haris Sohail was half-way through his shot I thought to myself he was taking part in a strenuous catching-practice session,” says Romeo. “All a bit dumb.”
There’s been a slight end-of-term feel to the innings since it became apparent they couldn’t reach 400. As someone whose productivity from 4-5pm on a Friday has consistency left everything to be desired, I can empathise with that.
44.2 overs: Pakistan 257-5 (Imad 3, Sarfaraz 0) Imad Wasim smashes Saifuddin straight into the elbow of Sarfaraz at the non-striker’s end. That looked so painful, and there’s a long break in play while he receives treatment.
44th over: Pakistan 256-5 (Imad 2, Sarfaraz 0) “Faze not phase!” says Stuart Sanders of my unforgivable typo in the 42nd over. It’s been a long tournament.
WICKET! Pakistan 255-5 (Haris c Soumya b Mustafizur 6)
Mustafizur takes his 100th ODI wicket! Haris cuts a short ball towards the cover boundary, where Soumya Sarkar takes a comfortable catch. Pakistan have lost three wickets for nine runs.
43rd over: Pakistan 248-4 (Haris 1, Imad 0) Mehidy Hasan ends a parsimonious day’s work with figures of 10-0-30-1. Had he not played silly buggers in the 33rd over, they would have been 10-0-26-1.
“I think I have the response to Paul’s concern (33rd over) on the Zaltzman/DLS proposal,” says Sumit Rahman. “If a team wins by 20 runs, they batted first and completed their innings. Whether they finished all 50 overs or were bowled out before the 50th, they will have used all their ‘resources’ (in DLS language). There is no reason to give them more or less credit depending on whether they lost 2 wickets, 9 wickets or 10 wickets by the end of their innings; they knew at the start of their innings that they’d have 10 wickets and 50 overs to score as many runs as possible. The team chasing has their wickets fallen taken into consideration because they have not had the chance to use up all their resources (specifically, they won’t have had the chance to face all 50 overs). So the use of DLS in this way seems fair to me. The alternative is to make the second team keep on batting even after they have won the game, until 50 overs or 10 wickets, to find out what they ‘really’ won by in terms of runs.”
I think that makes sense, although in truth I’m so netrunrate-drunk that I’m not entirely sure what day it is, or why Andy Zaltzman would want to be on Love Island anyway.
WICKET! Pakistan 248-4 (Hafeez c Shakib b Mehidy 27)
Hafeez slog-sweeps Mehidy straight to deep midwicket, where Shakib takes a comfortable catch. Bangladesh are right in this game.
42nd over: Pakistan 246-3 (Hafeez 26, Haris 0) Although Pakistan are on top, this runchase won’t phase Bangladesh, who have posted some big scores batting second in this tournament.
WICKET! Pakistan 246-3 (Imam hit wicket b Mustafizur 100)
Imam-ul-Haq scores a classy maiden World Cup century from 99 balls – only to tread on his stumps next ball. That was a peculiar dismissal, as he went back too far to work Mustafizur off the hip, but he played seriously well. He now has seven hundreds in only 36 ODIs.
41st over: Pakistan 243-2 (Imam 99, Hafeez 24) Hafeez drives Shakib inside out over extra cover for four, a graceful and classy stroke which he follows with an efficient tickle to the fine-leg boundary. Imam then cuts for two to move within one of a fine century.
40th over: Pakistan 230-2 (Imam 96, Hafeez 14) An overthrow takes Imam from 95 to 96, with one ball of Mehidy’s over remaining. He ignores the dangerous temptation of instant glory with a straight drive along the floor that is fielded by the bowler.
39th over: Pakistan 225-2 (Imam 93, Hafeez 14) Imam, down on one knee, smears Shakib back over his head for four, the first Shakib has conceded today.
“Net run rate is a bit like penalties in football,” says Kevin Wilson. “We don’t like them, particularly when our team loses out. We agonise about alternatives, all of which are flawed. Then we realise that actually they are the best solution, as bad as they are, and the best way to avoid them is to actually win your games in the first place.”
Surely the true alternative to penalties is a bowl-out? I’ve still got agita about 1994, since you asked.
38th over: Pakistan 216-2 (Imam 87, Hafeez 11) Imam, on the charge, slaps Mortaza over extra cover for four. He is 13 away from a seventh ODI century, which is spectacular going for somebody who has only played 36 matches. Especially as he’s also been abused by fans for most of his career.
37th over: Pakistan 209-2 (Imam 81, Hafeez 10) Shakib is so hard to get away. He hasn’t conceded a single boundary in his eight overs, the last seven of which have gone for only 24 runs.
“Net run rate is an imperfect tie-breaking system, but so are they all,” says Keith Smith. “The real problem is the bloated tournament format. If there had been three groups of six teams, each would play five games, so there would be more hanging on each individual match. That would have provided the exact same number of total group games (45), got associate nations involved, and allowed the insertion of a quarter-final round (top two in each group plus the two best third-placed teams). Alas, the ICC preferred to guarantee nine games to each of the money-spinning teams…”
I have a bit of sympathy for the ICC, because this decision was taken at a time when everyone was moaning about the existing format. However, I do agree with you and I’m sure we won’t see a 10-team tournament again. The next World Cup will surely have at least 12, probably 14 and maybe 16. We still don’t have a format to satisfy both the purists and the cricket boards, though.
No, let’s not go there today. It feels like most of the OBOs in this tournament have turned into a discussion of the format and playing regulations, and I’m not sure I can take much more.
36th over: Pakistan 204-2 (Imam 79, Hafeez 8) Hafeez, who can be a dangerous hitter when the stars align, drives Mortaza over extra cover for his first boundary. But there are only three runs from the other five deliveries, which leaves Pakistan needing around 200 from the last 14 overs. Nice one.
“How about a French Cricket decider,” says Mark Hooper. “Played on the nearest beach, one hand one bounce, can’t be out first ball.”
At last, a bit of bloody commonsense.
35th over: Pakistan 197-2 (Imam 78, Hafeez 2) Shakib returns to the attack and concedes just three singles.. I think Pakistan have settled for trying to win the match rather than trying to reach 400.
34th over: Pakistan 194-2 (Imam 76, Hafeez 1) Imam flashes a back cut for four off Saifuddin, an excellent stroke. The scoreboard suggests he’s going fairly slowly but he’s only had around 35 per cent of the strike. His 76 has taken only 71 balls.
33rd over: Pakistan 187-2 (Imam 69, Hafeez 1) The first boundary off Mehidy comes from … Mehidy, who collects a straight drive from Imam, flings the ball back at the batsman and watches in horror as it beats Mushfiqur and runs away to the fence.
“I heard the system proposed by Andy Zaltzman on TMS and liked the sound of it as well, but I was slightly concerned by the idea that a team winning by runs (i.e. defending) might end up benefitting over those chasing,” says Paul Billington. “The way it was explained it sounded like a team winning by 20 runs would get those 20 runs credited to them, whereas the team winning in a chase would have the DLS applied to get their credit; the former doesn’t take into consideration wickets fallen, which may be the catch, unless I’ve not been listening or that thing I found on the carpet was a piece of my brain.”
32nd over: Pakistan 180-2 (Imam 63, Hafeez 0) Pakistan were just starting to motor before the loss of Babar; the last three overs have gone for 32 runs.
“How about the approach taken in gymnastics and some other sports – take out the best and worst individual NRR performances and calculate the NRR from the remaining matches?” says Martin Gilbert. “Rewards consistency and makes sure that a couple of terrible performances (either for or against the team) don’t unduly weigh on the end result.”
I can understand the logic of that in individual sports where there is no opponent, but I’m not sure about a team/head-to-head game. Imagine, for instance, if Pakistan marmalised New Zealand, finished level with them on points and had a superior NRR – but finished below them because that game wasn’t counted. Sorry, I feel very curmudgeonly today; I’m just not sure there is a better alternative, except perhaps Andy Zaltzman’s DLS brainbuster. I’m also a peedie bit NRRed out.
WICKET! Pakistan 180-2 (Babar LBW b Saifuddin 96)
Babar Azam falls four runs short of a charming century. He walked across to flick a yorker from Saifuddin to leg, missed and was given out LBW. He reviewed the decision instantly, hoping it was sliding down. In fact it was hitting the inside of leg stump, so he’s on his way and Pakistan have lost their review. It was a masterful innings: 96 from 98 balls with 11 pristine fours.
31st over: Pakistan 166-1 (Imam 59, Babar 87) Were it not for Mehidy, Pakistan would still have a chance of getting the huge score they need. He has now bowled seven overs for 16.
“Disappointed to see Millings (19th over) pushing the anti-tall agenda,” says Matt Dony. “Just another member of the insular elitist cadre of closed-minded short people. All fun and games until he needs something from the top shelf. And, when that day comes, we will be gracious enough to help out, because we are all brilliant, kind, warm, giving individuals. As a sign of goodwill, we’ll even playfully tousle (what’s left of) his hair.”
30th over: Pakistan 163-1 (Imam 57, Babar 86) A short ball from Mustafizur is flogged through midwicket for four by Babar Azam, who is on course to become the third Pakistan batsman – after Rameez Raja in 1992 and Saeed Anwar in 1999 – to make two hundreds in a World Cup. He moves to 86 with two thrilling, fast-handed pulls for four more off the last two deliveries of the over. What a player this chap is.
“Andy Zaltzman is in favour of a DLS system for tie-breaking,” says Robert Taylor, “and it’s not as complicated as you’d think. If a team wins/loses by a number runs then that’s their net runs for the game. If the team chasing wins batting second, the margin of victory is the difference between their score and the DLS par score for that point in their innings.
“For example: New Zealand chased down 137/0 in 13.1 overs against Sri Lanka, the DLS par score (at 13.1 overs for 0 wickets) was 26. Therefore their margin goes down as +111. I worked out how the net win margin would look like if we’d been using this tie-breaker (assuming teams didn’t adjust their play accordingly). New Zealand would have a pleasingly neutral +2 net win margin and Pakistan (due to heavy losses against West Indies -70, Australia -41 and India -89) are on -128 before today. This means they would only have to win by an achievable 130 runs to go through and it would be possible batting first or second.”
That sounds pretty interesting. You could argue people won’t understand it, but then nobody gets NRR anyway. What’s the catch? There’s always a catch.
29th over: Pakistan 148-1 (Imam 55, Babar 73) The thrifty Mehidy returns to the attack. Four singles from the over (again), which gives him figures of 6-0-13-0.
“Has anyone else noticed the Groundhog Day element to the latter stages of this World Cup?” says Damian Ainsworth. “Favourite wins toss, bats first, racks up a decent score that always looks just out of reach of the underdogs who, despite occasionally threatening heroics, always fall short. Rinse and repeat. After it looked as though it would really get going with some great middle period matches it’s all gone a bit flat; unlike Yorkshire’s sensational Championship victory on Monday at the home of cricket, North Marine Road, Scarborough.”
Yes, agreed. So far it’s been a decent tournament, no more or less, although the knockout games could change that. The Australia-South Africa semi-final alone elevated the 1999 World Cup to near greatness.
28th over: Pakistan 144-1 (Imam 53, Babar 71) Yet another exquisite stroke from Babar, who flicks Mushfiqur wristily through midwicket for four. Babar then survives a very optimistic LBW appeal from a ball that pitched well outside leg stump.
“I’d like to add my support to Mac Millings’ proposals,” says Tom Hopkins. “Partly because they’re objectively better, partly because I want to see more of Doug the Rug.”
27th over: Pakistan 137-1 (Imam 52, Babar 66) Babar dances down the track to drive Mosaddek on the full to the extra-cover boundary. That’s another beautiful stroke. He has just gone past Javed Miandad, whose 437 runs in the 1992 World Cup were a record for Pakistan. He is such a good player, and it might not be too long before we are talking about world cricket’s Fab Five.
Imam gets four more with the aid of a dismal misfield from Saifuddin, and an edge through the left hand of Mushfiqur takes him to a 52-ball fifty. Technically that was a dropped catch from Mushfiqur, though it was an almost impossible chance. He misses Babar later in the over as well, although again it was a big deflection and therefore a very difficult chance. He couldn’t get a hand on the ball, which instead hit him painfully on the knee.
“Just following up on the play-off idea, the second semi-final is on Thursday,” says Philip Reilly. “Three days between matches is plenty of time. Yes, the team involved would have an extra match, which would be a disadvantage, but that just provides additional incentive to qualify outright.”
The problem with that is that you penalise the group winners by giving them less rest before a potential final. The big problem, vague though it sounds, is logistical. Won’t somebody think of the poor flunky who has to carry all the television cables?
26th over: Pakistan 123-1 (Imam 45, Babar 60) A change of pace, with Mustafizur returning to the attack – and he has Babar dropped at backward point. That was a sharp but essentially straightforward chance to Mosaddek, who tried it take it two-handed to his left. Imam gets a rare boundary off the last delivery with a vigorous pull stroke through midwicket.
“I think Net Wickets Taken is a debate worth having,” says Martyn Fairbrother. “Currently there is no reward for a team getting 350 for no loss of wicket compared to 350 all out over the same number of overs. NRR can even reward the 350 all out team just because they happen to get their 350 quicker than the 350 for no wicket team. Maybe this is an aspect of the game that should have a small reward, in the form of being the second factor taken into consideration for qualification.”
25th over: Pakistan 113-1 (Imam 40, Babar 57) A sharp offspinner from Mosaddek is almost defended onto his own stumps by Babar, who sees it bouncing towards his furniture and gets his body in the way. Four singles from the over. I feel like I’ve typed that a lot today.
24th over: Pakistan 111-1 (Imam 38, Babar 55) Three singles from Shakib’s over, which he bowled in about two minutes flat.
“Barring New Zealand who have chased successfully on four occasions (albeit shorter targets), the table toppers – Australia, India and England have won just a match chasing,” says Mukundhan. “Interspersed between England’s poor show (at the end of the SL game) and their superiority (ahead of the semi-finals) were two matches where England got to bat first. Does it mean the semi-finals are going to be reduced to a game of tosses?”
Not quite, but it does feel like a big psychological advantage to win the toss and bat first. All three pitches for the knockout games will be new, so hopefully they won’t tire as the match progresses.
23rd over: Pakistan 108-1 (Imam 37, Babar 53) Babar rocks back to drive Mosaddek through extra-cover for four, another lovely shot that brings up a 62-ball half-century. He secretes class.
22nd over: Pakistan 103-1 (Imam 37, Babar 48) Bangladesh’s spinners are racing through their overs, which is making it difficult to keep up – and, more importantly, for Pakistan to hit boundaries. Five singles from Shakib’s fifth over. We’ve still had just six fours in this innings.
21st over: Pakistan 98-1 (Imam 36, Babar 46) Mosaddek Hossain comes into the attack to bowl some offspin. If this was a normal game, Pakistan would be going along nicely. As it is they need around 10 an over to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals.
20th over: Pakistan 94-1 (Imam 33, Babar 42) “In answer to Jezz Nash’s question, the pavilion is undersubscribed,” says Michael. “Tickets were made available to MCC Members, then Associate members and then Middlesex members. But it still didn’t sell out so the club has invited a few hundred local schoolchildren into the pavilion for the day which is, in my view, marvellous. The atmosphere is fantastic and the kids all clapped the players through the long room. Most of my fellow members I’ve spoken to seem delighted with the initiative. Pretty cool for the kids I’d have thought. Also probably brings the average age in the pavilion down into the 50s…”
It’s a lovely initative but let’s not get carried away.
19th over: Pakistan 91-1 (Imam 32, Babar 40) Babar uses his rubber wrists to flip Mortaza towards the square-leg boundary, where Saifuddin saves to runs with a fine tumbling stop. Seven from the over, all in ones and twos.
“A much fairer way to split teams level on points, if you ask me, would be by average squad height – shortest takes all, of course, as that negates the unfair advantage bestowed, in both cricket and life, upon the very tall,” says Mac Millings. “My own modest stature has, naturally, not influenced my suggestion in any way. Other bias-free tiebreaker suggestions: most balding; least respected by work colleagues; most-laughed-at-by-their-wife-during-their-marriage-vows.”