Did we really win Asia Cup 2012?
Officially speaking Pakistan did win Asia Cup 2012 at Dhaka defeating host Bangladesh in final on Thursday 22nd March, 2012 so I am also congratulating like anybody else my team on such a long due achievement but at the same I will dig it deep so that we know in reality whether we really won it or it is just a fluke that we lifted the Cup. Truth is always bitter but not for all and I simply cannot figure out what could be your reaction which can be both either in my favor or even against me and I will welcome whatever one says provided he or she is talking facts and neither an airy fairy story nor a dream.
What can be the right, true, certified and authenticated parameters or the scale to judge whether Pakistan was better than Bangladesh or for that matter Bangladesh had an edge over Pakistan before both the teams entered to play ICC Asia Cup 2012 in Dhaka? International Cricket Council (ICC) is the only authorized and authenticated body known worldwide like Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) for football is concerned to determine and pronounce as to who is who and from that point of view we find too much gap which is really startling if not shocking in between the two teams which very much evident from the facts and figures quoted here. Reliance ICC says that Pakistan has played 45 one day matches earning 4710 points and securing 105th ranking while against them Bangladesh has played 36 matches earning 2408 points and ranked 67th so from these figures even a simple brute and not an intelligent like you can figure out that there is no comparison between the two competitors in any case. The balance is not in equilibrium at all rather on the contra it is very much tilting towards my beloved Pakistan which as such generally speaking should have awfully awed and terrified Bangladesh and they shall have to very strong nerves, stamina and strength to face Pakistan. My team is a very much experienced team since it has already played 45 matches whereas in case of Bangladesh the figure is 36 only so whosoever has played more is certainly better than the other team and consequently it is very vividly proved that Pakistan is much better team than Bangladesh.
Now let us see what had been actual the performance of both Pakistan and Bangladesh cricket teams in the final match of the Cup. Bangladesh won the toss and earned the inborn prerogative to bat but their captain Mushfiqur Rehman instead of batting themselves opted to field 1st so he invited his opponent captain namely Misbahul Haq to send in his opening batting pair. On one hand this was undoubtedly very much fearless and daunting open challenge though unannounced as such thrown by Mushfiq asking very openly and blatantly his opponents to score as much as they can possibly score in allotted 50 overs and on the other hand it was bold declaration too oh his part saying aloud that his team has the capacity and will to deliver what has asked for and if you keep your hand on your heart and think coolly you will realize that Bangladeshis were really just a ball away from victory and it is sheer bad luck that they missed it. Pakistan had scored 236 runs in complete 50 overs at the loss of 9 wickets whereas Bangladesh in return could manage to score 234 in full 50 overs like Pakistan but at the loss of 8 wickets only meaning by that their bowlers could send back our 9 players back to the pavilion and our last pair was batting on the crease when we completed our allotted quota of 50 overs but in case of Bangladesh our bowlers could dismiss just 8 players and not 9 itself proves that they excelled over us in bowling. I simply cannot help saying that our former players, experts and analysts to just mention a few along with general public have been saying at the pitch of their voices that our bowlers are the best on the face of earth and I being a Pakistani myself should not disbelieve them unless and until I am an enemy of Pakistan but this has proved nothing but either a hollow tall claim or just falsely boasting about our bowlers otherwise ground realities should have been very much different. More Bangladeshis batsmen should have been victimized by our blowers if we were really truthful in saying that our bowlers are unmatched at his point if time but what we see in fact is that more Pakistani batsmen have been victimized by Bangladeshi bowlers instead which we may not like but nevertheless facts are facts which do not need either your approval or my blessings in any case.
As regards batting, I really regret to pen that if we just limit ourselves to compare one or two best scorers of each team rather than the whole 11 players of both the teams then it will be crystal clear to understand without any shadow of doubt that our opponents did out class us on this account as well. Our top scorer is Sarfraz who faced 52 balls scoring 46 runs at the rate of 88.46 whereas in case of Bangladesh it is none but Shakib who netted 68 score facing 72 balls and averaged at 94.44. Didn’t Shakib overtake Sarfraz unless we are not only closed minded but prejudiced as well? How can you ignore such an outstanding performance of Shakib and still go and vote for Sarfraz? Our next best scorer is opener Hafeez who scored 40 runs facing 87 balls and achieving the run rate of 45.97 whereas in case of our opponents it was Tamim who contributed 60 runs after facing 68 balls at the rate of 88.23. Who is better here and how? How can I ignore Tamim over Hafeez when the former has scored more runs and that too in less time than my compatriot? If we combine the batting speed of our two batsmen (88.46+45.97) with that of Bangladeshis (94.44+88.23) we find that our pair scored at the rate of 67.22 whereas our opponents raced to 91.33 instead. It reminds me that Tamim was dropped out from the team but the selector resigned and made it quite clear that he is off the scene if Tamim is not included in Asian cup squad. Prime Minister of Bangladesh took notice of it and she ordered that Tamim must be in the playing squad which has paid the dividends. Don’t forget our Information Minister Dr Ashiq hailing from Sialkot had inducted Mushtaq Malik in our squad which played in Dubai last month but poor Mushtaq did prove poor both in bowkling and batting so he was included in Asia cup. There can be another comparison about batsmen which is as to who played the fastest and how much. My goodness here also they have overpowered us so loudly that I am at least shaken if not ashamed. Our fastest scorer is Afridi who smashed 32 from 22 balls averaging 145.45 which is not bad from any set of imagination but at the same time Masharf belted 18 runs from only 9 balls scoring at the speed of 200 proves that Afridi was way behind Masharaf. One should not forget that Afridi is one of the hardest hitting playing cricketers at the moment that once scored 32 runs in just one over while playing against Sri Lanka so there is no comparison between Afridi and Masharf but yet Bangladeshi surpassed Pakistani.
As a truly honest person I will say that one way or the other Bangladeshis did not bowl so well as compared to Pakistanis at least from the angle of gifting away extra runs which is nothing short of divine bounty for Pakistan which was too thirsty of runs in the final game in any case. Pakistan total score of 236 had 18 extra runs gifted by Bangladeshi bowlers meaning by that these runs were not scored by our batsmen but were added to our total because our opponents were wrong for many reasons and hence we had to be benefitted accordingly. Our bowlers were more economical though they also proved to be extra kind hearted giving away as much as 11 runs and resultantly Bangladeshis’ score of 234 included such 11 free runs as well. I leave it to fair judgment and moral conscious to decide yourself as to what had been our final figure had these extra 18 runs were not added to our total of 236. Don’t close your eyes on the fact that Bangladeshis lost the game by just 2 runs and not more so from that point of view you can very well realize as to what is the weight of 18 extra runs given to Pakistan.
Due to paucity of space and time, I need not to pen all the facts and figures about all the league matches played at the cup namely Pakistan against Bangladesh; Pakistan against India; Pakistan against Sri Lanka; Bangladesh against India and Bangladesh against Sri Lanka but the irrefutable fact remains that Bangladeshis have played much better than us in all the league matches in any case. None could defeat them at the cup other than Pakistan but with a very little margin whereas they in fact have miserably fumbled none but India and Sri Lanka who are not only Asia Cup holders but World Cup holders as well which is a big achievement in any case. Each game they played was nothing short of imminent threat and this is what they did succeed in proving at the end of the day.
Last but not the least, how did we win by just 2 runs which is minimum possible though it could have been 1 score as well? Over all experience of our players certainly puts our team much heavier than Bangladeshis so should not our performance match with our experience, may I ask? Shouldn’t equally rated teams be pitched against each other and not like this when the two opponents are miles apart? Didn’t we sweat profusely when so junior team like Bangladesh which is rated at the bottom of the international rating scale dragged us so close to defeat in the last over when it was very much possible for them to snatch way the cup from us? Do not forget that in the inaugural match of the cup which Pakistan had won with a little margin only, Bangladeshis have not only rightly alarmed but threatened too not only Pakistan but Sri Lanka and India as well that Bengalis should not be taken so lightly from any set of imagination whatsoever because they are very well trained, toned and equipped to rout anyone who dares to challenge and this is what they have proved eventually.
Litmus test but please and I request again to please be honest rather dead honest to answer these questions whose answers I wish you keep it to yourself so that you are not exposed and mocked at. Didn’t you pray to Allah Almighty to let a miracle happen and Pakistan wins when the last over was being played by Bangladeshis? Who did not know that it is not the prayer which will play its role in the ground but the batsman to score or bowler to bold so why did you pray to Allah then, may I ask you so bluntly? For academic discussion only and not otherwise, had Bangladeshis scored say just 200 only when playing the last 50th over then had you prayed even at that time also for Pakistan win, shouldn’t I pose this question to you now when you are not just boasting but boasting aloud of winning Asia Cup?
Which one is more applicable to you when the last 50th over was bowled by us-were you too cool or utterly jittery or completely nervous or even turned pale, can I ask my compatriots who are either living in my beloved Pakistan or overseas like me provided none of you picks up a gun, nor a stone and not even scolds me to pose so many nosy questions and those too in just one go? What do you say now for Pakistan and against Bangladesh when I am writing this which is neither my comment nor a mere speculation but the fact which is not only known to you and me alone but made public world over? Our Afridi is declared as the Player of the Match which is an honor and indeed and a qualification to be rightly counted and not a disqualification whatsoever but at the same time you should not forget though could a bitter pill to swallow that Shakib who is none but a Bangladeshi is pronounced as the Player of the Series so who is the winner, who edges who, how, when and where? I have completely done my part based on hard facts which are duly punctuated to the best of my judgment and understanding and now the decision lies with you and not me but nevertheless your decision either in favor of Pakistan or Bangladesh should be nothing short of truly fair and judicious which of course ought to be free of any patriotism and or prejudices.
Say at least on your honor if not on holy book, didn’t Bangladeshi show us the mirror?Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait