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Pakistan Look To Send Minnows Packing


Tournament hopefuls take on tournament minnows this afternoon in what promises to be a one-sided affair.

Canada has been well and truly thrashed in their two previous games here, and with a confident Pakistani contingent on the rise, this looks set to remain the case.

There is a lot at stake for Canada. Their performances, including a half-hearted surrender against Zimbabwe, have in the eyes of many, justified the ICC's decision to ‘trim the fat’ off of the next World Cup participant numbers.

Senior management back in Toronto might be rueing the decision to ignore some of the more senior members of the squad, instead opting for youth with five players from the Under-19 level.

Pakistan has surpassed all expectations in their first two games. Their middle order has come good early in the tournament. Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal have all been in the runs.

Shahid Afridi has starred with the ball, but is yet to set the tournament alight with his big hitting. Left arm spinner Abdur Rehman has picked up a leg injury which has ruled him out for this tie. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal should be his replacement.

Pakistan, eyeing a third straight win, would want a performance as dominating as the one against Kenya, but it remains to be seen whether they will be willing to tweak their combinations.

Canada’s senior representatives in the form of Ashish Bagai and John Davison, have failed to step up, and will have to do so this afternoon.

Canada (possible): 1 John Davison, 2 Nitish Kumar, 3 Ruvindu Gunasekera, 4 Ashish Bagai, 5 Rizwan Cheema, 6 Zubin Surkari, 7 Jimmy Hansra, 8 Tyson Gordon, 9 Khurram Chohan, 10 Harvir Baidwan, 11 Balaji Rao.

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

For Pakistan keep an eye out for Mohammad Hafeez. Hafeez has beena reliable opener for Pakistan since the start of last year, but has often been dismissed after getting his eye in at the crease. He is a gifted player when taking into account timing and the ability to bat out an innings, and will be eyeing this game as a great opportunity to rack up some runs.

The Canadian XI will be looking to John Davison to provide some of the magic that they know he is capable of. He has the unenviable record of having scored two ducks in the tournament so far. With so much responsibility on his shoulders, Davison needs to set an example at the top.

Matters would not have been helped much by Davison’s comments earlier in the week. He said: "Personally for me, it's more of a mental game. I am 40 years old and probably have those self-doubts... do I have the ability to perform at this level?"

Pakistan will win this at a canter; however it really is time for Canada to show that they are deserved of a place at a tournament of this stature.

Interesting Statistic:  The Canadian squad features three Pakistan-born players.


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