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PCB chief congratulates team: ‘Strong spin attack led Pakistan to big victory’

LAHORE, March 23: Former Test cricketers Javed Miandad and Iqbal Qasim on Wednesday underlined that a strong spin bowling department played pivotal role in enabling Pakistan to crush the West Indies by 10 wickets in the World Cup quarter-final in Mirpur, Bangladesh.

“Our spin attack proved a great strength for the team and it [spin combination] should be maintained for the semi-final too,” said Miandad, a prime member of Pakistan`s 1992 World Cup-winning squad.

“Brilliant bowling by Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez never allowed the West Indies to settle down from start till the very end,” Miandad said, urging Pakistan to strengthen their spin department by including Abdul Rehman in the semi-final.

Miandad said he was also seeing the divine help, which, he recalled, had also assisted Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup.

“The entire nation was praying for victory in the quarter-final against the West Indies which we achieved with ease. And therefore, it also shows we are receiving divine support,” the former batting maestro stated while advising Shahid Afridi-led team to play the semi-final with a positive frame of mind.

Meanwhile, Iqbal said as some experts wanted Pakistan to field a strong spin attack against the West Indies, the strategy clicked in the form of a one-sided victory for the Greenshirts.

“The Pakistan spinners not only blocked the flow of runs but also did not allow any West Indian batsman to settle down for a big knock, which could save Darren Sammy`s men from a big defeat,” he noted.

“Obviously, the West Indies had decided to bat first with the aim to set Pakistan a target of around 250. And as Pakistanis are generally considered as bad chasers they could be trapped [by West Indies bowlers] while batting under lights, but our spinners foiled their planning with an outstanding performance, restricting the opposition to just 112,” Iqbal said.

About Pakistan`s semi-final opponents who will be the winners of Thursday`s electrifying quarter-final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad, the former spinner thought the Aussies would suit Pakistan more in the last-four stage.

“We have already defeated Australia in the group stage and today`s win [against the West Indies] has further boosted our team`s morale.

“Furthermore, Australia may also be under pressure against us in the semi-final. And the Australians also fear us because they know Pakistan is the only team which can overpower them,” he reckoned, adding even if Pakistan faced India in Mohali the home side would also be under pressure in the presence of their crowd.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt congratulated national team, its management and the nation for reaching the World Cup semi-final. Dawn

Talking to , the PCB chief said: “All the boys played like a unit. Pakistan`s fighting spirit was splendid and that was the reason they did not allow the West Indies to recover.

“Though the West Indies had lost their matches to big teams like England, South Africa and India, the way they were defeated by Pakistan in the one-sided match gives us great hope that our team can do better against Australia or India too [in the semi-final],” Ijaz said.

He appealed to the nation to pray for the national team`s success in the World Cup, saying Pakistan`s win in the mega event would be of great help in reviving international cricket in the country.

Asked to comment on the issue of security for Pakistan team who will be playing their semi-final in Mohali against the winners of the quarter-final between Australia and India, the chairman said governments of both the countries had completed the talks over the subject and there was no problem in this regard.

“The Indian government has given full assurance over [Pakistan team`s] security and our total focus is on cricketing matters,” he said, adding Pakistan team`s memorable show against the West Indies had doubled the Pakistan Day celebrations.