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Afridi eyes semis spot

KANDY - Shocking defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Pallekele has deeply disappointed Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi but has not weakened his confidence for the ongoing world cup. He told the visiting Pakistani media men on Wednesday night at Kandy that the team had to move on and concentrate on its next three matches including the quarter final against unknown opponent.

He said he was eyeing a semi final place for his team despite what had happened against New Zealand. The team could reach there but it had to forget what had happen and concentrate on preparing and planning for those matches which would help them to reach the last four stage. Afridi had invited for personal dinner all the Pakistani newsmen covering action of the national team in the ongoing competition in teams hotel at Maha Valley Ridge which one of the two four star hotel in this hilly resort also famous as a home of holy tooth relic of Lord Buddha.

All those visiting newsmen based in Kandy attended the sumptuous dinner but those who shuttle between Colombo and Kandy could not come to the hotel. The dinner was expected to be an informal gathering but when the media put questions to him he obliged them.

Responding to a question about the feeling of deep hurt that millions of fans back home were feeling after the team succumbed to 110 runs loss to the Kiwis, he said that was natural reaction of the public which had supported the team and always wished them well and prayed for it. He said he could understand the feeling of disappointment in public. The team respects their feeling and itself was disappointed about its performance.

However, as the competition was approaching the completion of first group league. It was time to plan and move on because it had before it three important matches including match against Zimbabwe at Pallekele on March 14 and the most crucial contest against Australia on March 19 followed by even challenging the quarter final.