| The Pakistanis at nets in Kimberley Saturday. (Reuters)
Kimberley: Pakistan go into their World Cup match against Namibia here Sunday worried more by the uncertain weather than the quality of the opposition.
Pakistan are expected to ride over the minnows to gain their first points in the tournament after being crushed by defending champions Australia in their opening match Tuesday.
A wash-out, which would mean sharing points, could be disastrous for the Pakistanis in their bid to qualify for the Super Six from group A.
Rain denied the two teams practice Friday at the De Beers Diamond Oval and the weather shows no signs of clearing even though a clear day has been forecast for Sunday. “We are keeping our fingers crossed the rain stays away,” said Waqar Younis.
Waqar’s first World Cup game as captain ended in disappointment not only due to the 82-run defeat to Australia but also because he was ordered out of the attack by English umpire David Shepherd after bowling successive beamers at century-maker Andrew Symonds.
The Pakistani captain hoped the game against Namibia will help his team iron out its shortcomings. “We are not taking the Namibians lightly, and will try to rectify some of the weaker links before our important game against England next week.”
Waqar said the tournament’s format did not allow any team to be taken lightly. “You have to be at your best against lowly placed teams because you carry over points in the Super Six against the non-qualifiers as well.”
Seasoned opener Saeed Anwar is set to return after missing the Australia match due to an elbow injury sustained by a short ball from teammate Shoaib Akhtar at nets. “Anwar has recovered and we want to give him some match practice and also to Saqlain Mushtaq,” said Waqar, who was criticised for excluding the off-spinner in the first match.
Namibian captain Deon Kotze said all the pressure was on Pakistan. “Realistically speaking, the Pakistanis are under pressure because no one expects us to win against a side full of legends like Wasim Akram, Waqar and Shoaib,” Kotze said.
PAKISTAN (from): Waqar Younis (capt), Saeed Anwar, Taufeeq Umar, Saleem Elahi, Younis Khan, Yousuf Youhana, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Wasim Akram, Rashid Latif, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq.
NAMIBIA (from): Deon Kotze (capt), Jan Burger, Louis Burger, Sarel Burger, Morne Karg, Daniel Keulder, Bjorn Kotze, Lennie Louw, Bryan Murgatroyd, Gerrie Snyman, Stefan Swanepoel, Burton van Rooi, Melt van Schoor, Rudi van Vuuren, Riaan Walters.
Umpires: David Orchard (South Africa), Neil Mallender (England). Third Umpire: Simon Tauffel (Australia). Match Referee: Denis Lindsay (South Africa).
Match starts at 1.30pm (IST).