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Team Pakistan has been regarded as one of the most unpredictable teams in modern day Cricket. Normally, heading into a match, you know which team is the favorite to win or which team is expected to perform well and which players are expected to perform well. However, such predictions fail when it comes to a match featuring Team Pakistan.
Team Pakistan is such an unpredictable team that sometimes, they could even lose a match in which the odds are completely stacked against their opponents while sometimes, Team Pakistan would go on to defeat teams which had been in form for quite some time. This unpredictable nature makes Pakistan’s matches so much interesting. Here, we will discuss 6 unpredictable moments of Team Pakistan in the last few years.
On March 8th, 2011 during a group stage match of ICC Cricket World Cup, Pakistan was playing against New Zealand. New Zealand had to bat first. During the first 45 overs, it seemed like Pakistan had the match under control as New Zealand barely managed to score 202 runs with a loss of 5 wickets. However, the last 30 balls of New Zealand’s innings proved to be quite disastrous for Team Pakistan.
Team New Zealand turned the match in their favor after the 45th over and went on to score 100 runs in the last 5 overs with a loss of just 2 more wickets. Ross Taylor, the birthday boy, ended up scoring 131 runs. Shoaib Akhtar, Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq conceded 28, 8 and 30 runs respectively in their last overs while Abdur Rehman conceded 34 runs in his final 2 overs. New Zealand ended up winning the match by 110 runs.
Team Pakistan has been a part of several nail-biting matches in the last few years. Such matches easily manage to keep the spectators and viewers at the edge of their seats in the final moments. Team Pakistan has ended up on the losing side in many such matches. However, there are a considerable amount of matches with thrilling finishes which saw the “Men in Green” celebrating after the match.
Fans of cricket may remember Shahid Afridi’s amazing knock against Team India in an Asia Cup match in 2014 where he smashed two monstrous sixes in the final over and led team Pakistan to a one wicket victory. Fans may also remember the Asia Cup 2012 Final where Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by just 2 runs. There are countless such matches in which team Pakistan gave their fans a chance to celebrate but only after keeping them at the edge of their seats for a while.
In a group stage match of the inaugural World T20 Tournament in 2007, Team India was playing against Team Pakistan. India batted first and set a target of 142 for Team Pakistan. Team Pakistan chased the target quite decently. In the last over, Pakistan required just 12 runs to win and had 4 wickets in hand. Misbah-ul-Haq smashed 2 fours and in just 4 balls, Team Pakistan scored 11 runs to level the scores. The 5th ball was a dot ball. Team Pakistan was prepared to celebrate but Misbah-got himself run out on the last delivery.
Instead of declaring the match as a draw, a bowl-out was announced (similar to penalty shoot-outs except the fact that a bowl-out required a bowler to hit the stumps). India won the bowl-out 3-0. Team Pakistan lost a match which they could have easily won but it looked like luck wasn’t in their favor that day. However, we got to witness a thrilling bout between India and Pakistan.
Team Pakistan’s tour of England and Ireland in 2016 proved to be quite memorable for them. Team Pakistan defeated Team England in the series’ first Test match at the “Home of Cricket”, Lord’s. This match marked the return of Muhammad Amir after he was handed a 5-year ban for spot-fixing in 2011. Amir bowled the last ball of the match to dismiss JT Ball and claim victory for his team.
However, Team Pakistan did not rake up a forgettable win. A few records were readjusted too. First of all, Misbah-ul-Haq became the oldest captain to score a century at the age of 42. This was also Team Pakistan’s first win over Team England at Lord’s in 20 years. Yasir Shah, who went on to become the Man-of-the-Match later, became the first Asian Bowler to take 10 Wickets at Lord’s. Both Misbah and Yasir Shah made it to the Lord’s honours board.
Normally when it’s the final over, you have got only 3 wickets remaining and more than 15 runs to score, you must accept your defeat in advance. However, Michael Hussey didn’t consider himself to be one of the normal ones on May 14th, 2010. In 2010’s ICC World T20 Semi-Final, Pakistan was supposed to face Australia. Team Pakistan set a decent target of 192 for Team Australia. Team Australia scored 174 runs in 19 overs. They required 18 runs off the final over. Saeed Ajmal was supposed to bowl the over and Mitchell Johnson was on strike.
Mitchell scored a single run on the first ball and handed over the strike to Hussey. Team Australia required 17 runs in just 5 deliveries, with a whopping average of 3.4 runs per ball. Many people believed that Team Pakistan had already reserved their spot in the finals. Hussey had something else in mind however. Hussey smashed a 6 off the second ball of over, a 6 off the third, a 4 off the fourth and a 6 off the fifth to claim victory and reach the finals. Just like that, in 4 deliveries, Michael Hussey scored an impressive 22 to win a thrilling bout out of nowhere.
In the final edition of ICC Champions Trophy in 2017, Pakistan entered the tournament as the lowest-ranked team out of the 8 participating teams. Things even got worse when Team Pakistan lost their first bout against their arch-rivals, Team India by 124 runs (D/L method). Wahab Riaz, who conceded the most runs (87) couldn’t bat for his team due to injury. It looked like Team Pakistan might not even make it to the next round and would be eliminated.
However, the “unpredictable” tag isn’t given to them without any reason. Team Pakistan went on defeat South Africa by 19 runs (D/L method), Team Sri Lanka by 3 wickets and Team England in the 1st Semi-final by 8 wickets. Team Pakistan then proceeded to defeat Team India by 180 runs in a dramatic Final. During Pakistan’s innings, Fakhar Zaman got out on a no-ball, bowled by Jasprit Bumrah, leading the Umpire to change his decision. Zaman then went on to score 114 runs. Zaman became the Man-of-the-Match while Hasan Ali emerged as the Top Wicket Taker of the Tournament and received the Golden Ball. Team Pakistan’s monumental win was celebrated for months.