World T20 News: 'Pakistan Keen To Open World Cup with a Win over Arch Rivals India'
By Shruthi SU | March 13, 2014 3:56 PM EST
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez feels that the India vs Pakistan match on 21 March is perfect to not only open the group phase of the World T20 in the best possible manner, but also to go all the way in the tournament.
"As a player and as a captain, I am very happy that our first match is against India and from there we will, get a good take-off and will perform better in all the matches during the tournament," Hafeez told reporters. "Winning against India will give us much-needed momentum.
"It's a pressure game wherever you play against them. You have pressure from the media, your nation and when you perform well against them it gets easy for you. It's a very important game for us."
Pakistan were the World T20 Champions in 2009 beating Sri Lanka in the final and runners up in 2007 having lost to archrivals India. Pakistan come to the tournament with a decent Asia Cup experience where they lost to Sri Lanka in the final.
"You have to be positive in your thinking against all teams and guard against complacency," Hafeez added. "Two things are very important in a big tournaments - one is momentum which you have to carry, and we performed well in the Asia Cup. The second is luck and with the prayers of our countrymen, the luck factor will also be with us.
"The approach is clear as we have to play hard cricket and there should be no fear of failure. In short-form cricket you can't recover if you make a mistake, and we will try not to commit mistakes."
The Pakistan team leaves for Bangladesh on Thursday [13 March] to play two warm-up matches against New Zealand on 17 March in Mirpur and South Africa on 19 March in Fatullah. But, their star performer Shahid Afridi is likely to miss the warm-up games due to an injury suffered in the Asia Cup, and will join the team once the tournament proper kicks-off, starting with that epic battle against India.
"We have one week with a couple of warm-up games to tune up the side and everyone is acquainted with the conditions in Bangladesh," the Pakistan T20 skipper said. "Fitness might have been the concern during the Asia Cup but it happens when you play back-to-back matches. Everyone is fine. Afridi's is not that serious and he will be fit. He is going through rehab and as a captain I need a fit Afridi, that's why we have given him time."
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