Thursday, February 24, 2011

World Cup: As crowds throng for tickets, cops cane them

2011-02-24, HAMBANTOTA:

Pakistan put a host of problems behind them to launch their World Cup with a 205-win over Kenya but they are not without some still to solve ahead of their next far bigger test against hosts Sri Lanka.

Wednesday\'s victory against the hapless Africans who helped Pakistan on their way with an extraordinarily generous donation of 46 extras to their final total of 317/7 showed that captain Shahid Afridi will be a real menace with ball as well as bat.

His return of five wickets for just 16 runs was the best return by a skipper at a World Cup. Pakistan too will be buoyed by the display of middle and late order hitting which propelled them to a mighty total.

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However, both Pakistan openers failed and Afridi was clear later that they will have to do better, starting on Saturday against the Sri Lankans in Colombo in Group A.

Ahmed Shehzad was dismissed for one and his partner Mohammad Hafeez made nine before Pakistan, who have been plagued by a 2010 player corruption scandal and security worries at home, were able to stage their recovery.

\"That was not really a good start. I think in the next game they will change their batting style -- it was easy to bat, especially early in the innings,\" said Afridi.

\"They took time but they did not deliver. I hope they will perform in the next game.\"

Otherwise the rest of the Pakistan batting showed pleasing form with four of their middle order batsmen crossing the 50-run mark.

There is still work to do with their bowling attack, however, especially their pacemen headed by firebrand Shoaib Akhtar. Neither he nor Abdul Razzaq could muster a wicket between them against the Kenyans.

Afridi hopes openers will not repeat mistakes

They were put in the shade by Afridi against a Kenyan line-up which had mustered just 69 the previous Sunday against New Zealand, whose own quickies ripped easily through their order.

A confident and powerful battalion of Sri Lankan batsmen would be far more ruthless on Pakistan waywardness, especially on their capital\'s easy-paced pitch.

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