ICC World Cup 2011: Pakistan vs. West Indies - Let the Knockouts Begin
It’s all happening right here, in South Asia. Pakistan beat Australia to go to the top of Group A while, on the other hand, West Indies lost to India to go to the bottom of the Group B. Pakistan have stunned the world audience. A team, amid severe controversy due to spot fixing of three of its top international players, has united under the banner of her dynamic Captain, Shahid Khan Afridi. The Pakistani team will face the two time World Cup winners, West Indies, in the first Knockout match, the Quarter Final, on 23rd March, 2011. The match will be played in Dhaka.
Talking about the condition of the Pakistani team, they have had a turbulent tournament. They won easily against the minnows, Kenya in their opening game. Impressing the crowd against the match against Sri Lanka, they fumbled against the Canadians. They won eventually, but not without its woes. The match could have been won quite easily, but due to poor batting, it turned into a fright for Pakistan. They avoided a defeat, much to their relief, as they wouldn’t have forgotten their loss against Ireland in the last edition of this tournament.
Then came probably the worst match so far for the men in Green. They suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Kiwis. After giving away more than 100 runs in the last five overs, the Pakistani batting line-up collapsed and they just managed 192 runs on board. It was the low point for them. Still, with the victory of the three matches behind them and with an energetic captain, Pakistan came back and defeated the African team, Zimbabwe to come back to spotlight. Their next match was going to be the most important and the difficult one. It was against the last three winners of the World Cup, the team from Down Under, Australia. But the Pakis kept a cool head and defeated the Australians; their first defeat in World Cups for a long run of 34 games. Hence, Pakistan topped the Group A with five victories in the allotted six games.
The story is different at the other side of the mirror. West Indies are last in their Group. They have won 3 matches out of six. They performance has, by and large, been a ride of a see saw. Under the captaincy of Sammy, they haven’t shown much prospect, except that they have put themselves in winning positions, and then let the game out of their hands. Their start against the Proteas was disappointing. They lost by seven wickets. They won the next three matches but they were all against minnows like Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands. After that, they lost their last two matches against England and India to be slumped to the bottom of the Group. Now, both the teams face each other. They haven’t played against each other in the World Cup since Pakistan’s victory over the Team from Caribbean back in 1999.
The Pakistan team has got morale on their side. With victories against the hosts and four time World Champions, they are brimming with confidence. After missing out the last two games of the group stage, Shoaib Akhtar is all set to make a comeback. But the key would be spin bowling. Pakistan, unarguably, has one of the best spin attacks of this World Cup and they would be relying on their slow bowlers to grant them victory in this important match. For the Windies, they have to rely on the slugging of Gayle and the steadfast batting of Chanderpaul if they want to win the match, including a solid backing by former captain Sarwan.
Cricket, being a highly unpredictable game, and Pakistan being one of the most unpredictable teams in the history of the game, this match is poised to be a good watch, and Pakistan would be looking to appease their fans on the day that history remembers as “Pakistan Day”.