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Pakistan Seek To Trounce Zimbabwe


Both Pakistan and Zimbabwe have everything to play for when the nations clash in Kandy on Monday.

For Pakistan, a win will ensure them of a quarter-final berth that has been richly deserved. Pakistan, bar the slip up against the Black Caps last week, has been clinical so far this tournament.

They have strongly relied on the likes of middle-order batsmen Misbah and Umar Akmal, and will be looking for the top order to come right here.

The wave of optimism surrounding Zimbabwean cricket in the lead-up to the tournament has been dashed by a series of heavy defeats.

Zimbabwewill know that if they play to their ability, they are capable of an upset and will take heart from the manner in which Canada and New Zealand easily removed several of Pakistan's top order.

A win here for the African’s would give the team a great chance of progression, given the fact they face Kenya in their last group tie.

If Umar Akmal misses out here following a lacklustre performance against New Zealand, there is a likely recall for Asad Shafiq while Ahmed Shehzad can expect to hold his place despite making 36 runs from his four outings thus far.

The men in green will be well aware that a loss here would not help their chances of progression as they play Australia in their last match.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Asad Shafiq/ Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Umar Gul.

Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Brendan Taylor, 2 Regis Chakabva, 3 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 4 Craig Ervine, 5 Elton Chigumbura (capt), 6 Charles Coventry, 7 Greg Lamb, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Graeme Cremer, 10 Ray Price, 11 Chris Mpofu.

The Zimbabwean top-order really needs to be on song at the capital tomorrow.

Brendan Taylor finally found some momentum in his last innings. He is currently sitting on 140 runs at an average of 35.00, and is the pick of the Zimbabwean batsmen leading into this fixture.

He will need support from the likes of Taibu and Ervine to post a competitive total.

For Pakistan, Shahid Afridi will be looking register a big score here. Afridi, commonly known as a batting all-rounder has 15 wickets in four matches but has struggled with the bat. He will view this chance against a minnow team as an opportunity to finally dig himself out of his scoring rut.

If the Pakistan order is to perform to its full potential, this will put the pressure back on the Zimbabwe batting order, where there have been too few contributors this World Cup.

Pallekelle has not matched Bangalore for high-scoring affairs with the pitch proving more difficult for the team batting second under lights.

Pakistan should win this at a canter, however with everything to play for- Zimbabwe might just unleash the performance that everyone knows they are capable of. 

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