We’re not generally in favour of hackneyed caricatures, but we’ll make one exception: Pakistan the unpredictable.
Pakistan’s cricket team are generally portrayed as equal parts genius and slapstick and with a capacity for self-destruction unrivalled even by Slash. (“I was pissed off at myself for having died. It really ate into my day off.”)
Yesterday was what we would consider a fairly typical Pakistan one-day performance. They lost two of their top three for ducks and were later 75-4. Pakistan have always had a freewheeling sort of lower order though. Shahid Afridi promptly lofted three deliveries into the farther reaches of the Milky Way on his way to 70 off 50 balls; Kamran Akmal hit 67 off 43; and Abdul Razzaq hit 26 off 20. Pakistan then bowled out New Zealand for 149.
The beauty of Pakistan is that you don’t know that they’re going to do this. Although it seems fairly typical, there’s also a good chance they could crumple like a paper cagoule.
Pakistan can actually make even formulaic, overplayed one-day cricket exciting. For once you actually have to watch the match to know what’s going to happen.