WC 2003 - Tough job: Waqar promises to make most of Aussie gift

Published: Monday, March 3, 2003, 20:34 [IST]
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Pakistan captain Waqar Younis goads his beleaguered fast bowler Akhtar to give off his bestBulawayo (Zimbabwe): Waqar Younis on Monday vowed not to let a favour done by defending champion Australia go to waste as Pakistan makes a last-ditch effort to stay afloat in the World Cup.Australia's last-over win over England at Port Elizabeth on Sunday threw a lifeline to Pakistan, which must now defeat Zimbabwe by a very big margin on Tuesday to sneak into the Super Sixes.If England had won, Pakistan would have been knocked out even before taking the field at the Queens Sports Club, and Waqar was grateful to the Australians for showing them the light."Relief is hardly the word," Waqar said after Ricky Ponting's men overcame England by two wickets to spare thanks to a 73-run stand for the ninth wicket between Michael Beven and Andy Bichel."It has left the door open for us and we must go through it.

Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel in particular have done us a big favour."Now we must work even harder given this chance. It might have been meaningless to train hard but now we can see it as well worth the while. There is a lot more work to do now, not least to get the disappointment of our defeat by India out of our systems."The entire Pakistan team watched the closing stages of the Australia-England game on television and the players leaped out of their chairs in relief when Australia won with two balls to spare.None cared that Zimbabwe only needs a simple win on Tuesday to qualify against a dispirited Pakistani side still recovering from a six-wicket defeat against arch rival India on Saturday.

If Zimbabwe does not win, it can still knock Pakistan out of the competition by giving it a close fight. In that case England will join Australia and India in the Super Sixes.Pakistan faces a huge task to win well and take its net run rate beyond England's.According to official calculations, Pakistan must win in 13.2 overs if it bowls Zimbabwe out for 200.If Pakistan bats first and scores 250, it must dismiss Zimbabwe for 62 or less.But Pakistani coach Richard Pybus insisted his team would fight all the way."They've pulled themselves together after losing to India and they know they can still make it if they play flat out. They will."Pybus said Pakistan might make "one or two" changes to the side that lost to India, but did not elaborate.

Zimbabwe will be bolstered by the return of all-rounder Grant Flower, who missed the last game at the Netherlands due to a finger injury.Either opening batsman Mark Vermeulen or spinner Doug Marillier will step aside to make way for Flower.There will probably still be no place for Henry Olonga, whose replacement in the side, Andy Blignaut, has had dazzling success with the bat.Olonga and Andy Flower, whose protest against "the death of Democracy in Zimbabwe" caused such a furore, practiced with the team and are therefore available for selection.

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