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Waqar showers praise on Hafeez

DHAKA, March 23: Pakistan coach Waqar Younis praised the contributions of Mohammad Hafeez, who put in a Man-of-the-Match show on Wednesday to inspire his team into the semi-finals of the World Cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here.

Hafeez excelled with bowling figures of two for 16 in 10 overs before striking an unbeaten 61 –– the 30-year-old opener’s maiden half-century at the World Cup — as Pakistan crushed the West Indies by 10 wickets.

“Yes, I’m more than happy actually since we had been struggling with the openers for sometime. It was very pleasing to see them getting the runs. Hopefully that will help us in the future games.

“Hafeez played an outstanding knock today and when he bowled earlier he was just superb. I’m a big fan of his and full credit to him the way he stuck in and he looked like the man in form,” an elated Waqar told the post-game media conference.

“I always regarded Hafeez as a fine cricketer and today he made me feel very proud as the coach and fully deserves the Man-of-the-Match award for a magnificent all-round show.”

Waqar said Pakistans batting has pleased him the most against the West Indies and hoped the excellent work from the openers would spur the team on in the remaining matches.

“Look, bowling has never been the issue and we’ve done well in the past [against South Africa and New Zealand] and it is the most thing for us to finish off the West Indies with a commanding all-round performance and that’s obviously makes a big difference.”

Looking ahead, Waqar spurned suggestions that Pakistan would be better off for the semi-final clash against India rather face Australia, the reigning champions.

“We have done well so far [in the World Cup] and I’m not really fussy who are going to play. But as long as we things right and do well that’s more important than worry about our [semi-final] opponents.

“Whoever they be, we’ll be preparing in the best possible way. We’ll watch the [Thursday’s] game very closely and see who it is and then make our strategies in the next few days ahead of us,” Waqar stressed.

“We shouldn’t be over-hyped over the expected semi-final game with India. We should simply treat it as a game. The hopes in Pakistan were pretty high today and there was no load-shedding to report.

“That shows the entire was praying for us and very happy at our clinical performance today. It’s a kind of a gift to them on the Pakistan Day. We are over the moon at the moment.”

The coach said that the West Indies may have been below par in the quarter-final fixture, but Pakistan outplayed them in all three departments otherwise the victory wouldn’t have been achieved by such a huge margin.

“One should give credit to the Pakistan team. We played very subtle and very positive cricket throughout this game. The West Indies, I know from the days I played, have had ruled the world for many years.

“They are very unpredictable at times and can upset anybody on their day, but it was not their day today and that’s it. They going through bad times and need time to develop their game,” he concluded.