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30-Sep-2016 05:34:00 GMT
Pakistan v West Indies, 1st ODI, Sharjah

Pakistan, West Indies Launch World Cup fight

Sharjah: Pakistan and the West Indies start a narrow two-way fight for an automatic place in the 2019 ICC  World Cup in a three-match one-day series starting in Sharjah Friday.

Pakistan, the 1992 champions, need to win the series 3-0 to rise one place from ninth while their opponents -- champions in the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 -- need to avoid a clean sweep to maintain their current eighth spot.

Hosts England and the seven highest-ranked sides in the one-day rankings on September 30 next year will qualify directly for the World Cup.

The bottom four teams in the standings will be joined by six Associate sides in a 10-team qualifying round in 2018 from where two teams will qualify.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies will also play in three one-day matches in the Caribbean next March.

Pakistan also have a tough five-match series in Australia early next year but West Indies will be hard pressed to play England and India before the cut-off date.

Both Pakistan and the West Indies have varied problems in the 50-over game.

Pakistan, ranked number one in Test cricket, have slumped in one-day and are coming on the back of a 4-1 bashing in England, a defeat which almost cost Azhar Ali the captaincy, but he finally survived.

Pakistan will once again look to exploit their opponents weakness against the spin, which saw them restrict the West Indies to low totals of 115, 144 and 103 in the Twenty20 series.

They have leg-spinner Yasir Shah and two left-arm spinners -- Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz plus allrounder Shoaib Malik to launch the assault.

West Indies had shown recent form, having beaten South Africa twice and world number one Australia once in a tri-series on home grounds in June before losing the final to Steve Smith's team.

West Indies will again be without dashing opener Chris Gayle, who is unavailable for the tour, and Andre Russell, missing due to an anti-doping hearing.

Teams from:

Azhar Ali (capt), Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Yasir Shah, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sohail Khan

West Indies: Jason Holder (capt), Carlos Brathwaite, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Marlon Samuels, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Shannon Gabriel, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Kieron Pollard, Sulieman Benn

Stats and trivia

  • Pakistan are stuck in ninth in the ODI rankings, with 86 points, their lowest-ever tally since the rankings system was introduced in 2001
  • Pakistan have won nine matches and lost 15 during Azhar Ali's 25-game tenure as ODI captain

Match facts
September 30, 2016 (day/night)
Start time 1500 local (1100 GMT)

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