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WI-Pakistan tie to kick off WC '07

Windies and Pakistan launch the 9th World Cup today at Sabina Park with both seeking to emulate former glories

cricket Updated: Apr 02, 2007 17:09 IST

West Indies and Pakistan launch the ninth World Cup later on Tuesday at Sabina Park with both seeking to emulate former glories.

West Indies won the first two tournaments in 1975 and 1979 and were runners-up in 1983 - all under Clive Lloyd's captaincy - but have struggled since. Pakistan won in 1992 under Imran Khan.

The latest edition sees two of world cricket's most experienced players go head to head. West Indies skipper Brian Lara and opposite number Inzamam-ul-Haq made their World Cup debuts in 1992.

This opening clash is meaningful in that the winner is likely to carry the points into the next Super Eights stage, should the loser also qualify from Group D as expected.

Lara will try to emulate the way he began the last World Cup in South Africa when he scored a century in Cape Town when West Indies played the first match there against the hosts.

That day Lara's masterful 116 was enough to claim the man-of-the match award and lift his side to a memorable three-run victory.

Inzamam, in contrast, scored just 19 runs in the whole tournament in South Africa, from six innings. He considers that experience the most embarrassing of his career.

The teams practised on Monday at nearby club Kensington as the net facilities were not ready for use at Sabina Park.

Elsewhere champions Australia will practise at Warner Park in the centre of Basseterre, St Kitts, on Tuesday morning before their opening match against Scotland on the following day.

Opener Matthew Hayden, who broke his right toe in the final one-day international against New Zealand last month is set to return to the side while all-rounder Andrew Symonds continues his recovery programme from a torn right bicep muscle.

Symonds hopes to be available for the key Group A match against South Africa on March 24.

The Australians won both their warm-up matches and have set their sights on emulating the 2003 team who went through the tournament unbeaten.

Scotland, who follow the Australians into the nets, will be relying on the experience of Dougie Brown, who played nine one-day internationals for England, and Gavin Hamilton, who scored two half-centuries at the 1999 World Cup.

(Additional reporting by John Mehaffey in Basseterre, St Kitts)

First Published: Mar 13, 2007 18:16 IST