One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Pakistan Vs West Indies - Preview

Hosts West Indies take on Pakistan, at Sabina Park (Jamaica), in the opening match of the 2007 ICC World Cup tournament. And it promises to be a cracker of a match.

West Indies have been in pretty good form lately with their top-order batsmen in good form, the warm-up match debacle against India notwithstanding. Chanderpaul, Sarwan and Samuels seem to be at their prime. Gayle in good form makes the opposition look clueless. Lara looked in ominous touch during his brief stay at the crease in the warm-up match against India. The only worry is that he tends to get carried away a bit if he starts hitting the ball well. West Indies seem to bat deep with bowlers like Ian Bradshaw and Dwayne Smith able to contribute positively. Dwayne Bravo's role in the side cannot be over-emphasized. He is the swiss-army knife of the team. Bowling-wise West Indies are well served with genuine quicks like Taylor, Powell and accurate medium pacers like Collymore, Bravo and Smith. I am particularly impressed by Powell. He bowls just a notch under express pace and is generally very accurate. He is the key if the West Indies are looking to pick up early wickets. The lack of a spinner may be felt though.

Pakistan... hmmm! Their batting line-up is as solid as any... on the paper, at least! Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, etc. at the top will be hard to remove, given their good techniques. Inzamam-ul-Haq is a pastmaster at pulling the team through the middle overs with the sheer weight of his doggedness. That he can explode when required, is an invaluable plus. I would rate the Pakistani tail lower in quality than their West Indian counterparts. Coming to their bowling, there is no doubt whatsoever that the Pakistani bowling department has suffered a body blow with the exclusion of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif. But with right conditions, Umar Gul, Rana Naved and co. have the ability to rattle the best of batsmen. Pakistan also have quality spinners in case they are presented with spinning conditions.

Man to man, and given the conditions at Jamaica... I'd rate West Indies as the favourites going into their opening match against Pakistan. West Indies do have the ability to be spectacularly terrible (and that's understating it) from time to time. But so do Pakistan. And that's the reason I say it will be a good match. If I have to predict a winner in this match-up... I'd go with West Indies.

Alright then... let the games begin! :)

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