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Pakistan banking on pace of Akhtar

Inzamam-ul-Haq is banking on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to play a decisive role in the one-day series against South Africa.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2003 20:24 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is banking on fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar to play a decisive role in the one-day series against South Africa.

"I think Shoaib will be the difference between the two sides. He has been playing regularly in England and is in match-form. We know he can be a real match-winner on his day," Inzamam said on Thursday before Friday's first game.

"Bowling is our strength and we have match-winning pacers and spinners. But we know we will have to play really well to beat South Africa," he added.

The 28-year old Akhtar has taken 142 wickets in 87 one-dayers and in his last appearance for Pakistan in the second test against Bangladesh he returned match figures of 10 for 90.

South African skipper Graeme Smith conceded that Pakistan's new-ball attack of Akhtar and Mohammad Sami was a potent one.

"Both are quality bowlers with genuine pace but it will also get our adrenalin flowing," he said.

South Africa arrived in Lahore on Tuesday after initially cancelling the tour following a bomb blast in Karachi. They agreed to tour only after the hosts dropped Karachi and Peshawar from the curtailed itinerary.

Pakistan coach Javed Miandad has appealed to the Pakistan fans to be on their best behaviour. "We must let the South Africans know that we truly love our cricket and they have nothing to worry about," he said.

Officials have made arrangements to combat heavy dew. "We have all the back-up like super-sooper machines and other things to take care of the dew in case it gets heavy and makes conditions difficult," said cricket board spokesman Samiul Hasan.

First Published: Oct 02, 2003 19:56 IST