Windies labour on World Cup’s super Sunday

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By Julian Guyer

A stubborn century partnership by Amjad Javed (56) and Nasir Aziz (60) guided the United Arab Emirates to 175 to frustrate the West Indies’ pursuit of a quick and convincing win in Napier which would allow them to make the last eight.Sydney (AFP) – West Indies made heavy work of their push for a World Cup quarter-final place on Sunday as the group stage headed for a thrilling conclusion with three teams battling over two places in the knockout round.

Javed and Aziz put on 107 for the seventh wicket after the UAE were struggling at 46-6.

The West Indies, without injured opener Chris Gayle who failed to shake off a back injury, were indebted to skipper Jason Holder who took 4-27 while Jerome Taylor claimed 3-63.

But once Holder had used up his 10 overs, Javed and Aziz found the middle overs attack of Kemar Roach much to their liking.

Aziz, in only his third ODI and not required to bat in the first two, looked very accomplished as he smacked eight fours in his 60 off 86 deliveries.

Javed topped his previous best of 42 as he reached his first half-century and with Aziz he posted the equal fourth-highest partnership in the UAE’s ODI history after also making 107 with Shaiman Anwar earlier in the World Cup against Ireland.

But once Aziz and Javed were dismissed the innings folded quickly with the last three wickets falling for eight runs.

West Indies would likely head for Wellington and a March 21 quarter-final against New Zealand should they see off the UAE.

The winners of the final Pool B match between Pakistan and Ireland in Adelaide later Sunday will be guaranteed a quarter-final spot in a fixture that will take place almost eight years to the day since the Irish knocked Pakistan out of the 2007 World Cup.

It will be an emotional occasion for Misbah-ul-Haq’s team as that defeat in Jamaica was followed the day after by the death of their coach Bob Woolmer.

“I remember Bob a lot, he contributed so much to Pakistan cricket,” said veteran batsman Younis Khan of the former England international.

“I hope we can win this game and some more in the World Cup. There would be nothing better to dedicate to Bob’s memory.”

Pakistan are on a roll after three straight wins, including a defeat of highly-fancied South Africa, after starting the tournament with two straight losses.

Ireland have already beaten two Test nations at this World Cup in the West Indies and Zimbabwe but skipper William Porterfield tried to ease the pressure on his team by saying: “It’s just another game of the group.

“Obviously result-wise it’s a key match, but you are still going to prepare like you do for each match.

“Some lads may think about it more than others and that may be an extra motivating factor for them. But as long as we prepare how we have done for each individual game, then we’ll be fine.”

Ireland produced a major upset with their three-wicket victory over Pakistan at Jamaica’s Sabina Park in 2007 but Porterfield, who played in that match, said another win on Sunday would be no shock.

“Over the last eight years we’ve obviously grown massively as a cricket-playing nation,” he said.

“So I don’t think it will be as big surprise if we do go out there and win tomorrow as it would have been back in 2007.”

New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Australia and Bangladesh have all qualified for the quarter-finals from Pool A, while India, the defending champions, and South Africa have both made it through from Pool B.

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Original Article: Windies labour on World Cup’s super Sunday