March 22, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011 - Quarter Finals 1: Pakistan Vs West Indies

   Finally, the suspense ends the quarter finals are set to start and game 1 see's two time former world champions West Indies face off with the former world champions Pakistan. Easily a mouth watering clash considering the history between the two sides.With both teams possessing players who have the caliber to win matches on their own potential, it will be one contest even neutral fans will look forward to.

West Indies Report :
   Windies have been branded the "Minnow Slayers" this world cup. They thrashed them and stamped their authority, which luckily helped get through to semis over hosts Bangladesh. The only test playing team they managed to beat in the league stage. The reason I am saying this is, Pakistan can be worse than 'minnows' some days and if that happens tomorrow, Windies will have a feast. Jokes apart, Windies have been close to winning their last two matches . They bowled well to restrict their opponents to a low total. Their batting is solely dependent on their top order. None of them seem to stand up from the middle order excepting a few strokes of genius from Darren Lara Bravo. A lot more is expected from the likes of Sarwan, Pollard and their 'once upon a time anchor' Chanders (if he plays). The return of Gayle and Roach should give them a boost. Pakistan's batting has been their weak link too. They have struggled against quality bowling. You never know what to expect from their team. Infact , the players themselves aren't aware. Windies should somehow send the news that its the birthday of their top 5 batsmen. This is the 'CHEATCODE'  to activate the Jumping Monkey aka Kamran Akmal.  Windies have the potential to beat Pakistan. They just need get everything intact and play normally instead of screwing up things themselves. 

Pakistan Report :
   On paper easily Pakistan have the edge, the edge is so big that you could have Shoaib Akhtar mark his run up on it. Pakistani outfit would definitely believe this to be a walk in the park. Considering, there is no real opposition in this Windies outfit. Windies lost all their games to the teams that have qualified in the quarters from Group B. Afridi's boys have gone from strength to strength topping the list in Group A. Their bowling has looked solid. Except for one wild innings from Ross Taylor, every other time bowlers have delivered for Afridi and he has been the most boisterous, picking 17 wickets so far, leading the wickets tally in the tournament. Batting has really been a mixed bag, you never know what to get from the Stanis on a given day. Clearly, bowling is going to be their strength once again. Not much to fear from the opposition. Chris Gayle is more like a self-timed bomb, more often blowing up his own game(avg 32 vs Pak). Kieron Pollard another Gayle clone, only batting lower down the order. Middle order has time and again collapsed as seen in the games vs England and India respectively. Playing Benn, Bishoo/Miller will not be a pre-match concern for batsmen bred in these conditions. Umar Akmal has been playing the finishers role and will look to continue to deliver for his captain.

Watch out for:
  • Gayle Vs Afridi
  • Benn Vs Akmal(s)
  • Pollard Vs Gul

   Playing in Dhaka, Windies will have fresh memories of thrashing the home team and then facing the wrath of the crowd. Pakistan will be the front-runners, playing in not so new conditions and with momentum behind them. But, if both the team look to play cricket for 100 overs we may witness yet another run-feast and the teams need to compromise with what they get. Everybody is looking forward to the first game of the quarter-finals and expect no less than a cracker of a contest.

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