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Windies look to avenge loss

March 04, 2004 16:47 IST

West Indies will take on Pakistan in the Super League final of the ICC under-19 Cricket World Cup 2004 in Bangladesh aiming to avenge a heavy 163 run defeat in the group stage and claim the title for the first time.

Neither nation has ever won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup but seven of the current West Indies squad tasted World Cup success four years ago in the U-15 event in England.

Pakistan go into the final as slight favourites having lost only one match in the tournament. Their six victories include impressive demolitions of West Indies and New Zealand and a comfortable defeat of highly-fancied India in the semi-final.

Pakistan's strength has undoubtedly been their bowling and no side has managed to score over 200 against them. The highest total any side has managed against them was England's 196 in the one match that Pakistan lost.

They boast three of the tournament's top bowlers - Riaz Afridi, Tariq Mahmood and Mansoor Amjad.

Afridi has already taken 18 wickets in the tournament at 11.27 and will open the bowling for Pakistan in the final. The powerful right-arm fast bowler claimed a five wicket haul in the match against England that comprised three clean-bowled and two lbws.

Off-spinner Mahmood and leggie Amjad impart prodigious spin and along with Afridi have been touted as future international stars by their coach Aqib Javed.

The West Indies have shown flashes of brilliance to reach the final but they have also been frustratingly inconsistent. As well as the humiliation against Pakistan they only scraped home by six runs against Ireland in the first round.

They are capable of scoring big runs and their top three batsmen - Xavier Marshall, Tishan Maraj and Lendl Simmons have all scored centuries in the tournament. They can also count on the poise of their impressive captain Denesh Ramdin who rose to the occasion in the semi-final with a match-winning 72 when his side was under pressure.

The West Indies will be looking for a major contribution from fast bowler Ravi Rampaul who only bowled 3.2 overs in the group stage and didn't play in the previous Pakistan match.

Rampaul - who has already represented the West Indies at international level - is now back to full fitness and has taken six wickets in the last two matches.

They will also hope to have top wicket-taker Lionel Baker back in the side. Baker has taken 12 wickets in the tournament but had to miss the semi-final with a shin injury.

Pakistan team manager Sultan Rana believes the victory in the group stage will work in his side's favour.

"As we have played before, we are aware of each others' strengths but I think our earlier win will give us the psychological advantage," said Rana.

"All of our players are available for selection so it doesn't matter who we play against.

"Throughout the tournament we have taken it one game at a time and the final will be no different."

Rana also played down the significance of batting first at the Bangabandhu National Stadium.

"Most sides that have won the toss at the Bangabandhu have batted first but we've won twice batting second.

"The last time we played West Indies at Khulna they put us in on a green-looking wicket and we put together a good total so it really doesn't matter one way or the other to us."

West Indies coach Clyde Butts believes his side has improved since they lost to Pakistan in the first round.

"They beat us comfortably in the group stage but we are ready to do better against them this time," said Butts.

"This is a different match and I don't think the other result will affect our players at all."

Jeremy Lloyds from England and Peter Parker from Australia will be the umpires for the match. John Morrison from New Zealand will be the ICC Match Referee.

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