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World Cup Bytes

We can win the World Cup: Misbah
Adelaide: Securing a World Cup quarter-finals berth after outplaying Ireland in their final league game, Pakistan cricket captain Misbah-ul-Haq is confident of going all the way to win the 50-over showpiece event for the second time. “Of course, we can win the World Cup. We have the momentum. The bowling is doing really well, the batting is beginning to do its part,” Misbah said after the seven-wicket win against Ireland in their final Pool B encounter here today. Pakistan, who have won four ODIs on the trot after losing to India and West Indies in the first two matches, face Australia in the last-eight encounter on Friday and Misbah feels that they can stun the co-hosts on a given day. “On the day, anything can happen. We have the bowling line-up that can surprise any team,” said Misbah. Misbah admitted the team was under pressure before facing a tricky Ireland, who had beaten them in the 2007 edition, in a must-win encounter. “This was a pressure game, a game more pressure for us than, say, a quarterfinal,” he said. (PTI)

Seniors will need to step up: Amla
Sydney: With the South African team keen to shrug-off the chokers tag, star batsman Hashim Amla has said the experienced campaigners in the squad will need to step up their performance when they take on Sri Lanka in the World Cup quarter-finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday. “There is no doubt that when you get to the knockout stages you want to be the guy to score the big runs to put the team in a good position,” Amla said at the squad’s training session held in Blacktown, here on Sunday. “Everybody in the team, especially the senior guys, want to be the guys to make the big plays for us; with the bat, ball and in the field,” he added. Amla says the squad is motivated to improve on the failures of past World Cups and will be embracing the expectation of the occasion. “We are well aware that we haven’t won a knockout game and that serves as good motivation for the guys to make it a first for South African cricket. “The Proteas will have to curb Sri Lanka’s X-factor players in Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, opponents they have faced several times over the last two years. They (Sri Lanka) are a wonderful team, they compete very well at World Cups,” Amla said. (PTI)

No rift in Windies team, says Holder
Napier: West Indies skipper Jason Holder dismissed talk of a rift in the ranks on Sunday as he led his side to a likely World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand. Holder, a surprise choice to lead the West Indies to the World Cup, appeared to be involved in an on-field argument with former captain Darren Sammy during their must-win final Pool B match against the United Arab Emirates in Napier. The West Indies’ eventual six-wicket victory all but propelled them into the knock-out phase, with only an unlikely tie in the final match between Pakistan and Ireland in Adelaide able to derail them. The mission seemed in the bag when Holder won the toss, put UAE into bat and rapidly reduced them to 46-6 before Nasir Aziz and Amjad Javed staged a 107-run stand. Sammy was brought on to try to break the partnership with the score at 108-6 after 30 overs and was not happy when taken out of the attack after just one over that yielded four runs. Sammy and Holder appeared have strong words which Holder later played down as “a little banter on the field” saying they wanted to have some fun but “unfortunately it probably didn’t look that way.” He later conceded they “had a little tussle there. It’s just part of the game. At the end of the day we shake hands and still smile together.” (AFP)

Indian batsmen in fine touch: Laxman
New Delhi: With most of the Indian batsmen striking form in the ongoing cricket World Cup, former India player V V S Laxman believes that the team’s batting line-up was primed to do well in the knock-out stage. “I am very happy to see Suresh Raina amongst the run scorers. India’s top-four have had enough exposure so far and they seem to be in a good touch,” Laxman said. If man-of-the-match Raina led the batting attack, then captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni once again showed his class with an unbeaten 85 off 76 deliveries. Laxman could not stop praising Dhoni ‘the player’ and ‘captain’. “One thing which impresses me a lot about Dhoni is his style of adapting to different situations in the game. Dhoni reads situations well and always has a plan ready,” said the stylish Hyderabadi batsman. (PTI)

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