Cricket: Injured Sohail not so hearty

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WAQAR YOUNIS and Wasim Akram, the bane of English batting last summer, showed few signs of running out of steam in Perth yesterday, spurring Pakistan to a five-wicket victory over the West Indies in the opening match of the triangular World Series Cup.

The Pakistani win, achieved with four balls to spare, was marred, however, by an injury to their left-handed opener, Aamir Sohail, who strained a thigh muscle and could miss half the series.

Waqar and Wasim were abetted by the maturing leg-spin of Mushtaq Ahmed as the World Cup holders restricted the West Indies to 197 for 9 from their allotted 50 overs, Brian Lara top-scoring with a fluent 59. The Pakistan captain, Javed Miandad, then emulated that score in steering his team to 199 for 5 in the final over.

Akram, though, won the man-of-the-match award, augmenting a penetrative analysis of 4 for 46 with an unbeaten 21 as he and Javed picked off the winning runs.

The Pakistanis were nevertheless left counting the casualties, with Sohail becoming the second member of their 15-man squad to be struck down within the space of a week. Fast bowler Aqib Javed has been unavailable for selection since developing a stress fracture in his back in a practice match six days ago.

Sohail, whose left-arm spin had been envisaged as a useful supplement to the Pakistan front line attack during the one-day series, sustained his injury while attempting to run out Carl Hooper in the 27th over of the West Indies innings.

In the process, Hooper also hurt a calf muscle and had to enlist the services of a runner for the final stages of his innings, although he was later fit to bowl. Sohail, too, was accompanied by a runner when he began the Pakistan reply but he did not linger, being dismissed in the second over.

WORLD SERIES CUP (Perth): West Indies 197 for 9 (50 overs; B C Lara 59, Wasim Akram

4-46); Pakistan 199 for 5 (49.2 overs; Javed Miandad 59). Pakistan win by five wickets.