Pakistan, The Mercurial Team In The Mercurial Format...

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Pakistan, The Mercurial Team In The Mercurial Format...
(Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)

Logic would suggest that when two unpredictable forces meet, the expected outcome should be twice as alarming or uncertain as when the two are independent of one another. Cricket's new hell for leather format, twenty-twenty, and Pakistan's international cricket team, are two such forces. But when brought together the latter some how manages to explode, rather than implode, as it has done in the longer forms of the game.

Pakistan have a certain steel about them in Twenty20, an almost unnerving ability to win games, control them in fact, to the point at which they have reached two world 20/20 finals, throwing away the first while cruising in the second. An overall record that consists of 19 victories, four losses and a solitary tie, places them at the top of just about every pundits twenty20 ranking. Surely the ICC will grant Pakistan the dignity of an official ranking soon.

Furthermore, it appears the nation, famed traditionally for producing rare gems like Imran Khan, as opposed to the chain mail sides of Australia and South Africa, seems to have found a team formula for twenty20 success, especially amongst its bowlers. Their pacers open with discipline and accuracy, almost as a foundation for what is to later come. Cue the spinners, who, unlike in other sides, bowl to take wickets, providing stunning variation that not only snares prey but also prevents batsmen from achieving any rhythm. And last but not least, the death rattler, Umar Gul, their star with the leather, comes in as late as the 12th over, swinging the old ball and once every so very often, supplying a crushing yorker, that opponents almost without fail, fail to pick up.

Even their batsmen, led now by the 'talismaniac' that is Shahid Afridi appear to have found their comfort zone. Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Misbah Ul Haq, Younis Khan, Abdur Razzaq, Kamran Akmal and now younger brother Umar Akmal, all have the fire power to score blistering half centuries.

Pakistan have just a few months to savour their world cup success, and will soon be defending their twenty20 crown in the West Indies. This time it is likely that Afridi's men will enter the tournament as favourites, a tag that the side will not be overly familiar with but by now must be accustomed to.

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