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“It’s not every day that someone plays a special innings like that, and that too under pressure.” -Photo by AFP

When Pakistan unveiled its playing eleven today, the most notable change in the line up was that of Raza Hasan, who replaced the erratic Sohail Tanvir as the side’s fourth spin-bowling option.

Four spinners, and two seamers, in Umar Gul and Yasir Arafat and an in-form batting line up. Pakistan’s team for today’s match looked well-balanced. The spinners, as expected, did extremely well and, Hasan included, strangled the opposition. But when Gul was introduced as late as the 18th over, one wondered whether Hafeez should have opted for an extra batsman if Pakistan were to only use one pacer, Arafat.

It was being reported in the media in the build up to the South Africa game that Gul was under some pressure after struggling to find his rhythm in the opening games of the World T20.

Hafeez had spoken in support of his bowler in the few pre-match interviews that he had done, so it then seemed surprising that Gul bowled only two overs. It was surprising but wise, because the four spinners between them were doing a good job.

It is unclear whether any of this or his recent form pushed, but Gul the batsman, looked very determined.

“I knew he can hit the ball hard. He showed character today,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said of the man-of-the-match in the post-match presentation ceremony.

The opposition though, were a bit taken aback at Gul’s ability with the ‘Boom Boom’ willow.

“You have got to give credit to Umar Gul,” Wisden India quoted South African spinner Robin Peterson as saying.

“It’s not every day that someone plays a special innings like that, and that too under pressure. A lot of credit must go to the way they played as well. There was a lot of pressure on them. Gul played an incredible knock. He caught us by surprise and things went his way tonight.”

Pakistani fans will be hoping Gul’s touch with the bat rubs off on his bowling, especially considering their next opposition is the mighty batting line up of India.

South Africa, meanwhile, will take on Australia and the Proteas remain confident despite their loss and Peterson dismissed talks of another ‘choke’.

“Maybe we need to revisit one or two things and sort of move forward from here. We are obviously disappointed by the result but we still have two games to go,” he said.

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Comments (10) (Closed)


asgher
Sep 29, 2012 10:27am
What a silly thing to say.
Israr
Sep 29, 2012 07:37am
I hope he now takes this confidence as a batsman to his bowling.
Hussain
Sep 29, 2012 12:18pm
It was just a fluke...get over it!
owais
Sep 29, 2012 08:46am
gul should ope n the innings. against india.
Khurram
Sep 29, 2012 08:14am
Boom Boom Gul :)
Mr.T
Sep 29, 2012 01:33pm
Well he probably hit first six as a fluke, then he say what to loose just hit what ever comes to bat. When someone play like nothing to loose then there's no fear of getting out is over so person gives 100% and that he did.
Karachi Wala
Sep 29, 2012 10:56am
It is good to see while batting, Gul held his nerves and Pakistan won. In reality, it was more due to SA choked yet again. Had SA stuck with their spinners, there was no way Pakistan would have won. Gul or no Gul. Remember, Gul and Tanvir are salected for their bowling to which they both have been failing consistantly. It is pathetic to see when it come to bowling none of Pakistan Pacers can hold their nerves on regular basis.
observer
Sep 29, 2012 10:21am
What a team Pakistan is. Shahid Afridi shines either with the ball or bat. So he retains his spot in the team. One of Akmal brothers shines in almost every match. So, their places are more or less permanent. Now Gul has done an expected feast with the bat after not bowling so impressively. Keep going team.
sali
Sep 29, 2012 06:57pm
Pakistan owe one to Gul now. I hope he knows his capacity and takes full confidence forward. Show us Gul of 2009 WT20.
mir aftab
Sep 29, 2012 07:02am
In a spinners to openers attack it may be wise to have one or two tail-enders alternate with regular openers.