Pakistan to face W. Indies in quarterfinal

NEW DELHI, March 20: Group A leader Pakistan will face West Indies in World Cup’s first quarterfinal in Dhaka on Wednesday after the Windies finished fourth in Group B on Sunday.

“We have to tighten up and tighten up very quickly,” West Indies captain Darren Sammy said. “We’re going to be facing Pakistan, so we have to bring our A-game.”

Australia were licking their wounds after seeing their 34-match unbeaten streak in the tournament stretching back to the 1999 edition ended by Pakistan on Saturday in Colombo.

Australian captain Ricky Ponting reignited the walking debate at the World Cup after admitting he stood his ground despite knowing he had been caught behind in the Pakistan match.

Ponting, on 19 at the time, was given not out by the on-field umpire but the decision was overturned on review.

“There were no doubts about the nick, I knew I hit it, but as always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That’s the way I’ve always played the game,” he said.

Ponting’s admission came just a day after a similar controversy in Mumbai when Sri Lanka vice-captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kiwi off-spinner Nathan McCullum clashed over a ‘clean’ catch.

India set up a mouthwatering quarterfinal against defending champion Australia after beating West Indies by 80 runs in the last group match on Sunday.

India claimed second place in Group B and will host Australia at Ahmedabad on Thursday.

“Australia are a very good side, they play tough cricket, they’re quite expressive on the field,” India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said. “But it’s not about which opponent you’re playing, it’s all about how you’re preparing and what you really want to achieve. We’ll give it our best shot.”

In the other quarterfinals, Group B leader South Africa is against New Zealand at Dhaka on Friday and Sri Lanka hosts England on Saturday at Colombo.

India scored 268 thanks largely to a century by in-form Yuvraj Singh but lost their last six wickets for just 36 runs, raising fresh concerns over their ability to make the most of strong starts by their powerful top order.

But the West Indies, who had made a strong start to their reply in Chennai thanks largely to 81 from Devon Smith, crumbled alarmingly from a promising position of 154-2 to 188 all out, handing India victory by 80 runs.

Their disastrous collapse echoed a speedy demise against England, adding to growing doubts over the ability of the West Indies to perform under pressure.

In the earlier Group A match on Sunday, Zimbabwe crushed hapless Kenya by 161 runs in Kolkata. Zimbabwe posted 308-6 and Kenya, who have lost all six of their matches at the World Cup, slumped to 147 all out.

Both African nations were already out of contention for a place in the quarter-finals.

International cricket chiefs on Sunday approved New Zealand’s Daryl Tuffey as a replacement player for the injured Hamish Bennett.