Misbah ul Haq: India’s 12th Man
I know your eyes would be pop out after seeing the heading Stunned and Astonished and it should be. We all know Misbah is a Pakistani player then why am I calling him the 12th man of the Indian Cricket Team?
The reasons behind it is not so strange, if you may take a look at Misbah’s innings played in all the important matches against India. I am giving a brief explanation of his performances in all of the important matches he had played since 2007.
Group match: T-20 World Cup 2007
How can one forget the group stage match between India and Pakistan played in the world cup 2007. Misbah came to bat at a crucial stage of the match when Pakistan loose their 4 very important wickets on 47. He made a great contribution then and scored magnificent 53 from just 35 balls. No doubt, at that stage, he played a heroic innings. Now, at one stage, Pakistan was in need of 39 runs from just 15 balls, Misbah fought hard and took the game very closer.
However, when Pakistan needed only 1 run from the last two balls of the innings, he failed to do so. Sreesanth came round the wicket to deliver a dot ball and then a short one that Misbah couldn’t parry to silly mid-off. He had no chance of score a single and as a result the match ended in a tie. After that, in the bowl-out, India defeated Pakistan and stayed at the top of the group.
I know World Cup matches are tough, players are under immense pressure, and scoring against a good team is hard but scoring a single run in 2 balls is never a tough job for a batsman who is well set. We have seen a lot of matches that turn in the favor of the batting team in such situations, but this would probably be the first time and was very strange that a match went into bowling team’s favor and the star was? Sreesanth? No!!!! it was Misbah-Ul-Haq.
Final: T-20 World Cup 2007
Now, lets move toward the finals of T-20 World Cp 2007. In the initial stage, Misbah kept Pakistan in the hunt by playing sensibly and intelligently. In the last over Pakistan needed 13 runs, with one wicket remaining, he smashed six on the second ball of the over and it seemed like Pakistan will win the match.
Then with fine leg in the circle, he went for an unnecessary scoop and mistimed it completely and was easily caught by Sreesanth in the fine leg. Again, the result was same. Yes, India won. Sreesanth was involved once again. And the credit goes to Misbah once again. Well Played Misbah. You are the 12th Man of Indians.
Semi-final: ICC Cricket World Cup 2011
In that match, after winning the toss, India set a target of 261 runs for Pakistan. While chasing 261, Pakistan loose three quick wickets, Misbah came to the crease. During his innings, he was not rotating the strike continuously and played too many dot deliveries throughout the first half of the match. As a result the required rate climb up to an unmanageable proportions, which created pressure on the middle order and forced them to take unnecessary risks. On the first 42 balls Misbah played, he scored 17 runs only with 27 dot deliveries. When Pakistan were 9 down and only 1 wicket was left, he started attacking the Indian bowlers and ended up on scoring 56 off 76 deliveries with an unhealthy strike rate of 73.68. Pakistan was all out on 231 runs on the board and once again lost the match against India by 29 runs.
That day, If Misbah had tried to rotate the strike and gave other batsmen a chance to play, the scoreboard would have kept ticking, and the run rate would have been under control and the history could have been different.
Group match: ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
On 15th February 2015 the history repeated once again, when the wickets were falling, he was not able to rotate the strike and played too slowly initially. Even though he started playing aggressively later on when the required run rate was already above 10.50 and team went on to lose the match by 76 runs.
What comes to my mind?
The only thing that comes to my mind during an India and Pakistan match is why does the Pakistan team need a player like Misbah. At least when the team is playing against India, they need a player, someone like Dhoni who has the habit of playing according to the situation and winning the games for the country.
Is Misbah always under pressure when he plays against India in a World Cup match or is it just his luck that never backs him? Only Misbah can tell.
I am quite sure, the next time Misbah plays against India and keeps this habit of playing dot balls, the chances of India winning will remain solid. Pakistan needs a player that can handle pressure and score at the same time, not a captain that can handle the team but not his own bat.
If you have something to add or believe that I have missed some facts, you can let us know by commenting in the comments section down below.
These are the reasons why, I am calling Misbah-ul-Hq, a 12th man of Indian cricket team.
Also, note that the article is a result of the own views of the author.