World Cup 2011 Pakistan Cricket
Pakistan cricket and controversies are never far away from each other but as the team get set to play their first match of the 2011 World Cup against Kenya at Hambantota, they would be hoping for a ruckus-free tournament and ensure that all the focus remains only on the cricket. The recent bans handed out by the ICC to the three Pakistan cricketers should not be a cause for any distractions for the team, but the onus remains on the players to ensure that their concentration is completely on the game. Head to Head: Pakistan have played 5 ODIs against Kenya so far and have won all five games. This is also the first time that these two teams would be playing against each other in a World Cup. Build up to the game: Pakistan: Pakistan are always the unpredictables in any tournament, and it is no different this time as they look to start their World Cup campaign on a winning note. Their build up to the World Cup, similar to the earlier ones, has been of a roller-coaster nature, constantly surrounded by controversies. There was the ugly ball-biting incident involving Shahid Afridi during Pakistan's 0-5 ODI series loss to Australia in 2009/10. The spot-fixing controversy ruled the roost during the England tour and Pakistan lost the ODI series 2-3. Then there was Zulqarnain Haider's flight mid-way during the ODI series against South Africa in UAE which the Proteas won 3-2. There was controversy even with Pakistan's squad for the World Cup as the selectors named the 15-member team but kept in suspense till early February, the captain of the team. Even as Pakistan won the ODI series against New Zealand, there were rumours that there was a fight for captaincy going on between Misbah and Afridi. During the warm-up matches, the Pakistanis were again inconsistent. After a convincing 89 run win over Bangladesh in the first game, the Pakistan team failed to chase down England's 273, bowled out for 206. Among some notable performances during the warm-ups were those of Misbah ul Haq and Ahmed Shehzad, who scored fine hundreds against Bangladesh. Younis Khan too was in his elements when he scored a 80 against England in the second game. But the problem for Pakistan in that game was that the middle order failed to contribute and the team eventually fell short of the target. The bowlers too were good in the first game but did not live up to the expectations in the second. All that Pakistan would be hoping for is some consistent performances from their players throughout the tournament and build on from strength to strength. Kenya: While the ICC is all set to clip down the number of participating nations to 10 in the upcoming World Cups by leaving out the minnows, Kenya seemed to justify the governing body's take on the weaker nations. Their performance against the Kiwis in their opening World Cup match can only be described as dismal and listless. The African nation was bowled out for a mere 69 runs and New Zealand chased it down with utmost ease, requiring only 8 overs to reach the target without losing a single wicket. If they are to change ICC's notion on the minnows, the Kenyans must get their act together and come up with spirited shows in their remaining matches. They have an ideal opportunity to do so, going up against the tempermental Pakistan side. Pitch and Ground Conditions: Having witnessed the recently concluded Sri Lanka-Canada match, which was the first game to be hosted by the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium at Hambantota, one can say that the Pakistan and Kenyan sides can again expect a slow-turner. Although the Sri Lankans managed a total of 332 in their opening game at Hambantota, it was possible due to the contributions of Mahela and Sangakkara, who made light of the slow pitch with their show of expertise with the bat. As far as the weather conditions are concerned, sunny weather is on the forecast for Wednesday, which is a welcome sight for the fans who have seen rain belt down at this region on more than one occasion. Quotes: We all know that we have been through tough times in the recent past but that does not mean that we don't have talent. Despite the problems we are a good enough team to beat anybody. Nobody is even talking of match-fixing or spot-fixing, whatever it was: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, saying that the team is not bothered about the controversy which saw three players beging banned. The young boys were nervous. The two young lads who opened were a bit nervous but Collins Obuya was positive and we were gaining momentum but quick wickets in the middle set us back. In the next few games, we will express ourselves. The good thing is that this is done. It's out of the way: Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande, mentioning that the team will perform better in the upcoming games.
vote heree who ll win...........