The best of men have spent decades trying to understand what makes Pakistan cricket tick, but no one is any closer to the truth. Off the field, there’s seldom a month that goes by without some major controversy or, at the very least, allegations flying thick and fast.
On the field, there are two Pakistan teams. The first is the wildly talented, highly determined unit that can put it past any opposition. The second is the team that seems to do its best to make life difficult for itself, struggling to do even the basics right.
England came across the latter in the first match of the Super Eights, and cantered to a fairly straightforward six-wicket win. After being asked to bat, Pakistan coasted efficiently and intelligently to 76 for 2 from 10 overs, setting themselves up for a strong score at the Kensington Oval.
With the platform laid, the powerful middle order had merely to express itself freely. What followed, however, was a collective brain freeze.
Mohammad Hafeez, reprieved by wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter in a fluffed stumping, casually cut left-arm spinner Michael Yardy straight to point soon after. Shahid Afridi then pushed the first ball he faced straight to Luke Wright at cover and set off for a non-existent single.
Umar Akmal rightly sent his skipper back, the run out was completed and the junior batsman got an earful as Afridi trudged off.
Misbah-ul-Haq, who famously attempted to scoop Pakistan to victory in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 against India, clearly had not learnt the lesson about playing cheeky shots. On the day, he shaped to play a most clumsy reverse sweep, and was nailed by a Yardy quicker delivery.
There were others who slipped and Pakistan were in a jam, losing six wickets for the addition of 49 runs.
A late flourish pushed the total to 147 but then Pakistan let themselves down badly in the field.
Offie Saeed Ajmal had the worst possible day, dropping three catches, but he was not the only offender. England’s batsmen lapped it up, getting off to a brisk start, without having to sacrifice wickets.
When Pakistan finally broke through, they had to contend with Kevin Pietersen, but all they got was a strong finish. Powering his way through, KP struck an unbeaten 73 and England cantered to victory.