Cricket: Pakistan ready for Indian trip

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The Independent Online
Pakistan, the champions, play New Zealand in Lahore on Wednesday for second place in Group B, but win or lose the Pakistanis will have to play their quarter-final in India.

If they win they could even end up playing against India in the southern city of Bangalore, but their captain, Wasim Akram, insists that does not worry them one bit.

"We're not worried about going to India. The team is relaxed and confident," he said.

Pakistan, beaten only by South Africa in their first four outings, would like to complete the league section of the tournament on a winning note but do not underestimate New Zealand.

"We are quite aware of their potential as we shared the one-day series last time in New Zealand," Akram said. "They are a good fighting side and we've got to play in the same way as we did against England."

New Zealand and Pakistan are tied with six points each in Group B as they go into Wednesday's match. The New Zealanders have seen little action since they beat the United Arab Emirates by 109 runs in Faisalabad on 27 February but they are determined to give Pakistan a tough contest.

"It is an important match for us because it is going to determine who finishes second and third and we must win to finish second in the group," said the New Zealand captain, Lee Germon. On Sunday they played a warm- up match against Lahore Gymkhana Club, winning by a convincing 185 runs with all the front line batsmen making useful scores.

Nathan Astle, whose form dropped off after a fine century against England in the opening Cup match in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, regained his touch with a top score of 59.

Like Pakistan, New Zealand are set to play their quarter-final in Madras or Banglore depending on what happens on Wednesday. New Zealand have only one injury worry in medium pacer Gavin Larsen with a strained calf muscle.