After months of hype and a dazzling opening ceremony, we're finally ready for the action to begin on the pitch. Cricinfo looks at the stat highlights ahead of the curtain-raiser between West Indies and Pakistan in Kingston, Jamaica.



Abdul Razzaq is Pakistan's most successful bowler in the West Indies, but injury has ruled him out of the World Cup © Getty Images

  • The World Cup kicks off in Sabina Park, which used to be a West Indian stronghold. No longer - West Indies won 11 of their first 12 matches there but since 2003 have lost five of their last six.
  • Out of the 109 ODIs played between the two teams, West Indies have won 63, Pakistan 44 and two have been tied. The win-loss record for the ten most recent matches, however, reads 8-2 in Pakistan's favour. West Indies toured Pakistan immediately after their impressive showing in the 2006 Champions Trophy and were soundly beaten 3-1 in the ODI series.
  • Pakistan have only played 19 ODIs in the West Indies, of which they've lost 11 and tied one. Of their seven victories, three were in a comprehensive series win on their tour of the Caribbean in 2005. In World Cups, the head-to-head record is 5-2 in West Indies' favour but the two teams haven't played each other since 1999 when Pakistan won by 27 runs.
  • West Indies had a successful 2006 during which they beat India 4-1 at home and reached the finals of the Champions Trophy. Their win-loss record for the year is 18-14 but you must remember that six of those victories came against Zimbabwe. They toured India in January 2007 and were beaten 3-1.
  • Pakistan had an unsatisfactory 2006, winning 11 and losing 10 games. Their only series wins came in Sri Lanka and against West Indies at home. They began 2007 badly, with several injuries during a 3-1 hammering in South Africa.
  • Going on past form, Pakistan's lynchpin in the West Indies will be their captain Inzamam-ul-Haq. He's played 14 matches in the Caribbean and scored 590 runs including seven half-centuries and averages a shade under 54. He'll have to raise his current form to live up to that - in 2006 Inzamam scored only 524 runs in 24 matches at an average of just under 31.
  • None of the other Pakistan batsmen has fared exceptionally well in the West Indies. Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan in particular will have to improve their West Indian records for Pakistan to mount a serious challenge. Yousuf and Younis have scored only 190 runs each from 10 and nine matches respectively. Shahid Afridi, a sure-shot matchwinner on his day, has had a horrific loss of form. He scored just 217 runs in 18 innings since 2006. His quick legbreaks, however, have been effective and he's taken 19 wickets at an economy-rate of 4.45.
  • Pakistan's most successful bowler in the West Indies had to pull out of the World Cup because of injury. Abdul Razzaq has taken 18 wickets in ten matches at an average of just under 20. Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has taken 31 wickets in his last 25 games since 2006 and while his strike-rate of 32 is impeccable, it's his economy of over six an over that will worry Pakistan.
  • West Indies' opening pair of Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have got them off to excellent starts in recent times. While everyone expects Gayle to win matches with his flamboyant hitting, Chanderpaul's recent form - 1178 runs in his last 30 innings at an average of over 47 - has slipped under the scanner. West Indies will look to him to anchor the innings while the others provide the acceleration.
  • Jerome Taylor will hold the key to West Indies' new-ball attack. He has developed significantly over the last year and, in 27 matches since 2006, has taken 41 wickets at an average of 27.
  • Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has generally been prohibitively expensive with the new ball in recent games, but against West Indies it'll make sense to have him bowl at the start. Naved has dismissed Gayle six times, conceding 104 runs from 121 balls, for an average of 17.33 per dismissal. Coincidentally, Naved has exactly the same bowling average against Lara too (52 runs in 46 balls, with three dismissals). Overall, he has enjoyed bowling against West Indies much more than against any opposition - he averages 16.24 runs per wicket (as against his career average of 27.16), and concedes 4.31 per over (career economy rate 5.53).
  • Thanks largely to Naved's destructive spells at the start, Gayle only averages 27.04 against Pakistan, well below his career ODI average of 38.74.
  • George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo