Paarl: Captain Waqar Younis may have missed the 1992 World Cup because of injury but he hopes to use Pakistan's triumph that year as inspiration to rescue his team's faltering 2003 campaign. Pakistan plays The Netherlands at Boland Park on Tuesday, knowing it needs to win its remaining three pool 'A' matches to reach the Super Six phase of the World Cup. After defeats against Australia and England, Pakistan is languishing in fifth place in its pool, with Australia, England and India all two wins ahead of them.
After the Dutch match, Pakistan has to play India at Centurion on Saturday and Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on March 4. "All these three games are crucial," said Waqar. "It's a World Cup. In 1992 we lost the three of the first five games and we came back to win." Eleven years ago, Pakistan was lucky to escape a fourth defeat when it was bowled out for 74 by England and achieved a no-result because of rain.
Skipper Imran Khan famously exhorted his players to "attack, attack, attack" and they won three successive matches to scrape into the semi-finals, then won twice more to lift the trophy after the final against England in Melbourne. Asked whether he could emulate Imran, Waqar admitted, "I don't know how he did it because I wasn't there but I'm going to give it my best shot." What is certain is that the Dutch can expect no mercy on the ground where Canada was bowled out for a world record low of 36 by Sri Lanka last Wednesday.
Waqar admitted that the team's batting had been disappointing but cautioned that major changes were unlikely. "We don't have much choice. We have 15 here and they are the best we've got. They are all playing reasonably well although Inzy (Inzamam-ul-Haq) is lacking a bit of form." Inzamam, who went to the 1992 World Cup as an unheralded 21-year-old and emerged as one of Pakistan's stars after a match-winning 60 off 37 balls in the semi-final against New Zealand, has been dismissed for 6, 4 and 0 in the 2003 tournament.
The Dutch part-timers do not pose a major threat but they put up spirited performances in their defeats against India, England and Australia. All-rounder Tim de Leede has been their star performer, taking four for 35 against India in Paarl, top-scoring with 58 not out against England and taking two for 34 against Australia. Copyright AFP 2001