Of course Blacks are favorites going into this match – sitting at the top of points table with clinical performances by their trusted batsmen, whereas Yellows are the underdogs. Many didn’t expect them to show up at the Elite party but they have proved their mettle.
For Blacks – there is no really need for a change in strategy. In Tauseef and Nael they have an experienced opening pair and a solid middle order comprising Haroon,Hasnain, Ashir. youngsters Ram, Rahul have added to the Blacks talent pool.To top this, their spinners – Jason , Adnan, Abid and Talha – have been lethal. The stats speak for themselves for these Black’s stalwarts.
There is a lot of hype of Yellows bowlers going into this match. Tash & Butt have bowled their heart out and Abdul & Rafay have unsettled many with their magical spells. The batsmen, after some initial hiccups, have begun to settle down and make meaningful contribution in the squad.
I have spotted couple of mini-matches within this match – and these battles can be very entertaining and something to look out for:
– Taz vs Tash:
Tashfen is playing a season to remember and if anyone can penetrate Tauseef’s defense it is this guy. I’ll surely be rooting for Tashfen, though Tauseef has the capacity to unsettle him before he finds his rhythm. If Tauseef goes into his shell in the beginning, there already is a match on!
– Rafay vs. Haroon:
Rafay : when he loops the bowl (baray dil say as Sherry says) then he can trouble even players of Haroon’s stature. Haroon might try to see him through and play from the crease, as he knows if he stays on the pitch long enough, he can go savage towards the end of the innings
– Atif Butt vs. Hasnain:
The cool customer that Hasnain is, Butt will try to get under his nerves. I expect a nice tussle between the fighter that Butt is and the strategist that Hasnain has to be.
– Adnan versus Adeel:
Yellows batting order collapses have provided the Captain a few nightmares but that has not fazed Adeel and he has played quite a few gritty innings with the bat and become the leading scorer for Yellows this season. He likes to rotate the strike in the middle overs. Adnan I think would entice him to drive and attack. I see the leggies competing in middle overs. Adeel will have to watch out and sweep carefully, his wicket is rather precious!
– Ashir vs Google (Mo Ali):
The old gun hasn’t really fired so far this season and will be hungry to create an impact if he opens the bowling. He might have Google facing the batting who’s looking in exceptionally good nick. If Google comes out on top – he could give the start Yellows need to win the match!
– Jason vs rest of the yellows:
This kid has been on fire. How many times does an conventional off-spinner lead a wickets table. Yellows need to make sure they don’t lose wickets and play sensible cricket against him.
– Waqas vs. Blacks! Go do what you do boy – don’t think, kill the death bowlers and take the game away!
As much as people talk of Blacks batting versus Yellows bowling – My personal reading is different : it’s a match between Blacks bowlers versus yellows batting. Yellows bowlers no doubt can keep the likes of Taz/Haroon/Hasnain quiet – but if they have to win this game – they would need their batsmen to build big innings. It’s about partnerships and set a stage for their lower order iconic hitters. All the best – no points for guessing who I’m rooting for – Go-Yellows!!
By Babar Hashmi