Pak keen to start with a bang against Kenya
Keen to re-establish their reputation dented by the spot-fixing scandal, unpredictable Pakistan will look to launch their cricket World Cup campaign on a rousing note when they take on minnows tomorrow.cricket Updated: Feb 22, 2011 20:03 IST
Keen to re-establish their reputation dented by the spot-fixing scandal, unpredictable Pakistan will look to launch their cricket World Cup campaign on a rousing note when they take on minnows on Wednesday.
Having suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ireland, which eventually resulted in their first round ouster the 2007 edition, Pakistan would be wary of taking their opponents lightly this time around.
In fact, captain Shahid Afridi has already warned his team to take every opponent seriously.
"There have been so many upsets in the World Cup in the past, like the one against Ireland four years ago. So we have that in mind and we will be on our toes in every match, be it Kenya or Sri Lanka," said Afridi.
Going into the match, Pakistan would take heart from their recent 3-2 ODI series victory over New Zealand in New Zealand just before the World Cup.
And even though they had mixed fortunes in the their two warm-up games -- a win against Bangladesh and a defeat against England, Pakistan are well aware that if they play as a unit, they have enough firepower to go a long distance in the tournament.
Pakistan's batting consisting of the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, former captain Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Akmal brothers -- Kamran and Umar, has the reputation of creating quite a flutter in the opposition camp.
In the absence of their banned opener Salman Butt, Pakistan would be banking on Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad in the opening slot, followed by the more experienced middle-order.
Veteran Younis Khan is expected to bring in stability with all his experience of playing international cricket, followed by Test skipper and in-form Misbah and the two Akmals.
And with captain Shahid Afridi and allrounder Abdul Razzaq coming down the order, Pakistan should not have any trouble blowing the Kenyans away in their inaugural match.
As far as bowling department is concerned, Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul would be looking to go for the kill from the very first ball. This match will also give both the pacemen an opportunity to get back to their peak form.
Even Saeed Ajmal would get a chance to experiment with his doosra before his team face bigger names during the course of the tournament. Allrounder Afridi's fast-wrist spin is also expected to come in handy against the African nation.