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Friday, April 16, 1999 Published at 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK

Pakistan: Form Guide

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Who would dare predict Pakistan's fortunes. They could so easily be knocked out before the Super Six; they could just as easily win the World Cup. The situation was the same when they surprised everyone in 1992.

Under the leadership of Imran Khan they were appalling in the initial stages seven years ago, only qualifying for the quarter-finals through a point they picked up against England when a match they were losing was abandoned because of rain.

Through by the skin of their teeth, they were then heading for defeat in the semi-final against New Zealand when Inzamam-ul-Haq awoke to launch a ferocious assault on the bowlers that saw them to an unlikely victory.

Again against England in the final, a match that seemed to be drifting away from them was swung dramatically their way. That is Pakistan, unpredictable but never dull.

There were effigies of Wasim Akram burned in the streets after Pakistan lost in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup three years ago - to India of all teams. Now, Wasim is the captain who is charged to pull their fortunes round.

A line-up of Saeed Anwar, Inzamam, Ijaz Ahmad, Salim Malik and Wasim oozes experience. Add to that the explosive capabilities of Shahid Afridi and the batting is clearly capable of anything.

It is the bowling that will concern Wasim. He himself has wickets left in him, but his long-time strike partner Waqar Younis is not the force he was once.

Nor is his leg spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed. Only Shoaib Akhtar has searing pace to him now, and he can be expensive.

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