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Asif in doubt for Kiwis clash

Pakistan, on Friday, suffered a blow ahead of their Twenty20 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand with pace spearhead Mohammad Asif in doubt for the match with an elbow injury.

The Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Nasim Ashraf said Asif had sustained the injury during the net practice before the game against Australia and has been in pain since then.

"That is why he has looked out of sorts and struggled with his line and length. He has played because of the importance of the game against Australia but I think the team management should have given him rest for the match against Bangladesh," Ashraf said.

Asif has been in tremendous form in the tournament, took four wickets against India, and Pakistan has relied heavily on his early strikes and economical bowling in the championship.

Ashraf said Asif had played after taking injections but he was still not 100 per cent fit.

"The manner in which Asif bowled against Bangladesh he does not bowl like this even in the nets," he said.

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik also admitted that Asif was crucial to the team's chances in the event.

He said the lethargic performance against Bangladesh was a result of the players being tired and jaded after travelling and continuous cricket.

"But after one day's rest we will be back to our best for the semi final against New Zealand. We have come so far and we don't intend to now go out without a fight," he said.

Malik said Shahid Afridi would continue as opener.

"If he comes off it is good for the team so we have decided to try him as an opener," he said.

source - rediff.com
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