Wednesday, March 23, 2011

World Cup 2011 .... Pakistan vs West Indies - preview !!!

Today is going to be a match between the two most unpredictable teams in the quarterfinal line ups....Pakistan vs West Indies.

Pakistan arrived for the world Cup on the backdrop of match fixing scandals, where three of their key players were slapped a ban by the ICC. To add to this was the Captain controversy. The country, itself has been strife with politics, terrorism imbroglio of late. Despite all of this, the team oozes with talent & confidence. On their day, they can probably maul the best team on earth with ridiculous ease. Under Afridi, the team has been combining well & have surprised a lot of cricketing pundits by achieving the top slot of Group A, beating the mighty Aussies & favourite Sri Lankans.  Their only loss was to New Zealand, where they just crumbled in the run chase. In batting, Pakistan has looked a little vulnerable & indecisive. It revolves around the Akmal brothers, Younis Khan & Misbah, & though there have been glimpses of brilliance, none of them have shown consistency as yet to gain confidence. However in bowling, Pakistan has a wonderful combination. Umar Gul along with Shoaib & Razzak in pace & then Afridi & Hafeez with spin looks a potent unit. Afridi has been a revelation with his bowling, being the leading wicket taker of the tournament thus far. If they manage to win this match, they would be supremely confident to go the distance.

On the other hand, the Windies have been blow hot & blow cold. They pulled out incredible defeats against England & India from nowhere. Any other team would have laughed their way to victory, & yet the Windies just crumpled. The batting is far too dependent on the outcome of Gayle & Pollard. However, they have good batting talent in Darren Bravo, a la Lara reminisce & Devon Smith, along with the experience of Chanderpaul & Sarwan. Bowling looks good with Roach, Rampaul, Russell in pace & Benn and Bishoo in spin. They need to believe in their capabilities & demonstrate that intensity on field. They would need to play out of their skin to defeat the mercurial Pakistanis.

In my assessment, if Windies bat first & put up a total in access of 260 runs, they should be able to put pressure on Pakistan & have a good chance of winning. However, this would mean Gayle has to bat long & Pollard has to do a final assault, while Bravo & Williams need to hold the innings together. If they fail to do so, Pakistan would walk away with the match. They have too much of arsenal in their kitty to prevail.

I feel its a 65:35 in favour of Pakistan for this match.