Tuesday, June 9

Netherlands vs Pakistan, Lords

A last minute offer of a pair of tickets had me scrambling to get to Lord's in time to see Pakistan's make or break group game in this year's Twenty20 tournament. It was unmissable (well, potentially anyway), and the fact that I had yet to watch a match at Lord's meant that I just had to go.

I failed in getting there in time though - we reached the ground during the 18th over of Pakistan's innings. On the bright side we arrived to see Afridi strolling on to replace the just-caught Younis Khan; if there was any single Pakistani batsman to see it was him. Unfortunately we only saw the one six from his innings, but seeing as we only had a few balls left that was enough I suppose.

We ended with a tally of 175/5, a grand score by any measure. But the twist in today's game was that not only did Pakistan have to win, but win by a large enough margin to prop up their meagre run rate (a result of their match up with England on Sunday). 175 meant that the Netherlands had to be pegged to 151 or below, no mean feat if Pakistan's performance on Sunday was anything to go by.

But they did it and they did it well. The second innings was a joy to watch with some brilliant stumpings from the rightfully picked man of the match Kamran Akmal, and a whopping four wickets from Afridi. Fielding was hilariously abysmal, but we didn't mind seeing how powerful position we were in throughout Netherlands' innings. Any misgivings on missing the first half disappeared, our only regret being how Pakistan cheated us out of a clutch of overs; but hey at least they did what they had to do and qualified.

I think I've written before how I don't really feel Twenty20 that much. I much prefer one-dayers, if only 'cos they give you a chance to see a good proportion of match if you come late! But apart from this lack of depth today's match (at least what I saw of it) was brilliant and I'm glad I went.

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