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Afridi wants openers to not repeat error

Associated Press
Feb 23, 2011 at 11:55pm IST

Hambantota: Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi wanted his openers to bat more positively in the World Cup after Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad both flopped against Kenya in the team's opening match on Wednesday.

Afridi's haul of 5-16 in his fourth World Cup guided Pakistan to a comfortable 205-run victory over the 2003 semifinalist in Group A.

Pakistan racked up 317-7, thanks to Umar Akmal's blistering 71 off 52 balls and three more half centuries from Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal and Younis Khan. Hafeez made only nine while Shehzad struggled for 18 balls to score just one run before being dismissed.

Afridi expects openers to not repeat errors

Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad both flopped against Kenya in the team's opening match.

"The start is always important and I'm confident our openers will not repeat these mistakes," Afridi said.

Kenyan batsmen were baffled by Afridi's faster legspinners and were bundled out for 112 in 33.1 overs. It was Kenya's second successive heavy defeat after New Zealand recorded a 10-wicket win when it dismissed the African nation for 69 runs last Sunday.

"The ball was sticking to the pitch a little, so it wasn't so easy," Afridi said after he opted to bat first. "But we need to stick to our strengths which is to play positively."

Pakistan's impressive total was helped by some wayward Kenyan bowling. Even Thomas Odoyo, who took three for 41, sprayed 20 wide balls as Kenya gave away 46 extra runs.

Afridi said he had wanted to put up a big total, but had also told his teammates in the innings break that should bowl and field as if they had a far smaller score.

"I told the boys we need to fight like we are defending 120 because tough matches lie ahead," he said.

Afridi led from the front, trapping three batsmen leg before wicket. He also claimed the wickets of top scorer Collins Obuya (47), who holed out in the deep in desperation, and clean bowled Steve Tikolo (13) — Kenya's most experienced all-rounder in the World Cup.

"I'm feeling good," the Pakistan captain said. "The conditions are perfect for spinners and we try our best to bowl well in the middle overs especially."

Man of the match Umar Akmal said Afridi had given him a lot of confidence before the match — in which he scored four of his eight boundaries in one over off Elijah Otieno during the batting powerplay.

Wednesday's half-century was Akmal's third in the last 14 ODIs that included matches against Bangladesh, England, South Africa and New Zealand.

"I have practiced hard and long and I will continue to work like this, not only in the next game but in all games that Shahid bhai (brother) will offer me," Akmal said.

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