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5 takeaways from Pakistan's completely expected 'upset' win over England

June 04, 2019

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Mohammad Hafeez (3rd L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's captain Eoin Morgan during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between England and Pakistan. -- AFP
Mohammad Hafeez (3rd L) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's captain Eoin Morgan during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between England and Pakistan. -- AFP

Pakistan beat England by 14 runs in their blockbuster World Cup clash on Monday. Here are our five takeaways from that game:

This was no upset

Babar Azam plays a sweep. -- AP
Babar Azam plays a sweep. -- AP

Upset, miracle, against the odds ... this is how most would define this game, and most would be wrong.

This was completely on the cards. Do not say that it wasn't. The hardcore fan called it; the quiet guy at work whispered it; and the Rawalpindi Express saw it coming from a mile away.

Only the casuals who wake up from their slumber for big tournaments did not agree. Their pandemonium of pessimism drowns out the absurd logic that makes complete sense in hindsight.

The logic being that Pakistan cricket team does not obey any logic. It does the unthinkable, undoable and the unexpected when it is least expected of them.

They're one of a kind.

Openers hold the key

Zaman and Imam provided Pakistan with a solid start. -- AFP
Zaman and Imam provided Pakistan with a solid start. -- AFP

Their contributions were later topped by others' heroics but let's not forget that it was Fakhar Zaman and Imamul Haq's groundwork on which this victory was laid. Neither even got a half-century but their 82 for the first wicket set the tone and took the pressure off of others.

Zaman, in particular, is arguably the most important Pakistan player at the World Cup because if he clicks -- most often than not -- Pakistan also click.

Hafeez and experience

Hafeez raises his bat after completing his 50. -- AFP
Hafeez raises his bat after completing his 50. -- AFP

Experience can sometimes be an overrated trait. At other times it can produce performances like Mohammad Hafeez's. The wily old Professor arrived at a time when the middle order needed to consolidate on the openers' work.

He was given an early lifeline by the generous Jason Roy and so he made sure of making full use of it. In the second half, he picked the all important wicket of English skipper Eoin Morgan. A vintage display.

Like the phoenix, Riaz rises

Riaz's 48th over was pivotal to Pakistan's victory. -- AFP
Riaz's 48th over was pivotal to Pakistan's victory. -- AFP

If Mohammad Hafeez was the player of the match then Wahab Riaz was the most clutch performer of the day. The 'comeback kid' was Pakistan's most expensive bowler in the game, leaking 82 runs in his 10 but picked three wickets, including two on back-to-back balls in the crucial 48th over that swung the match back in Pakistan's favour.

Like the proverbial phoenix and the biblical Lazarus, Riaz has risen from the ashes resurrected. And with a point to prove to those who had confined him to history, he impressed mightily.

England's bogey team

Jason Roy walks back to the pavilion. -- AFP
Jason Roy walks back to the pavilion. -- AFP

Pakistan almost are to England at World Cups what India are to Pakistan at World Cups. The English stray away from their normal game when facing the Men in Green and inexplicably bowl bad lines and drop catches.

Monday was another display of this phenomenon. Had Jason Roy not dropped Hafeez early in his innings, it could have been a very different outcome.