Win over Australia puts extra pressure on Pakistan

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi concedes the expectations on his squad have increased following Saturday’s momentous win over Australia, but so has confidence within the team.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 22 Mar 2011, 4:25 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:28 AM

Victory over the defending champions earned Pakistan top spot in Group A and a quarterfinal against West Indies on Wednesday, a game Afridi’s lineup is now expected to win.

“Yes, expectation is more now,” Afridi said Tuesday. “And we feel more confident now. That’s a good sign to win a big game before the quarterfinal and we all are very confident.”

West Indies comes into the match after ending the group phase with losses to England and India. Darren Sammy’s side does have the benefit of having played a match at Dhaka’s Sher-E-Bangla Stadium already — the nine-wicket win over Bangladesh — but Afridi does not believe that will be a factor in the quarterfinal.

“We’re not Bangladesh, this is Pakistan,” he said. “Every match is different. We played two games here (before the tournament). We know the pitch and how it will play.”

Pakistan was something of an unknown quantity coming into the tournament, especially after losing three players to long-term bans after the spot-fixing scandal in England last year.

However, the team made qualifying for the knockout stage look easy, losing only one match against New Zealand and beating Sri Lanka as well as Australia.

Pakistan now stands on the verge of a semifinal — possibly against rival India — and Afridi said the team’s performances aren’t down to luck.

“We really worked hard before this World Cup,” Afridi said. “I think we never worked as hard in our career. We had very good (training) camp sessions, we’ve been taking our practice sessions very seriously.

“The coaches have done a great job with the guys, especially with the fielding. There’s a lot of effort behind this.”

While West Indies has fitness worries over Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach, Afridi, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, said Pakistan is very unlikely to change its lineup.

“I think I’m happy with my winning combination at this stage,” he said. “You can’t change for a game like this.”

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