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Confident Pakistan take on struggling West Indies

A rampaging Pakistan go into the cricket World Cup quarterfinals against a struggling West Indies in Mirpur on Wednesday, hoping to continue their winning run and take a step closer to the coveted title.

cricket Updated: Mar 23, 2011 10:43 IST
PTI
Mirpur

A rampaging Pakistan go into the cricket World Cup quarterfinals against a struggling West Indies in Mirpur on Wednesday, hoping to continue their winning run and take a step closer to the coveted title.

Pakistan had a tumultuous build up to the World Cup with the team battling spot-fixing allegations but Shahid Afridi and his men have not allowed themselves to be distracted ny the scandal as they topped group-A with five wins in six outings.

Hugely talented but highly unpredictable, Pakistan started off with a bang before running into New Zealand's Ross Taylor who blew them away with a breath-taking century but Afridi's men quickly regrouped and finished the league stage with a comfortable four-wicket win over Australia.

Pakistan's clinical display in their last match not only earned them a victory but also broke four-time champions Australia's unbeaten streak of 34 World Cup matches and Afridi will hope for an encore on Wednesday.

For Pakistan, former captain Younis Khan has been the cog of their wheel, while Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal also chipped in nicely, scoring 192 and 211 runs at an average of 48 and 52.75.

Youngster Asad Shafiq also has shone in the two games he played in the World Cup averaging 124. But Pakistan's opening partnership has been a worry.

Both Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad have failed to give Pakistan a start, which has put undue pressure on the middle-order.

Afridi too has failed with the bat scoring just 65 runs in six games and the captain will hope to strike form in Wednesday's match.

The skipper, however, has been very effective with his leg-breaks and currently is the leading bowler in the tournament with 17 wickets. Swing bowler Umar Gul also has been among wickets taking 13 scalps.

The predicament for the 1992 champions would be Gul's pace partner. While Shoaib Aktar has not been at his best, Wahab Riaz have been expensive against Australia giving away 39 runs in six overs taking a wicket.

Afridi said beating Australia has boosted their confidence and they are now focused on their quarterfinal match against West Indies.

"We knew that beating Australia would be very important for us and this win has enhanced our image, sending a good signal to the cricket world that we can win despite our difficult situation," Afridi said.