Games & Sports

Clarke lead by example to clinch series

The acting Australian captain Michael Clarke led by example and his brilliant unbeaten century powered his team to an emphatic eight-wicket win in the fourth One-day International against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The victory in the fourth ODI also enabled the Aussies to clinch the series with a game to spare. They should be a relieved side now, after having been shaken in the first outing. They have taken their time to acclimatize and by the look of things they have done it much better than their opponents.

The Australians have lifted their game after the debacle in the opening fixture where a horrible batting collapse cost them the match. They were not all that convincing though in the following games but one could sense their key players taking the responsibilities.

Clarke, who has been entrusted with the task of leading the team in the absence of Ricky Ponting, has done a fantastic job. He couldn’t get going in the first game but he has applied himself and led by example.

It’s always very important for the captain to deliver. It’s more so when you are leading a young side. Clarke had to rise to the occasion to motivate his boys, the majority of whom lacked international experience.

bollinger-2 Australia were in dire straits even while chasing a modest target of 198 when Shoaib Akhtar removed Brad Haddin and Marcus North very early to make them three for two. The skipper walked in to join Shane Watson with his team under pressure once more. While Watson struggled to get on top of the bowling it was Clarke who made a statement by going hard at the loose balls. Their unbroken 197-run partnership for the third wicket closed all escape routes for Pakistan.

Clarke completed his well deserved century with an imperious drive off Shoaib Akhtar who looked ordinary in his last few overs. It was the best knock of the Australian skipper in the series in which he has delivered consistently. He looked in complete control while playing the aggressive shots and even Watson grew in confidence in the company of his captain.

Watson, although finished unbeaten on 85 off 140 balls, needs to improve his technique against the slow bowlers if he has to retain his place in the side for a long time. He will have to find a way out to tackle the spinners.

About the author

Syed Khalid Mahmood

Syed Khalid Mahmood has had passion for writing and sports for long. He joined the mainstream journalism in 1987 and his first book was published later the same year. After having studied at the famed institutions like Cadet College Petaro and Delhi College, he graduated in civil engineering from the prestigious NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi, in 1986.

He has earned greater fame and recognition in the field of media being acclaimed as a leading international sports and travel writer, having worked for some of the eminent newspapers like The Frontier Post and The News International besides a brief stint with The Mississauga News.

He has already authored 10 books viz Cricket Fever: A History of Pakistan-India Tours (2008); Mission Caribbean: A Guide to ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (2007); World Cup 2003: Top of the Charts (2005); Spotlight on World Cup 2003 (2005); World Cup 1999: So Near Yet So Far (2000); Pakistan’s Sports Greats (1997); Pakistan: The Land of World Champions (1995); Pakistan’s Triumph in World Cup 1992 (1993); The Caribbean Challenge: A History of Pakistan-West Indies matches (1989) and Focus on World Cup (1987 and 1994).

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