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Pakistan Beats West Indies, May Play India in Cricket World Cup

Pakistan marked its national day by cruising to a 10-wicket win over West Indies yesterday in the first Cricket World Cup quarterfinal. It will play archrival India or Australia in the last four.

West Indies slumped to 112 all out in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul making 44 not out. Shahid Afridi took 4-30. Pakistan ended on 113-0 in only 20.5 of its allotted 50 overs.

“This is the best gift we could give back to the nation on Pakistan Day,” captain Afridi said at the post-match ceremony. “We tried to stick to our plans and the boys have done a great job doing that.”

Ramnaresh Sarwan, with 24 runs, Chanderpaul and Kemar Roach, on 16, were the only batsmen to reach double figures for West Indies, which won the toss. The team slipped to 16-3, Mohammad Hafeez taking two wickets in four balls, before reaching 69-4. Pakistan then took four wickets in eight balls to leave the Windies on 71-8.

Chanderpaul and Roach restored some stability, adding 40 for the ninth wicket before Roach was caught by Younis Khan off Abdul Razzaq. Ravi Rampaul was out for no score.

“Personally I just tried to maintain line and length,” Afridi said. “These were great conditions for spin if you landed it on the length. Today, we backed Hafeez and he pulled it off with the ball.”

In Control

The Pakistan openers always looked in control as they reached the victory target. Akmal made 47 and Hafeez 61.

Man of the match Hafeez took 2-16 in 10 overs, with fellow spinner Saeed Ajmal also taking two wickets. Hafeez said he’d “really worked hard” in recent days and his efforts had paid off.

“The coach told me a couple of days back that I would bowl with the new ball, and I tried it at the nets,” he said. “I just kept them on line and length today, and it worked. My batting form came back at the right time and I hope to carry it on.”

West Indies captain Darren Sammy lamented his team’s low score.

“Definitely not enough runs on the board,” he said. “We didn’t counter the bowling well, and fell well short. We lost wickets in clusters to spin throughout the tournament, and today was no exception.”

India and Australia meet in the second quarterfinal in Ahmedabad, India, today, and the winner will play Pakistan at Mohali, India, on March 30. New Zealand or South Africa will meet Sri Lanka or England in the other semifinal in Colombo on March 29.

Pakistan defeated Australia in its previous game, in Group A, ending the three-time defending champion’s 34-game unbeaten run at the tournament.

Ponting Pledge

Australia captain Ricky Ponting denied a report that he plans to quit international cricket after the World Cup and finish his career by leading an English county team.

Ponting, 36, said a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail that he was fed up with speculation over his captaincy tenure, and would quit elite Tests and one-day internationals immediately after Australia’s World Cup campaign, was wrong.

“I don’t see a finish line,” Ponting told reporters in Ahmedabad in comments broadcast on Australia’s Fox Sports. “I want to keep playing both forms of the game for as long as I think I can contribute and play well.”

The final of the World Cup, co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, is in Mumbai on April 2.

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