| Shoaib Akhtar during practice in Bulawayo Monday
Bulawayo: Waqar Younis Monday vowed not to let a favour done by defending champions Australia go to waste as Pakistan make a last-ditch effort to stay afloat in the World Cup.
Australia’s last-over win over England in Port Elizabeth Sunday threw a lifeline to Pakistan who must now defeat Zimbabwe by a very big margin to sneak into the Super Sixes.
If England had won, Pakistan would have been knocked out even before taking the field at the Queens Sports Club, and Waqar was grateful to the Australians for showing them the light.
“Relief is hardly the word,” Waqar said after Ricky Ponting’s men overcame England by two wickets to spare thanks to a 73-run ninth wicket stand between Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel.
“It has left the door open for us and we must go through it. Bevan and Bichel in particular have done us a big favour.
“Now we must work even harder given this chance. It might have been meaningless to train hard but now we can see it as well worth the while.
“There is a lot more work to do now, not least to get the disappointment of our defeat by India out of our systems.”
The entire Pakistan team watched the closing stages of the Australia-England game on television and were relieved when the Aussies sealed it after the titanic struggle.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe only need a simple win to qualify.
Pakistani coach Richard Pybus insisted his team will fight all the way. “They’ve pulled themselves together after losing to India and they know they can still make it if they play flat out. They will.”
Pybus hinted Pakistan will make “one or two” changes to the side that lost to India, but did not elaborate.
Zimbabwe will be bolstered by the return of all-rounder Grant Flower, who missed the last game against Holland with a finger injury. Either opening batsman Mark Vermeulen or spinner Doug Marillier will step aside to make way for Grant.
There will probably still be no place for Henry Olonga, whose replacement in the side, Andy Blignaut, has had dazzling success with the bat.
Olonga and Andy Flower, whose protest against “the death of democracy in Zimbabwe” caused such a furore, practised with the team and are therefore available for selection.
Zimbabwe (from): Heath Streak (capt), Andy Blignaut, Dion Ebrahim, Sean Ervine, Andy Flower, Grant Flower, Travis Friend, Douglas Hondo, Douglas Marillier, Brian Murphy, Henry Olonga, Tatenda Taibu, Mark Vermeulen, Guy Whittall, Craig Wishart.
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, Mohammed Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq.
Umpires: Asoka de Silva (SL), Billy Bowden (NZ).
Third Umpire: Rudi Koertzen (SA).
Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SL).