Pakistan is not called the most unpredictable team without reasons. In 1992, when they were thrown out of tournament by everyone, they raised their game to a level that directly earned their first and only World Cup crown. In 2011 when they were expected to show up their talent and cruise to Quarter-final they topped the group that includes likes of Australia and Sri Lanka.
Till now, barring one exception, Pakistan is enjoying a dream run in the World Cup. Despite the maligned recent history, the turmoil within the Cricket team, Cricket board and their country, and the long seperation from international matches, they started World Cup with the temperament that have placed them as top contenders for their 2nd crown now.
They started nervous. So that captain took the responsibility to motivate them. In the first 3 matches, he single-handedly won them the match taking 14 wickets, two of them were 5-wicket haul. The team realised that they have the potential to win the matches. Younis, Misbah, Umar Akhmal, Gul and others joined hands. Even the new bee Asad Rafique is playing like he has been on international arena since ages.
The team is yet to score a big total. Yet, it is taking wickets effectively. Except the Kiwis who scored a record breaking total during the death overs, the Pakistani bowlers have been inspirational wining matches from any situation. Except Kiwis nobody has scored huge total against them.
Batting appears still clumsy. Yet, partnerships are growing. Middle order is getting more stable with every match. The tail starts after number 8 Razzaq. How strong a batting line-up can be on paper!! Yet, so far when required the lower order batsmen are not contributing. Razzaq has not gotten many ooportunities, yet whatever he has got, he could convert just one chance into half-century. Afridi’s failure with bat is worrying. People wanted to see Boom Boom Afridi. But, his success with ball compensates the shortcoming.
They have defeated Sri Lanka, at home. The way they stopped the 34-match winning streak of Australia calls for applause, and raises the expectation. The only worry for Pakistan is they perform when none expects, but they fail when everyone expects them to sail easily. Pakistani fans will pray for their consistency and Captain Afridi’s magic will be tested at his best, as he knows Pakistani fans have no place for failure.