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Pak hope to avoid curse of the Irish

cricket Updated: Mar 17, 2007 00:59 IST

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Pakistan may have to think twice about taking Ireland lightly when the two sides meet in their World Cup Group D match on Saturday at Sabina Park.

After losing the opener to the hosts West Indies on Tuesday, Pakistan need to win this match and their final contest against Zimbabwe on Wednesday to guarantee a place in the Super Eights. They may have considered the Irish pushovers, but the ICC Associate side showed great fighting qualities to tie their opening match with Zimbabwe on Thursday.

“Our game against Ireland will be a tough one as they have proved that they are one of the best equipped of the Associate sides and are very keen and well-organised,” said Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer who has refused to panic over the opening loss to West Indies.

“The opening match was the type of game we can expect from all the sides here.

Woolmer admitted that Pakistan’s batting was disappointing against the West Indies. “But it’s too early to talk about being in tight corners. Let’s make sure we remain positive for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

Pakistan are considering opening the batting with Kamran Akmal allowing Mohammad Hafeez to drop down the order. Mohammad Sami may also take the place of Rana Naved-ul-Hasan in the starting XI.

Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, the perfect platform for Trent Johnston and his side to cause an upset. Johnston believes his side can compete and even upset Pakistan if they can improve on their performance against Zimbabwe.

“If we bowl well up front against Pakistan, and if we bat well, we could be competitive,” he said.

“We will get out there and give it everything that we’ve got. If we’re going to beat Pakistan we’ll have to play out of our skins, and give it 120 per cent.

“We’re going to get out there and fight hard. Who knows what is possible? We beat the West Indies a few years ago, so anything is possible in sports. We have to play for 100 overs if we’re going to beat Pakistan and do the same against West Indies. We will have to bring our A-game to all three disciplines.”

The last time Pakistan played an ICC Associate side in a World Cup match, they beat Namibia by 171 runs, and Wasim Akram collected five wickets for 28 runs.