|Ground:||Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi|
|Event:||South Africa in United Arab Emirates 2010/11|
DateLine: 8th November 2010
Unprecedented – Unmatchable – Unforgettable - Unbelievable. There could be more superlatives to describe Abdul Razzaq's match-winning innings in the second ODI played on 31 October 2010 against South Africa in Abu Dhabi. Simply said, he won the match for Pakistan. That is not enough because Pakistan won the match in some style.
In cricketing circles, the Pakistan cricket team also basks under the spotlight of 'unpredictability'. This ODI affords ample proof of the said assertion. Sometimes Pakistan lose matches in an extraordinary 'style' i.e. by surrendering without a whimper or semblance of fighting. However, this match will go down in cricket history as an epic encounter.
No doubt in the past, some extraordinary cricket innings have been played by batsmen including the 37-ball century by Shahid Afridi. But one has to take into account the context of the match in question. No cricket expert, even though he may be living in a fantasy world, could have visualised a victory for Pakistan.
One of the commentators, who probably could not "digest" the splendid Razzaq innings, was heard trying to blame South Africa's captain, Johan Botha, for not placing the fielders in the right places. Unacceptable. Three of the players who partnered Abdul Razzaq, were run out, and as far as my cricketing knowledge is concerned, one can't place fielders to catch sixers, and Razzaq hit TEN! Ironically, the same commentator was heard saying that in his 20 years of cricketing related knowledge he had never experienced such an innings, or words to that effect. The notable thing in his remarks is that the 37-ball century by Shahid Afridi was obviously included.
Watching this particular match on TV was an experience in itself and one rather difficult to describe in words.
The Pakistan flag with its white crescent and star on a green background was looking more beautiful than ever before.
Most of the spectators in the stadium wore 'shalwar kameez', their national and formal attire, which further beautified the environment in the stadium. The bugles and slogans of Pakistan Zindabad, which I otherwise think as somewhat irritating, along with the sixes smashed by Razzaq were sounding melodious in my ears. The sound of his bat was like a musical instrument. And the last over of the match was breathtaking to view. It was not only important for the victory but his century was also at stake. Maybe Razzaq has nerves of steel. He accomplished both in some style.
I had nobody in my company to share my feelings at that time. I was looking for a big Pakistani flag, wrap it around my body and run around the streets of Copenhagen chanting 'Long Live Pakistan'. I did not even bother to stop my tears of joy. Thanks to Abdul Razzaq, for he made me a proud Pakistani again.
Abdul Razzaq is undoubtedly a history maker.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2010 Saeed Ahmed)