ICC World Cup 2015: England and Pakistan seek World Cup boost

 England and Pakistan will both look to revive their faltering World Cup campaigns on Sunday.

AFP| Updated: Mar 01, 2015, 06:25 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2015: England and Pakistan seek World Cup boost

Sydney: England and Pakistan will both look to revive their faltering World Cup campaigns on Sunday.

England`s opening two matches against co-hosts Australia and New Zealand yielded thumping defeats by 111 runs and eight wickets respectively.

They stopped the bleeding with a 119-run Pool A win over border rivals Scotland in Christchurch on Monday.

But beating a non-Test team is the least that`s expected of England, a point accepted by seamer Chris Woakes.

"It`s important that we do show up against the big teams," Woakes said. "Sri Lanka are a good side, so we know we`ve got to be on our game." 

Last week at Wellington`s Westpac Stadium, England were skittled out for just 123 by New Zealand, with Tim Southee taking seven for 33.

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum then struck the fastest-ever World Cup fifty, off 18 balls, as the Black Caps raced to their meagre target in 12.2 overs. 

"Obviously last time we were there it didn`t exactly go to plan," said Woakes, who escaped the battering with two wickets for eight runs in three overs.

"We were pretty poor...It would be good to get back there and show people what we can do."

Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, have also had a mixed start to the tournament, losing to New Zealand before defeating Afghanistan and Bangladesh, with veteran batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara both scoring hundreds against the Tigers.

But Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu warned England`s attack could pose problems should conditions in Wellington again favour swing bowlers.

"They have a fantastic seam bowling line-up," Atapattu said. "The format is such that we`ve got to guard against being complacent."Meanwhile Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq urged his side to follow the example of Imran Khan`s victorious team, who won the World Cup when the tournament was last staged in Australia and New Zealand 23 years ago.

Pakistan, engulfed by a series of on and off-field controversies, which saw eight squad members fined for breaking a curfew and chief selector Moin Khan sent home for visiting a casino, have lost both of their opening matches -- by 76 runs to India and 150 runs against the West Indies.

They are bottom of Pool B and defeat by Zimbabwe at Brisbane`s Gabba ground on Sunday will virtually condemn them to an early exit.

But Pakistan were also on the brink of bowing out in the first round before winning the 1992 World Cup under the leadership of inspirational all-rounder Imran.

"The important lesson is never give up," said Misbah.

"That`s what you need to do as a player and as a team. That`s what Imran Khan usually says about 1992. 

"Even when the team was in difficult times, they never gave up."

Zimbabwe will look to utilise the `inside knowledge` of coach Dav Whatmore, formerly in charge of Pakistan and the man behind Sri Lanka`s 1996 success.

But whether that will help them staunch the flow of runs Zimbabwe have conceded in their three games thus far at the tournament is an open question.

West Indies, on the back of Chris Gayle`s World Cup record double century, piled up 372 in their win over Zimbabwe and South Africa helped themselves to 339 as they defeated their African neighbours.

Even the amateurs of the UAE managed a respectable 285 in Zimbabwe`s lone pool win of this World Cup heading into Sunday`s match.

"We`re working hard on finishing off with the ball," said Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura.

"Obviously it was a big concern looking at the games that we`ve played and where we didn`t bowl well."