Despite there being few doubts about Pakistan qualifying for the knockout stages, their top position in the group stages has come as a bit of a surprise. Their performances over the years have always been characterised by sheer unpredictability, which makes them a formidable opponent on any given day. As per their seeding, Pakistan were expected to finish behind Australia and Sri Lanka, and beat New Zealand. But what happened was quite the opposite. They pulled off stunning wins over Sri Lanka and Australia, ending the latter's 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups. However, they lost heavily against New Zealand after an inept batting and bowling performance. West Indies, who were expected to face stern tests against Bangladesh and the other two lower-ranked teams, comfortably triumphed in the three matches. They bowled Bangladesh out for just 58 in Mirpur and went on to ensure their qualification for the next round. What has been less inspiring is their performance against the top teams. While they were not expected to topple India, England or South Africa, they have had their chances in all three teams and failed to grab them.

Pakistan better against top teams
West Indies have been more ruthless than Pakistan in the matches against the lower-ranked teams. They beat Netherlands by 215 runs and thrashed Bangladesh in Mirpur by nine wickets. Pakistan, on the other hand, comfortably got past Zimbabwe and Kenya, but fell for 184 against Canada before eventually defending the score with some disciplined bowling. In matches played against lower-ranked teams, West Indies have the better average and run-rate difference. The story is very different against the top teams. West Indies have a poorer bowling average and economy rate than Pakistan. West Indies, who have chased and lost on two out of three occasions against top teams, might prefer to bat first and post a big score against Pakistan, who floundered in a big chase against New Zealand. In 1996, fourth-placed West Indies faced top-ranked South Africa in the quarter-finals and pulled off an incredible win defending 264, which was set up by a stunning century by Brian Lara. One of their batsmen will have to stand up and deliver a similar emphatic performance for them to upstage Pakistan.

Pakistan and West Indies in the World Cup 2011 so far
Team Opposition Runs per wicket(batting) Run rate Runs per wicket(bowling) Economy rate Average diff RR diff
Pakistan Test-playing teams 28.13 4.87 28.61 5.07 -0.48 -0.20
West Indies Test-playing teams 21.16 4.69 31.91 5.21 -10.75 -0.52
Pakistan non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 33.25 5.22 14.85 3.46 18.40 1.76
West Indies non Test-playing teams and Bangladesh 34.94 5.91 13.46 4.06 21.48 1.85

Batting woes for both teams
Pakistan and West Indies have finished top and bottom of their respective groups, but the batting performances of both teams have been inconsistent. In the match against Sri Lanka, Pakistan's batting came good and enabled them to post an excellent score of 277 which they defended successfully. Against Australia, Pakistan's brittle batting was nearly exposed while chasing a modest 176. New Zealand, however, thoroughly exploited the weaknesses in Pakistan's top order, by reducing them to 23 for 4 in pursuit of 303, from which Pakistan never recovered. Pakistan's top order has been unconvincing except for Asad Shafiq, who top-scored against Zimbabwe and Australia. Their middle order has been doing much better, but is likely to be severely tested if faced with a competitive target and quality bowling attack.

West Indies' problems have been quite the opposite. Strong starts in almost every game have been frittered away and incredible middle order collapses have meant that they have finished well short. After the early loss of Chris Gayle against South Africa, they recovered and looked set to reach a score of 280 before a flurry of wickets in the end kept them down to just 222. Gayle provided an explosive start against England but again the middle order failed to capitalise. In their final group game against India, West Indies lost their last eight wickets for just 34 runs and lost by 80 runs after being in a comfortable position in their chase of 269.

Batting stats of top order and middle order of teams
Team Batting position Average Strike rate 100s 50s
Pakistan Top order (1-3) 24.70 69.19 0 2
West Indies Top order (1-3) 42.62 81.87 1 4
Pakistan Middle order (4-8) 33.68 81.69 0 6
West Indies Middle order (4-8) 19.80 86.08 0 2

Powerplay performances reflect batting worries
The consistent batting performance of the top order of West Indies is clearly reflected in the stats in the mandatory and bowling Powerplays. Their batting average and run rate are much higher than Pakistan's in the same phase of the innings. However, Pakistan have been the more incisive and economical bowling team in the first ten overs. The powerful lower-middle order of Pakistan has scored at a run rate close of 9.81 in the batting Powerplay. In the same period, though, West Indies have been unable to create an impact as a result of major middle-order collapses.

Performance of the teams in the Powerplays
Team Innings phase RR Batting Average ER Bowling average Run rate diff Dot-ball percentage Boundary percentage
Pakistan Mandatory Powerplay (overs 1-10) 4.41 21.33 3.66 19.85 0.75 78.16 58.59
West Indies Mandatory Powerplay (overs 1-10) 5.13 61.60 4.63 27.50 0.50 66.94 60.38
Pakistan Bowling Powerplay 3.58 34.66 4.50 33.75 -0.92 67.81 26.92
West Indies Bowling Powerplay 5.24 131.00 4.30 25.80 0.94 54.66 44.27
Pakistan Batting Powerplay 9.81 52.33 6.00 11.28 3.81 38.54 62.42
West Indies Batting Powerplay 8.00 23.33 6.07 9.75 1.93 46.66 62.85

The batting for both teams has been a let down in the tournament so far. Not surprisingly, Devon Smith is the only batsman from both teams to figure in the top 20 run-getters in the tournament so far. Kieron Pollard and Gayle have been good on occasions, but will need to step up if West Indies are to challenge the top teams in the knockout games. Not a single Pakistan batsman figures among the top 20 run-getters with Umar Akmal coming in much later on the list with 211 runs.

Pakistan the better balanced bowling side
Shahid Afridi, the most successful bowler in the World Cup with 17 wickets, could be a huge threat to West Indies, given that they haven't been comfortable against spin. Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq found form against Australia, and the right blend of pace and spin gives Pakistan a bowling edge over most teams. Pakistan's pace bowlers have been more impressive against right-handers, though, and the presence of a number of left-hand batsmen in the top order of West Indies could be a test for Pakistan's bowlers.

The West Indies pace attack has been quite a revelation all through, with Kemar Roach and Andre Russell being the pick of the bowlers. Ravi Rampaul also impressed with a five-wicket haul against India, and could get another game despite the return of Roach. Devendra Bishoo has been quite economical in the two games he has played, while Sulieman Benn did well in Mirpur against Bangladesh. Like Pakistan's attack, West Indies' bowlers have also relished bowling to right-handers.

Performance of pace bowlers and spinners against right handers and left handers
Type of Bowler Type of Batsman Average ER
Pakistan (pace) RHB 21.59 22
Pakistan (pace) LHB 29.66 4.20
West Indies (pace) RHB 16.04 4.95
West Indies (pace) LHB 26.66 4.48
Pakistan (spin) RHB 21.19 3.74
West Indies (spin) LHB 19.84 4.52
Pakistan (spin) RHB 19.42 5.62
West Indies (spin) LHB 53.00 5.18

Even record in recent times
In recent head-to-head clashes in global tournaments, the teams have been evenly matched. Pakistan won by five wickets in their most recent meeting in the Champions Trophy while West Indies won comfortably in their last World Cup meeting in the opening game of the 2007 World Cup. West Indies have an 8-3 record in global tournaments against Pakistan. Since 1999 though, both teams have won two games each when they have met in the World Cup and Champions Trophy. Overall, in matches played since 2000, Pakistan enjoy a much better record.

Mirpur, the venue for the match, has generally been a good batting wicket, but stats here are distorted because of the two batting failures by Bangladesh, when they were bowled out for 58 and 78 against West Indies and South Africa respectively. In recent games teams chasing have done much better in Mirpur, but in a crucial knockout game batting first might be the better option.