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Waqar asks openers to start performing

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2011 18:57 IST

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Pakistan coach Waqar Younis on Saturday asked his out-of-form openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad to shape up and start performing in the World Cup.

"We have to show real improvement in our batting, especially our openers who have not done well," Waqar told reporters here.

"Both openers know they have not fired yet, but I'm not worried because there is no problem with their techniques, they were in good form coming into the World Cup, so I am sure they will come good soon," he added.

Pakistan survived a scare against minnows Canada when they were bowled out for a paltry 184. But they hit back with the ball, snatching a 46-run win with skipper Shahid Afridi taking five wickets.

Pakistan have won all three of their matches so far but their openers Hafeez and Shahzad managed partnerships of just 11, 28 and 16.

Waqar was happy that despite being under pressure the middle-order has delivered so far but he hoped that after their batting failure against Canada, other batsmen will take more responsibility.

"I think since Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal and Younis Khan were making runs there was not much pressure but I am sure now after a poor batting show, others will also take responsibility. We need good starts," said Waqar ahead of their match against New Zealand on Tuesday.

"We have batted first in all our three matches, so it would be a great test of our batsmen when we chase a target because that adds to the pressure," he added.

Waqar has no problems with the Pakistan bowling attack but admitted that defending 185 against tougher oppositions would have been difficult.

"Our bowling is doing well and is supporting the batting, but we would have had a serious problem defending a 185-run target against stronger opposition," he said.

Afridi has been the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan, claiming 14 wickets in three matches, including two five-wicket hauls and a four-wicket haul, and Waqar said with the skipper in form, they can defend any total.

"When Canada were batting well, I was sure that if we got one or two wickets then the gates would open and the way Afridi bowls I'm sure we can defend any good target," said Waqar.

Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman has also recovered from his leg muscle injury and would be available for selections for the next match, informed team manager Intikhab Alam.

Rehman had missed the Canada match because of a leg muscle injury.