Afridi demands more from Pakistan

Pakistan’s Umar Akmal with the man of the match trophy after their victory against Kenya. (AFP)

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi believes his team still have shortcomings to overcome ahead of their crunch World Cup clash against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan overcame early hiccups to post a challenging 317-7 against Kenya before Afridi took centre stage with 5-16 to bundle out their out-classed opponents for 112 to record a 205-victory in Wednesday’s opener.
“It’s a good start but we shouldn’t be 100 percent satisfied, there is a lot of work ahead of us still,” said the captain.
Pakistan lost openers Mohammad Hafeez (nine) and Ahmed Shahzad (one) inside seven overs with just 16 on the board against Kenya.
“Whether in batting or bowling you need a positive start. But since the ball was sticking to the pitch a little, it wasn’t easy. I hope my openers don’t repeat those mistakes,” said Afridi.
Younis Khan (50) and Kamran Akmal (55) put on a solid 98 for the third wicket, before Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and Umar Akmal (71) provided a flourish during their quickfire 118-run stand, racking up 71 in the batting powerplay.
Afridi praised his four half-century makers.
“That’s what’s required of the senior players and combined with three seniors, Umar played a beautiful knock and proved his potential after a long time,” said Afridi of the 21-year-old batsman, playing his first World Cup match.
Afridi justified his decision to bat first.
“It wasn’t in my mind whether to give the bowlers or batters first opportunity, just that we needed to win the first match because of upsets in the past,” said Afridi, who had vowed to avoid upsets like Pakistan suffered against Ireland in the 2007 World Cup.
“We wanted to make a big total, so when we went in I told the team that we should play like we were defending only 120, because our tough matches are ahead of us,” said Afridi.
The skipper shrugged off his own five-wicket display.
“It’s nice to be amongst the wickets, and I give the wickets to my team. This will also be very important in the tough games like against Sri Lanka and Australia.
“We are a dangerous team. We know how important the next game is and Sri Lanka is the best team in their own conditions.
“We will go in with the same strength and deliver as best as we can,” said Afridi of his team’s next match against the co-hosts in Colombo on Saturday.
“It was good intensity from the players. In practice we have been very focused and positive and what we do there, we deliver in the games as well.”
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