Jade’s triple bluff

The ball was the perfect length to be sent into orbit.

If a batsman were to place the ball roughly in a spot where a lucky slog to the leg side would win him the game, he would have picked that exact location.

All Misbah-ul-Haq had to do was keep his shape (the commentators love that one now), clear his front leg, use fast hand speed and time the ball for Pakistan to win the match, and series.

Instead Misbah lost his shape, took his eye off the ball and seemed to be playing a different ball to the one that was delivered to him.

It means Misbah is a loser, and Jade Dernbach is a winner.

It takes amazing courage to bowl a back-of-the-hand slower ball for the last ball of the match when a six is required to win. Especially when earlier in the over you’ve bowled one that made you look like that guy in the nets who only bowls one ball before heading to fielding practice. Dernbach could have bowled a wide, a head high full toss or a long hop, all of which meant he may not have slid across the ground in 1980s dance movie style seconds later.

Dernbach had to know that Misbah would assume he’d try a slower ball. If you asked people what they knew about Dernbach for a Family Feud style show, the only response would be a slower ball, and the question would be edited out of the show.

With that in mind, then, Misbah would know that Dernbach would know that Misbah would be expecting the slower ball. So it’s actually possible that Misbah was anticipating the quicker ball.

The quicker ball does make sense. I doubt there were many English fans out there screaming, “come on, Jade, bowl the freakin’ slower ball on a good length now”. No, when people scream at the end of these matches they want yorkers, especially when a six is needed.

Still, Dernbach held strong, and double, or triple, bluffed Misbah, who could’ve only fallen over to make the dismissal look more complete.

The winner always looks better in this situation, but had Misbah not lost his shape and swung blindly, people would be saying that Dernbach was an idiot for bowling the exact same ball that now makes him the hero.

It’s a fine line between hero and that guy you abuse when you see him at the airport.

Not for Misbah though. Even if he hit a six off the last ball, people would abuse him for his slow strike-rate ensuring that he had to hit a six off the last ball to win.

Oh, that Misbah.

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