CRICKET fans will have their eyes glued to tonight’s World Cup Pool B fixture between the West Indies and Pakistan, with both sides needing to win after succumbing to a defeat in their respective opening games.
The Windies recovered from 87-5 to post a respectable 304-7, courtesy of Lendl Simmons (102) and Darren Sammy (89), against Ireland. However, the minnows were undaunted, rising to the challenge and recording a surprise win.
Pakistan began their World Cup bid against arch-rivals India in Adelaide last Sunday. To the disappointment of the nation, it was Virat Kohli who stole the show with a sublime 107 as India posted an insurmountable 300. Despite valiant efforts from Ahmed Shehzad (47) and Misbah-ul-Haz (76), the 1992 winners couldn’t deal with Mohammed Shami who scooped up 4-35.
Pakistan are ranked a place (7th) above the Windies and start as favourites. Sporting Index has Pakistan/West Indies trading at 12-22 and it’s clear that the Green shirts have the recent edge after winning three, drawing one and losing only one of the last five head-to-heads.
Furthermore, the majority of the Pakistan set-up will have fond memories of the last time they took on Chris Gayle and Co. in the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Shahid Afridi inspired his side to a 10-wicket victory, recording figures of 4-30. The West Indies were rolled over for 112 – their third lowest score in World Cup history.
The Windies will have taken notice of Pakistan’s right-arm fast bowler Sohail Khan who bagged 5-55 against India. His victims included four of their top five. Khan has already picked up 65 wickets in just nine domestic matches this season, including eight five-wicket hauls. The 30 year-old can bowl lethal yorkers and his Performance Index is worth a buy at 50 as a result.
Both Pakistan and the West Indies have shown frailties in their batting, yet it’s difficult to see how Jason Holder in particular can guide his side out of this sticky patch. At just 23, the 6ft7in bowler should be concentrating on his own game rather than being lumbered with the captaincy, but such is the state of West Indian cricket at the moment. A buy of Pakistan’s supremacy at 22 is readily advised.
Buy Pakistan Supremacy at 22 with Sporting Index
Buy Sohail Performance at 50 with Sporting Index