Canada bowl out Pakistan for 184

Pakistan batsmen struggle against Canada in their World Cup Group A match at Colombo

By Jamie Alter

Colombo: Mar 3, 2011

Inspired by Ireland s epic win over England in Bangalore, a revved-up Canada came out and bowled with purpose to limit Pakistan to just 184 in 43 overs after they d opted to bat at the R Premadasa Stadium.

Although there was little in the Canada attack in terms of genuine threat, Pakistan s top order under some cloud cover initially – struggled with the sluggish nature of the pitch and the middle order wasn t helped by some poor shot selection. All the big guns failed to fire against Canada s spirited bowling attack, and while the match is far from over, there s no reason the minnows cannot dream of glory.

If there is one area in which Pakistan have been totally let down, it s at the top of the innings. After stands of 11 and 28 so far, Pakistan s opening act of Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad again failed against an attack that was accurate and determined not to offer many freebies.

The departure of Hafeez early, rapped on the pads by Henry Osinde, meant that Younis Khan was called on early to stabilize, but he failed to get going after consecutive half-centuries. Trying to break free, Shehzad advanced and chipped to mid-on in the ninth over.

Harvir Baidwan bowled a fine opening spell as he restricted the flow of runs, and snapped up two wickets as well. He was consistent with his line outside off, and surprised the batsmen with his zip and appreciable inward movement off the pitch. His hustling manner kept Younis wary and it was thus that Baidwan nailed his man, with a fuller on that cut back in sharply.

Rizwan Cheema and Balaji Rao, bowling military medium and left-arm spin respectively, carried on the good work as the ball lost its shine and the track showed signs of becoming slower and lower. The bowlers were also supported by some good fielding and one such good catch at backward point by Nitish Kumar saw the end of Kamran Akmal.

Walking in at 67 for four, Umar Akmal was forced to curb his natural instincts and push and steer rather than dominate. He added 73 with Misbah-ul-Haq, scoring a good number of runs behind square with dabs and sweeps.

Umar Akmal had a good tussle with Rao, who repeatedly tried to beat him in flight. The batsman refused to get bogged down, using his feet excellently and hitting a big six with the turn, but it was the bowler who had the final say as he trapped Umar Akmal on the back foot with a flatter delivery.

It took Misbah 60 deliveries to collect his first boundary, and eight deliveries to get himself out after that. Trying to nudge Rao off his pads, he was well held down the leg side by Ashish Bagai. From here Canada imposed themselves, while Pakistan imploded.

Shahid Afridi cut Cheema to point and in four deliveries Jimmy Hansra scalped Abdul Razzaq and Wahab Riaz, the latter with some help from Rao at slip, the outer edge nestling between his thighs. Canada had wrested three wickets for 16 runs in 20 deliveries.

Pakistan, nine down inside 42 overs, had no option but to take the batting Powerplay. It lasted all of six deliveries, as Baidwan cleaned up Saeed Ajmal for 0. In 30-odd minutes, Pakistan had undone all the hard work by Umar Akmal and Misbah, and will now have to bowl out of their skins to prevent another upset.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 184 all out in 43 overs (Umar Akmal 48, Misbah-ul-Haq 37; Harvir Baidwan 3 for 25, Jimmy Hansra 2 for 23, Rizwan Cheema 2 for 33, Balaji Rao 2 for 50) vs Canada.

(Jamie Alter is a freelance cricket writer, having worked at ESPNcricinfo and All Sports Magazine.His first book, The History of World Cup Cricket, is out now)

Pictures Getty Images