Chasing 261 against India, Misbah-ul-Haq didn’t panic. As the run-rate climbed, Misbah kept his cool and as wickets fell, he stood firm, maintaining an almost tangible air of lack-of-intent.
Dead-batting the ball again and again, Misbah sought to wear down the Indian attack to the extent that the match had almost gone for Pakistan before he leapt into action. Then, a man sensing his opportunity, he dead-batted some more.
Misbah wasn’t going to be put off by the fact that Pakistan needed eight or nine an over. He was in the zone. Only when the rate reached six runs a ball did he act, at which point he failed to score, surrendering the match.
It was majestic stuff. Fantastically admirable in its sheer wrong-headedness. Recognising that fact, the giant 28,000 crowd – a crowd that even Wolverhampton Wanderers would be proud of – put aside India’s victory in favour of a magnanimous standing ovation for that man Misbah.
Well played, Misbah. Well played.