CricInfo at World Cup 1999
[The ICC Cricket World Cup - England 1999]

Pakistan v Scotland Preview, Chester-le-Street, 20 May 1999

by John Houlihan

There seems little chance of the form book being upset in the clash between the David and Goliaths of Group B, at Durham's impressive Riverside stadium which is staging its first ever one-day international.

Pakistan's squad can boast an embarrassment of riches with a wealth of talent which has already proved its pedigree by being the first team to win batting first as they disposed of the West Indies with relative ease. The outstanding Saeed Anwar holds the ODI batting record of 194 and may be looking to post the first ODI double century against the Scots, while the in-form Yousuf Youhana and vastly experienced Salim Malik add a considerable weight to the middle order. The ferociously talented Inzamam-ul-Haq missed out with a first ball duck at Bristol and may be looking to take a heavy toll on the Scot's bowlers. Skipper Wasim Akram can be lethal with both bat and ball and the Pakistani bowling attack is similarly blessed. If Shoaib Akhtar can shake off the injury which appeared to plague him during the West Indies game, he will no doubt be terrifying the Scots batsman with some high velocity thunderbolts and they may also struggle to get to grips with the guile and variation of Saqlain Mushtaq, the world's most talented off-spinner.

Scotland have the proverbial mountain to climb if they are to make an impact against one of the strongest sides in the competition, but they can draw some heart from a creditable, if unsuccessful performance against the Australians. The Scots will be relying primarily on their all-rounders with county experience, with James Brinkley and especially Yorkshire's impressive Gavin Hamilton clearly among the stars. Skipper George Salmond also made a gutsy 34 against the Aussies, but the top order will have to make a much greater contribution if they are to even vaguely trouble Pakistan. Of the bowlers, young opener John Blain started well, with Pakistan-born Asim Butt providing tidy left-arm support, however it was off-spinner Nick Dyer who most impressed, picking up two well deserved wickets against the Australians. Pakistan will no doubt start this game as favourites by a mile, but then they also said that about the English at Bannockburn.

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