Pakistan likely to stick with winning combination | Pakistan Today

Pakistan likely to stick with winning combination

DHAKA – Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi indicated on Tuesday he would retain the side who defeated Australia in the World Cup group stages for Wednesday’s quarter-final against West Indies.
Pakistan took the field for the Australia match without fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and opened the bowling with left-armer Abdur Rehman as the defending champions were beaten for the first time at a World Cup since 1999. “We want to go with the winning combination. We will see, but I think we are happy with this winning combination,” Afridi told a news conference.
Afridi said the victory over Australia had given the 1992 champions a welcome confidence boost before the knockout stages. “We worked hard before this World Cup. We are taking the practice sessions very seriously,” he said. “I think we are feeling more confident now, it’s a good sign before the quarter-final.” Afridi paid tribute to his bowlers, signalling out pace bowler Umar Gul for particular praise.
“He was struggling a little bit with his ankle before but I think he is 100 percent fit,” Afridi said. “He is doing a great job with the ball, especially with the new ball.”
TRIAL BY SPIN: Afridi has led from the front throughout the group stages, taking five wickets twice with his quick wrist-spin and heading the wicket-taking list with 17 victims. “I am just trying to bowl wicket to wicket,” he said.
“The conditions are very good especially for the spinners so I am not trying any experiments. Whatever the plan I make I try to stick with it.” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his team were looking forward to returning to the ground where they defeated in Bangladesh in the group stages in a match which effectively ensured they reached the knockout stages. He said his two key players Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach were ready to return to the side after missing the final group game against India.
“Both Gayle and Roach participated in our practice today. Roach bowled and Gayle batted and I liked the way they looked, so obviously everybody is in good spirits,” he said. “I know we will come out with the best combination to go out there and win us the quarter-final.” Sammy said West Indies expected a trial by spin. “Their captain has been the leading wicket taker in the tournament with 17 wickets,” he said.
“I think we should pay attention to that, They have two off-spinners and a left-arm spinner, we watched them play, we know what we are going to face.”
He said the team had no problem returning to the city where the team bus had been stoned by angry Bangladesh fans who thought the vehicle contained their team. “Since we have been back here we felt loved by the people,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate what happened but we left that behind us. We know Bangladesh people are loving people. They support the cricket, no doubt tomorrow will be an exciting game and hopefully West Indies will come out on the victorious end. “We played here and it was a perfect demonstration of a plan being executed. We will be taking confidence from that and looking to put in a good performance.”

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