Dangerous. Unpredictable. West Indies. Pakistan. The first two words describe the second two teams, both of whom will clash in a potential cliffhanger as the tenth match of the ICC Cricket World Cup bowls of tonight (Saturday Australia/New Zealand) at the Hagley Oval.
Both teams are seeking their first win after suffering moral bashing opening round defeats against Ireland and India respectively.
It was a full training session for the West Indies yesterday afternoon and all players looked business-like and keen, as they chase a win that will either keep them in line for a place in the second round, or, see them spiralling further down and out of the tournament.
“We are ready to turn the corner and go ahead as far as we can in this world cup,” said left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, after the session.
“We have a very important and difficult game against Pakistan and we are looking forward to that. We got to take things into perspective. We got to see how good the pitches are and how small the outfields are”.
Benn was absent because iof a strained side on Monday when the West Indies aim failed to defend 304 against Ireland although the structure of the World Cup draw means that the Caribbean side is far from out of quarter-final contention.
A win over Pakistan would put their campaign back on track in Group B from which four teams will make the last eight.
“We are not hoping at the moment, we are just putting in some hard work .We are trying to build from strength to strength and go as far as we can,” said Benn
“Spinners have a part to play in any cricket game regardless of how the pitch is. You just have to be smart about what you are doing and use your variations and you should be ok.”
The 33 year old Bajan is playing in his second ICC Cricket World Cup.
“Once my team plays well and I do the basic well. We are going to be fine. It’s a team effort. We are going out there to executive our plan as best we can,” he said.
“We still have a day and a half to decide what the team plan would be but in the eventually I am playing I am good to go”.
The Pakistan, whose preparations were hampered by clashes with their Board are also looking to bounce back after losing to India by 76 runs.
Legendary left arm spinner Iqbal Qasim said legspinners duo of Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah can play crucial role in tonight’s match.
“Cricketers from the Caribbean Islands have always shown their traditional vulnerability against quality legspinners,” Qasim said.
“Afridi and Yasir Shah can capitalise that weakness if they bowled smartly. Remember Afridi bulldozed the West Indies batting in 2011 World Cup quarterfinals in Dhaka with four wickets haul”.
The last time the two times met was in the 1999 World Cup at Bristol, which remains the only occasion when Pakistan won in the battle between the two sides in World Cup history.
First ball is 6pm tonight Eastern Caribbean Time/5 pm Jamaica Time. (11 am Australian/New Zealand time)