Wed, Mar 23, 9:34am by Kevin Pitstock
Pakistan’s World Cup Campaign:
West Indies’ World Cup Campaign:
Umar Gul’s status as a world-class fast bowler has risen over this World Cup. The 26-year-old, who it feels like has been around for ages, has taken 13 wickets from his six matches, including a wonderful spell of 3/30 against the Aussies on Saturday. He doesn’t seem like it at first glance, but Gul is the leader of this Pakistani bowling attack and has recently been trusted with the new ball duties. His bowling in the last 10 overs is his biggest asset, and if he can use his great variation and an incredibly accurate yorker to his advantage, a semi-final spot awaits Pakistan.
He had been in and out for a few years, but Devon Smith seems to have finally cemented a spot in West Indies’ national team. The 29-year old has been his team’s highest scorer this World Cup, accumulating 293 runs at 48.83 from his six matches. Smith’s composed innings of 81 from 97 balls against tournament favourites India proved how much the opening batsman has matured over the past month. He welcomes back fellow opener Chris Gayle for this match, but a big innings from Smith might prove to be more important for the Windies.
Partly cloudy – maximum temperature of 31 degrees
With a little bit of grass on top of the surface and a humid Mirpur weather forecast, the fast bowlers should benefit greatly. However there should also be plenty of runs available once batsmen are set.
Like Pakistan Team:
Likely West Indies Team:
Besides a disappointing showing against New Zealand midway through the group stage, Pakistan’s World Cup campaign has been excellent to date. Two brilliant victories against Sri Lanka and, more recently, Australia elevated the Pakistani’s to the top of Group A and have made them genuine threats to win the tournament.
The biggest concern surrounding the Windies going into this tournament was the strong possibility they could miss out on a final eight spot because of silly losses to countries they should beat. But surprisingly, the Windies progressed through to the quarter-final stage quite comfortably. They defeated every team they should’ve beaten, but also fell short against everyone they should’ve lost to – nothing complicated.
This quarter-final could be the closest out of all four matches. Both teams have a sense of unpredictability about them, in that their best is frighteningly good but their worst is horrendous.
The Windies’ bowling attack has been superb throughout the tournament, but it’s time for the batsmen to make an impact – Gayle and Shiv Chanderpaul especially. Those two men are the most experienced batsmen in the line-up but haven’t stamped their authority on this tournament – yet. There is no better time for them to do that than tonight.
But Pakistan’s depth might be too much for West Indies. With Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq holding the middle order together and skipper Shahid Afridi bowling out of his skin, the Pakistani’s should be too good. Depending on whether they bat or bowl first, Pakistan should post a score of 300 or more, or restrict the Windies to under 250. That should set them up to complete a close win in the second innings.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
Pakistan ($1.50 – Sportsbet)
Other Suggested Bets:
Pakistan Most Wickets – Umar Gul ($3.75 – Sportingbet)
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