ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq said on Thursday Pakistan can rise up from the dust of recent defeats and steal the show in the ongoing World T20.
“Being a Pakistani, I would certainly back Pakistan to win the tournament and do well,” said Misbah. “Look how they performed in the first match; experts and cricket pundits were worried about the team’s batting, but only the top order took the game away from Bangladesh.”
The 41-year-old further believes captain Shahid Afridi’s performance was instrumental in the campaign opening victory against Bangladesh and he needs to fire consistently for Pakistan if they want to salvage a chance of winning the tournament.
“It was a good batting wicket in Kolkata but credit needs to be given to Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez for doing well,” said Misbah. “I feel Afridi’s performance is the biggest positive from the victory against Bangladesh. If he keeps going like this, then Pakistan can even win the World T20. I would again say that do not underestimate Pakistan, they can be the surprise package.”
Misbah also laid out a plan for the Pakistan team to beat India. “Matches against India are always crunch and pressure games,” said the Test captain.
“As a Pakistani player, you would not like to lose against them. But yes, still I feel Pakistan’s strength is bowling and India can only be beaten if the top order gets out early, like New Zealand did.”
Meanwhile, he also said that a loss against the Kiwis doesn’t rule India out of the World T20. “No, I don’t think [defeat against New Zealand] has dented India’s chances,” said Misbah.
“One loss can’t make or break any team. The pitch turned unexpectedly in Nagpur and I hope they will come back in the games to come. I wish them good luck,” he added.
Misbah also named his favourite players in the tournament as following: “I have always rated Virat Kohli as a tremendous cricketer. So in my list, he can be the one game-changer for India. From Pakistan, I have a lot of expectations from Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Amir; they can help Pakistan do well in the tournament. And of course, Martin Guptill from New Zealand and AB de Villiers from South Africa.”