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Imran wants Akhtar for the semi-final

Akhtar’s experience against India will be crucial with the hosts being good players of spin.

KARACHI:  Pakistan must guard against complacency if they want to win the World Cup, said former captain Imran Khan as the nation celebrated a thumping win over the West Indies.

Pakistan romped into the semi-finals following a 10-wicket win over the West Indies in Dhaka in the first of four quarter-finals on Wednesday. The victory gave the 170-million population more reasons to celebrate Pakistan Day which also fell on Wednesday.

“Pakistan was expected to beat West Indies who had not beaten any top nation in this World Cup,” said Khan, who led Pakistan to their only triumph in cricket’s showpiece event in 1992. “Now I hope the team keeps its feet on the ground and keeps up the good work.”

High-profile clash

Pakistan will meet India in the semi-final on March 30, knowing they have never beaten their arch-rivals in a World Cup match. But history has counted for little when these two teams have taken the field. Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar won his battle against Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar in the 1999 Test but the batting maestro hit back in 2003 when his side prevailed in a World Cup group game.

Khan also believes Pakistan should give Akhtar a chance in the semi-final.

“Since Indian batsmen play spin well, my advice would be to include Shoaib Akhtar in the team,” said Khan of the paceman who last week announced he will retire after the World Cup.

‘Pakistan have been brilliant’

Another former great Javed Miandad said Pakistan has been superb in the tournament.

“The way Pakistan is playing has been great,” said Miandad who was part of Pakistan’s winning squad in 1992. “I hope they keep up the good work in the next two matches as the nation needs a World Cup triumph.”

Former spinner Iqbal Qasim said Pakistan played to its strengths against West Indies.

“Pakistan planned well for the West Indies match and used all its cards well,” said the former left-arm spinner. “They played Saeed Ajmal to counter the West Indian left handers and that proved to be a good ploy.”