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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pak on a roll at Abu dhabi .... Vijay Hazare Trophy Rajasthan all out for 35 !!

Vijay Hazare  from Maharashtra played with distinction.  He captained the Indian cricket team in 14 matches between 1951 and 1953. In India's 25th Test match, nearly 20 years after India achieved Test status, he led India to its first ever Test cricket win  in 1951–52 against England cricket team at Madras, winning by an innings and eight runs in a match that began on the day that King George VI died.  He has been honoured with a trophy in his name ….. do you know and follow those matches ?

Gulf countries have been the destination for many migrant workers from the subcontinent, who go for employment earning much more than what they earn at their home.  It is proving to be a goldmine for Pakistanis. After the terror attack on the bus carrying Lankan Cricketers in Mar 2009 at Lahore, teams are not touring Pak.  Dubai and Abu dhabi have since become the home grounds for the Pakistan team.   The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi cost $22 million to build and is arguably one of the world's finest cricket grounds.

Recently, Australian cricket team toured the United Arab Emirates (UAE) playing one Twenty20 International (T20I), three One Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Test matches against Pakistan. The limited over matches were dominated by Australia while a rampant Pakistan whitewashed the Test series. There were so many records that tumbled and Pak batting emerged too strong. 

In the 1st Test Australia suffered a 221 run defeat.   The attendance was disappointing though.  Pak made 454 with Sarfraz Ahmed 109 being the top scorer.  Aussies made 303 with David Warner making 133.  In the 2nd Pak made 286/2 with Ahmed Shehzad 131 being the top scorer. Pak were all out for 213. The 2nd test too was won easily by Pak.   Their 570/6 was enabled by Younus Khan’s 213.  Pakistan's UAE flattening of Australia entered totally unprecedented dimensions on day four in Abu Dhabi, as Misbah's second century of the match occupied just 56 balls - the same tally required by Viv Richards against England in Antigua 28 years ago.  This Test series witnessed three Pakistani batsmen score centuries in both innings of a Test. Younis Khan did it in the first Test with 106 and 103*, while Azhar Ali (109 and 100*) and Misbah Ul Haq (101 and 101*) did it in the second Test.

Now Pakistan seemingly are continuing from where they left.  Against New Zealand at Abu dhabi, Pak declared at 566 for 3 with every batsman making runs.  Shehzad 176, Hafeez 96, Azhar 87, Younis 100*, Misbah 102* - New Zealand were all out for 262 with Latham making a century.  With a lead of 304, they chose to bat on again.  Rahat ali took wickets to finish the day with figures of 17-10-22-4. Tom Latham equalled the feat of illustrious 2 – that father-son pairs having scored Test centuries for NZ.  They are Tom & Rod Latham – previously Richard & Walter Hadlee, and Hamish & Ken Rutherford.  Today when Pak declared giving bowlers at least 144 overs – they took 8 and now just 2 wickets shy of another victory.  The declaration is no. 5  of back-to-back Test innings where Pakistan have declared, their longest such streak. The longest sequence is six consecutive declarations, by England in 2009. Mohammad Hafeez's brisk century - his first in more than two years - allowed Misbah to declare.   

Back home in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Rajasthan plummeted to a new low – being bowled out for 35.  Railway got the runs losing a solitary wicket.  At Nagpur, Rajasthan, which is mired in uncertainty due to Rajasthan Cricket Association's internal tussles and those with the BCCI, put up a dismal performance.  It is the second-lowest total in India's domestic one-day cricket, after Saurashtra's 34 against Mumbai in 1999-00. However, the duration of the Rajasthan innings, which lasted just 15.3 overs, was the lowest for a completed innings in Indian domestic cricket. Railways new-ball bowlers Anureet Singh andAmit Mishra claimed five wickets each. The first four batsmen in the Rajasthan batting line-up fell for a duck and at 17 for 8 in the 12th over, Rajasthan were in danger of being bowled out for the lowest total in domestic one-day cricket.

Rajasthan’s score card reads :  0;0;0;0 – 4; 13(no); 4;0;1;6;4.    Railways bowling : Anureet Singh 8-3-16-5; ACP Mishra 7.3-3-18-5.

Named after Vijay Hazare, the Ranji one day trophy was started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates. Tamil Nadu has won the trophy 4 times. Jharkhand won the trophy in 2011, beating Gujarat in the finals at Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore. Bengal won it on 2011-12. Karnataka are the current champions of the trophy in 2013-14, having beaten Railways in the finals.

The Indian cricket Board is understood to have conveyed to the Cricket Association of Bengal that it should not play wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha,  in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy to keep him fresh for the coming Australia series. BCCI wants to keep him fresh for Australia series and feels there is no logic in Bengal playing Saha, when the Board has rested him even for the last two matches of the ODI series (against Sri Lanka).

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Nov. 2014.

Stadium photo credit

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