Cricket World Cup 2011

Pakistan skittles Windies

2011-03-23 13:46
Shahid Afridi (AP)

Dhaka - Pakistan's cricketers, dismissed as an undisciplined rabble before the Cricket World Cup, stood on the verge of the semi-finals on Wednesday thanks to inspirational skipper Shahid Afridi.

The charismatic captain took 4-30 as West Indies crumbled to an embarrassing 112 all out in the 44th over of their quarter-final in Dhaka.

Leg-spinner Afridi took his tournament tally to 21 while off-spinners Mohammad Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal chipped in with two wickets each as the West Indies collapsed after electing to bat at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

Veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the only batsman to defy the spinners with a grim 44 not out off 106 balls.

The West Indies were reduced to 71-8 before a 40-run stand between Kemar Roach and Chanderpaul helped the former champions surpass their lowest World Cup total of 93 against Kenya in Pune in 1996.

The West Indies never recovered from a disastrous start when they lost three top batsmen, Chris Gayle, Devon Smith and Darren Bravo, by the sixth over.

Victory in Dhaka could hand Afridi's men a mouth-watering semi-final against arch-rivals India, if the co-hosts beat Australia in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Hafeez, who dismissed Smith and Bravo, said he was delighted to have bowled with the new ball.

"The plan was made one day earlier that I have to bowl with the new ball," said Hafeez.

"There was not any pressure really. I had done this before so I was very comfortable. The team management made the plan and I had to go with it."

Besieged Australia captain Ricky Ponting will head into that match having denied on Wednesday that he plans to quit international cricket after the World Cup.

The 36-year-old, who has been under intense pressure since the Ashes defeat, as well as for his controversial behaviour at the tournament, said international retirement had never crossed his mind.

"There's been some stuff written about me retiring after the World Cup. That's completely false," said Ponting.

"I've never even thought about retiring. I'm enjoying my cricket as much as ever. Whatever you've read, don't worry too much about that."

India are sweating on the fitness of big-hitting opener Virender Sehwag for the quarter-final after he missed the group stage win over the West Indies when he suffered an allergic reaction to a painkilling injection in his right knee.

"We are taking a call on Viru in the evening or maybe tomorrow morning before the start of the game," said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. "Apart from that, all the others are fit."

Sehwag has scored 7,707 runs including 14 hundreds in 233 one-day internationals at an average of 35.35.

But he has never made a ODI hundred in 27 matches against Australia and he averages a modest 22.65 against the world champions.

If Sehwag is ruled out, India are set to retain Suresh Raina, brought in against the West Indies, and keep Test opener Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order to partner Sachin Tendulkar.

Sri Lanka also have an injury worry ahead of their quarter-final against England in Colombo on Saturday with star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan battling a hamstring injury.

The 38-year-old - who has a world record 530 one-day wickets - suffered the strain in the win over New Zealand and only had shortened nets on Wednesday.

But coach Trevor Bayliss said Muralitharan will play on Saturday.

"We are very confident that he will play and I think he's pretty confident too because he is a guy who's played through niggles in the past," said Bayliss.


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