Umar Akmal's 94 Proves Pakistan Have the Firepower to Win WT20

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Umar Akmal's 94 Proves Pakistan Have the Firepower to Win WT20
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Umar  Akmal's firecracker of an innings (video highlights below) against Australia has sent the bookmakers running for cover as a new possibility has emerged; Pakistan can win this tournament.

In recent years, the Pakistanis would have crumbled at various points during this game. When they were 25 for 2 in the fifth over of their innings and also when the Aussies were flying at 126/2 for instance.

However, this time a refusal to panic and the underlying confidence running through the team saw them get over the line. And nowhere was this more evidenced than in Akmal's assured knock. Let's take a quick look at the enigmatic batsman's career so far.

  Innings Runs Highest score Average Strike rate 50s 100s
Tests 30 1003 129 35.82 65.98 6 1
ODIs 83 2623 102* 38.57 87.08 19 2
T20Is 51 1220 94 29.04 122.86 6 0

 

Akmal's century on Test match debut

The Good

At the tender age of 19, Akmal made a stunning start to his career, recording a century against New Zealand on his Test match debut. More scores of significance followed including a triple-figure score against Sri Lanka in just his third ODI.

This flying start, combined with his aggressive style and inclination to play shots quickly made him a fan favourite, and Pakistan seemingly had a new batting hero on their hands.

 

Akmal's first ODI century

The Bad

As happens so often, Akmal suffered an inevitable dip in form and found himself dropping in and out of the Pakistan Test side after scoring just one half century between January 2010 and May 2011.

The strokemaker fared a little better in limited-overs cricket but still endured criticism for failing to turn starts into match-winning innings and saw his averages steadily decline across all three formats.

Some high-profile missed chances behind the stumps, when forced to utilise his second-string skills as a wicketkeeper, didn't help either.

 

A selection of Akmal's best strokes

The Ugly

A handful of off-the-field issues have also blotted Akmal's career, the most recent of whichas reported by the BBC, was an altercation with a traffic warden earlier this year.

Additionally, a couple of incidents involving alleged "fake injuries" in protest at the dropping of his brother have surfaced over the years.

One case was at the 2011 ODI World Cup as documented in the Times of India, while a similar case materialised on a 2010 tour of Australia as mentioned in this ESPN Cricinfo article.

 

Highlights of Akmal's 94 against Australia

The Future

Fortunately, as evidenced by his blistering knock against the Aussies, Akmal's career finally appears to be on an upward curve with his 94 the latest in a line of decent scores, including two 50s and a 100 at the Asia Cup.

Maybe it's the result of finally finding a settled position in the line-up—No. 4 in T20 cricket and No. 6 in ODIs. Or maybe it's just a newfound maturity? 

Either way, at the age of 23, Akmal has the ability and the time to go on and become the cornerstone of the Pakistan batting line-up for years to come.

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