Waqar wants Aussie scalp


PALLEKELE – Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said a win over defending champions Australia in their final group match would give his team enormous confidence heading into their World Cup quarter-final. The 1992 champions eased into the last eight with a comfortable seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe on Monday and play their last match against Australia, who are on an unbeaten 33-match streak in the World Cup, on Saturday.
Waqar said victory over Ricky Ponting’s men in Colombo would serve a dual purpose. “They are such a big team, world champs, and haven’t lost for ages,” said Waqar of Australia, whose last World Cup defeat came at the hands of Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup. He said topping Group A would mean playing the number four team in Group B “whose morale would be down, but for me the bigger thing is the momentum.”
Pakistan, with eight points from five matches, are second in Group A, behind New Zealand on net run-rate. Sri Lanka and Australia have also reached the quarter-finals. Pakistan restricted Zimbabwe to 151-7 before rain curtailed Zimbabwe’s innings. Set a revised target of 162 in 38 overs, Pakistan won on the back of an undefeated 78 by Asad Shafiq. Waqar said Pakistan must carry on winning.
“If you beat Australia, you leave a mark, you can look at the next matches and teams will think twice about playing against you,” said Waqar, whose country has reached the second round for the first time since 1999. “It is pleasing, but the kind of team we had it was expected we would get to the quarters. To say that we have achieved a lot here because we didn’t qualify the last two times would be wrong,” said Waqar, captain of the team in 2003.
Pakistan also exited in the first round of the 2007 World Cup held in the West Indies.