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Williamson’s and New Zealand’s throwback to an old Test match



sh Sodhi and Kane Williamson

When Pakistan makes pitches as flat as these, there’s only one thing to do. You can attack with the bat, with the ball, with the field, and with your declarations. If you really want to win, you should be ready to lose. Send in the Nighthawks and be random with how you change the bowling, how you choose your players, and how you set up the field. Attack the danger and move through the smog faster.

It sounds crazy and sometimes a little bit cocky. It can get itchy. But when Brendon McCullum’s team won the series 3-0, it was the first time a visiting team had ever done that in Pakistan. The fact that the series trophy was in England’s luggage was proof that this strategy worked. At the end of the day, a plan that works will always win, no matter how fancy and complicated Plans B, C, and D look on paper.

Kane Williamson, who took over as New Zealand’s Test captain after Brendon McCullum, is smart enough to know that his team, or Tim Southee’s team, doesn’t have the players to play as fast and sloppy as England. He might have also noticed that Pakistan is having trouble winning Test matches at home right now. Their batting order is changing, most of their best fast bowlers are hurt, and the debate over who should keep wicket has turned into a culture war that has little to do with cricket.

In the last week, the PCB got rid of one administration in the middle of its term and brought back an older one. They are busy accusing each other, defending themselves, counter-defending themselves, and making new accusations. In short, there is more than one way to beat Pakistan right now, and New Zealand doesn’t have to throw out the Test guidebook to threaten their hosts with a fifth straight loss at home.

On the third day, New Zealand just wanted to make sure that by the end of the day, they had passed Pakistan’s first innings score. On the fourth day, Williamson was well into the hundreds and batting with the last batters. There was a chance of morning fireworks as New Zealand pressed their advantage and gave themselves as much time as possible to bowl out Pakistan again. England had told us and shown us many times that this was the way to win here.

But it would take 18 balls to get the first run, and 50 balls to get the first boundary. Williamson and New Zealand didn’t want to take risks just for the sake of theater, and they didn’t feel like they had to play to anyone’s need for instant gratification. In fact, New Zealand has only won 15 Tests in Asia in the past 67 years. Twenty percent of those were in charge of by Williamson. Even though he has never played here before, he has Karachi under his control at this point, and he wants to put as much space between his team and Pakistan as possible before the final attack.

kane williamson
Fourth morning, as New Zealand’s lead grew, Kane Williamson maintained his defiance.

In the first 17 overs of the first hour, only 29 runs are scored; by lunch, only 79 runs had been scored. Currently, boundaries are as scarce as fully fit Pakistani fast bowlers, but wickets are much more scarce; this is the point. Equally disciplined, Ish Sodhi plays the innings of his life, facing over 21% of his career total of 180 balls. Over 70% of the 193 balls in the first session are defended or left alone by the pair. In front of mostly empty stands on a weekday, the cricket is not enthralling, but then again, well-played Test cricket can be difficult to watch, especially on sluggish surfaces. These wickets are quite abrasive, and New Zealand is performing exceptionally well in Test cricket here.

“When you’re up to bat, you want to be as well-prepared as possible and stick to your plans,” Williamson said. This was the focal point of this match. It was enjoyable to spend a great deal of time in the field with a number of men who made quite useful contributions. We understood that we wanted to bat longer and get more runs today, and Ish Sodhi’s effort with the bat was crucial. It was a good total for the first innings, but we have a lot of work to do and we know we must take a few wickets tomorrow.

“It’s difficult to say, but it was enjoyable for me to be a part of a number of relationships that were crucial to our achieving a competitive score. It has put us in a reasonable position, but we are aware that there is still much work to be done. As a batting team, we are delighted with the first innings total, but we know that so much can happen on the fifth day of any Test, and we eagerly anticipate it.”

New Zealand did not declare until after tea, just after Williamson had lofted Abrar Ahmed inside out with a superb stroke to reach 199, followed by a nudge to deep square to reach his fifth double-century. He has now surpassed McCullum and is the first non-Asian batsman to make a century in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates.

“It’s always difficult to bat in Asia,” Williamson said. “It’s also slightly different. All nations and opposition are distinct. I wouldn’t place them all in the same category, but as a team, we’re constantly attempting to adapt to the circumstances in order to achieve success. It’s been a good few days, but there’s still a lot of Test cricket to be played on day five, so we’re concentrating on that.”

It did not always feel that way when Williamson was batting. Even when New Zealand’s innings was winding down and he was running out of partners, there was little hurry to reach the personal milestone or ultimately get off the square to send Pakistan in to take 10 wickets. Williamson was willing to pad up to Nauman Ali’s legside drifters and even played out a maiden against Abrar, exposing Ajaz Patel to a full over, despite the umpires extending the middle session with New Zealand nine runs down. Time was being drained from the game on a clock that Pakistan was only too glad to see run down.

He stated, “We’ll have to determine if we declared late.” “We desired to score a few more runs, see how the pitch is degrading, and determine if spin was gaining some aid. As we observed during the latter half of our innings, the condition of the pitch has worsened significantly. As a batter, there were a few other factors to consider, such as the fluctuating bounce. To utilize the support underneath the surface as effectively as possible, we’ll need a lot of hard effort and patience beginning tomorrow.”

All of this is a far cry from the most recent visitors to these shores. New Zealand, though, does not appear overly concerned with pursuing the latest vogue; in fact, they did not appear too concerned with chasing a victory here. With Williamson’s characteristically modest mastery of the art of persuasion, they could yet wind up coaxing victory to their side.

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1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy



1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli's Cricket Legacy

On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.

Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs

Virat Kohli celebrating 1000 Runs in ODIs with a jump on the field

Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.

An Unforgettable Journey

In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets



Shah Afridi celebrating a wicket

Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.

A Landmark Moment

In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.

Surpassing Preceding Records

Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Legacy of Excellence

Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Beyond ODIs

Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

A Testament to Talent and Dedication

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.

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ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’



Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah laughing together on the field

India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation

In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team is standing for the national anthem at the ICC World Cup

India’s Path to World Cup Glory

Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.

Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism

Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.

Virat Kohli gives a hand gesture on the field during a match

Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli

Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.

In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.

In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.

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