Race for final four begins with WI-Pak duel

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2011, 09:33 AM IST

Mumbai: Players who can transform a game with bat or ball through vintage Caribbean brilliance represent West Indies` best opportunity of upsetting Pakistan in Wednesday`s opening World Cup quarter-final in Dhaka.

Pakistan bring skilled spinners, experience and a rare victory over defending champions Australia to Bangladesh at a tournament set to increasingly favour the sub-continental contenders as the temperatures soar.

To combat the pre-match favourites, West Indies plan to recall Chris Gayle and Kemar Roach after injury and illness while the obdurate Shivnarine Chanderpaul is expected to return to the middle order.

Gayle can make a mockery of any bowling attack with his reach and his power while Roach is fast and hostile in the best traditions of the great Barbados fast bowlers.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy told reporters on Tuesday that West Indies were looking forward to a return to the city where they comprehensively defeated Bangladesh in the first round.

He said Gayle and Roach had played a full part in practice while Chanderpaul was likely to return after he was dropped following a form slump.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi made his name as a limited overs dasher who still holds the world record for the fastest one-day century.

Now his role is primarily that of an attacking leg-spinner, whose 17 wickets in the tournament is the highest so far.

Pakistan will need all the runs they can get with a semi-final against India in Ahmedabad looming if they beat West Indies and Afridi is conscious that he must start to perform after looking like a novice with the bat.

"I will be more focused," he promised. "I know how important my batting is for my team."

Bureau Report