Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pakistan will bat first

Kenya v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, Hambantota

Pakistan bat as Ajmal sits out

Shoaib, Rehman in as Pakistan bat
Pakistan will bat first in their tournament opener against Kenya at Hambantota, Shahid Afridi suggesting that he'd like to give his batsmen some time in the middle and take advantage of a good batting strip with a dry tinge to it. Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande rued an incorrect call at the toss, pointing out that many in his inexperienced line-up had not batted under lights before.
With plenty of slow-bowling options in their XI, Pakistan opted for just one specialist spinner in Abdur Rehman - Saeed Ajmal sitting out - while Shoaib Akhtar was included, giving him a chance to build up his match fitness before Pakistan come up against rather sterner challenges than Kenya in the coming weeks. A powerful troop of batsmen will be itching to fill their boots against a mediocre bowling attack, and the there will be no let-up in the pressure on the Kenyans.
Kenya were visibly nervous at the start of this tournament and their young batsmen froze against New Zealand's seam attack. One of those youngsters, Alex Obanda, has been replaced by the Mumbai-born Tanmay Mishra, and this match gives Kenya a second chance to show what they can do on the big stage. Although an upset is practically unthinkable - especially after the swiftness of their capitulation in the first game against an out-of-sorts team who had lost their last three bilateral series - a competent showing would at least do something to heal their dismal reputation.
Pakistan: 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Abdur Rehman, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Shoaib Akhtar
Kenya: 1 Seren Waters, 2 Maurice Ouma (wk), 3 Collins Obuya, 4 Tanmay Mishra, 5 Steve Tikolo, 6 Rakep Patel, 7 Jimmy Kamande (capt), 8 Thomas Odoyo, 9 Nehemiah Odhiambo, 10 Shem Ngoche, 11 Elijah Otieno
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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