5 reasons why Pakistan lost semifinal against India in ICC WorldCup 2011
On this day nine years ago, the world came to a standstill for a blockbuster event in the subcontinent. It was, as they say, 'the mother of all matches' - India versus Pakistan semifinal which was virtually a final before the final.
The Mohali Stadium was jam-packed, the noise was absolutely deafening and the fans were in for a treat! Pakistan came agonizingly close to winning and lifting the curse but to date, Pakistan has not managed to defeat India in ICC World Cups. Let's explore the main reasons why Pakistan lost the plot in that memorable game.
Pakistan lost advantage after brilliant bowling display
India won the toss and opted to bat first which was a no brainer keeping in mind that the home side had massive batting resources in the shape of Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and other giants of the game.
Despite the fact that Shoaib Akhtar was rested, Pakistan managed a superb show with the ball and limited India on a manageable 260 however, later on, this total proved a gigantic one for the Pakistan batsman.
Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez were simply too good with their cunning drifting methods and the duo befuddled middle order with their wiry off-spin bowling.
The young tearaway paceman who burst onto the international scene emphatically, Wahab Riaz, hogged the limelight with his hostile fast bowling. He didn't sleep on the eve of the semifinal and was fired up for the marquee clash and Wahab stepped up to the plate by bowling with an overload of vigor.
Wahab got Virender Sehwag pinned lbw early in the piece and removed Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh on back to back deliveries in the 26th over. Afterwards, he got rid of Dhoni of a brute of a delivery, trapped him lbw too.
Ragged fielding and little master's costly drops
Sachin Tendulkar was given many let-offs and he made sure to feast on the scruffy fielding. He went on to score a match-turning 85-run knock that proved to be the difference between the two sides in the final analysis of the game.
Shahid Afridi, who was on top of his bowling form, triggered a lose shot from Sachin Tendulkar in the 14th over and Misbah-ul-Haq, at deep midwicket, dropped a chance that should have been pouched. Sachin was on 27 at that moment.
Thereafter, in the 20th over, it was the leading wicket-taker of the tournament again and Younis Khan was the culprit as he dropped a sitter at cover and Afridi buried his face in his hands in utter disbelief but there was more agony to come for the skipper.
Afridi's misery wasn't over and it looked like Tendulkar was now toying with Pakistan fielders. He poked with a searing leg break and Kamran Akmal, famous for spilling chances, dropped a difficult one much to the dismay of Pakistan fans. Sachin rollicked along nicely thereon and made sure he moves on from the fidgety strokeplay.
Tendulkar clearly struggled against spin and on the last delivery of 36th over of Mohammad Hafeez, Tendulkar miscued a skier and almost holed out to Umar Akmal at midwicket region, but Tendulkar lived to fight another day and it seemed like on that day, the ball was always destined to burst out of Pakistan fielders' hands.
Sachin, though, didn't go on to score a century and few overs later he spooned one to Afridi at short extra cover and Saeed Ajmal finally got his man after an lbw review, that caused a lot of drama and controversy, didn't go in his favour when Sachin was still warming to the task.
Benching Shoaib Akhtar in his last World Cup match
The Rawalpindi Express, Shoaib Akhtar, hasn't been able to get over the then head coach Waqar Younis and company's decision to bench him in what could have been one of the biggest game of his entire career.
Even though Wahab Riaz did a stellar job with the ball and bagged a sensational fifer, Pakistan may have limited India on a much lower score had Akhtar been thrown into the mix. He has a fabulous track record against India and there is something that brings the best out of him against the arch-rivals.
Given the psychological advantage that Shoaib possessed against India and his ability to thrive in big games, the fastest bowler in the world had the odds in his favour to deliver a spell that could have taken the wind out of India's sails.
Shoaib still feels the pinch and even in that massive game, whenever the camera panned on him, we could see he was fuming and looked so desperate to go out on the field and help his team but a tactical error denied him the opportunity.
Hafeez's untimely wicket after bright start
Kamran Akmal looked solid for his 19-run brief and breezy innings and after he lost the plot, Hafeez continued to play delightful strokes through the covers with poise and class personified as always. He was playing some under-controlled pull shots like the one against Munaf Patel in the 10th over.
Pakistan did well in the powerplay in the pursuit of an untaxing total but there was a hiccup to follow. Hafeez had a brain-freeze moment in the 16th over and went for an uncharacteristic sweep shot on a harmless delivery by Patel on a line wide of off and he edged it through to the keeper.
That was a major turning point of that game because that led to panic creeping into Pakistan ranks and the green shirts were no longer in the driving seat.
A quick succession of wickets followed as Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan succumbed to Yuvraj's teasing off-spin web.
Misbah-ul-Haq dots barrage that led to tuk-tuk tag
A batting collapse was underway and Misbah-ul-Haq alongside Umar Akmal managed to forge a good partnership but Misbah went into a shell and his ultra-cautious approach culminated in the steady increase of asking rate.
The approach made sense for some overs because, after a flurry of wickets, a senior statesman is ought to stabilize the ship but the pattern remained the same till the very end of innings and he just couldn't cut loose.
Perhaps, it boils down to coaching loophole as well because there was a need to up the ante than just meander the game and leave so many runs to score in the last 10 overs.
One cannot rely on Shahid Afridi to deliver the goods with the bat but probably Misbah relied on his skipper to play a cameo in the batting powerplay. In a high-octane game, runs can be hard to come in a crunch situation so staying ahead in the chase was paramount.
To make matters worse for them, Pakistan left the batting powerplay for the last five overs and by then, the only recognized batsman on the crease was Misbah.
There were a couple of boundaries hit in that powerplay but Misbah kept losing his partners and the game kept slipping out of his hands.