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Canada skipper hails Afridi effect

Canada's captain Ashish Bagai bats during during the ICC Cricket World Cup match against Pakistan in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday March 3, 2011.

COLOMBO: Canada captain Ashish Bagai praised opposite number Shahid Afridi after the Pakistan talisman smothered his team’s push for an upset World Cup win.

Canada dismissed Pakistan for a paltry 184 before slipping from 104-3 to 138 all out in 42.5 overs, going down by 46 runs in Thursday’s match at R. Premadasa stadium.

Afridi rocked Canada with figures of 5-23, including a burst of four wickets off 17 balls in his second spell, taking his total tally of wickets to 14 – the most in the tournament.

“We started off with the approach of trying to milk him for 30-35 runs, but once he gets wickets he gets right on top of you,” said Bagai.

“He gets his variations going and then it gets harder and harder.”

Canada have lost all three games at the World Cup and have yet to post a total above 150, a record which has left them second from bottom of Group A, with only the equally hapless Kenya below them.

Bagai had been hoping that Ireland’s stirring victory over England could have inspired his team, but once again their batting looked brittle.

“Ireland’s win was a good advertisement for cricket and for associate teams. It was inspiring, a good answer to the critics. There was a bit of belief for us, and there always is coming into games,” said Bagai.

“There is no point to playing cricket if you don’t think you can win the game and at no point do we think we can’t but unfortunately our batting has let us down tremendously and it’s very disappointing.

“After getting Pakistan out for 184 with a tremendous effort, it was disappointing not win the match.

“The six bowlers did a fantastic job and it was a decent fielding effort but sadly our batting worries continue,” added Bagai, whose team was dismissed for 122 against Sri Lanka and 123 Zimbabwe in two previous defeats.

Canada, who have also lost to Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, now face fellow minnows Kenya in New Delhi on Tuesday.