Misbah expects wide-open Cup

February 24, 2014

Misbah ul Haq expects a wide-open tournament when the 2014 Asia Cup kicks off on Tuesday but still likes his team’s chances of lifting the trophy, the Pakistan captain said on Sunday.
‘I think [it will be wide open], because these teams are equally good and all teams have ability to win against any side, so this will be a good competition,’ Misbah said at a press conference at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on Sunday.
‘The last Asia Cup was witness to that, where Bangladesh beat two big teams and came close to us. You can expect any team can win against any team, so it will be a good contest,’ he continued, recalling the 2012 final that saw Pakistan beat Bangladesh by two runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
‘The team is in good shape. I always believe that cricket is a confidence game and we’ve been really playing good cricket for the last three, four months, and that’s really going to help us, and if we remain confident and we just do our basics right we’re [in with] a good chance.’
The Pakistan captain said that the hosts would once again provide a stern test on home soil for the other teams.
‘Bangladesh is always a tough opponent in their own conditions because they know these conditions well and they’re really used to playing in these grounds.’
‘In the last Asia Cup everybody knows they beat India, they beat Sri Lanka, and we won two games very close. We have to put our hundred per cent and you can’t relax against them because they just give you upsets.’
Misbah also said that he did not expect Sri Lanka – who face Pakistan in the opener at Fatullah on Tuesday – to be at a significant advantage despite having just completed a highly-successful series in Bangladesh and having had the most recent exposure to local conditions.
‘It gives you a little bit of an advantage when you’re playing in certain conditions, but if you look overall, I think players, even the Pakistan team and the Bangladesh team, players are used to these conditions. They know how these wickets behave, and what to do on these sorts of wickets. So I think it will be okay.’
The veteran batsman also expects to receive the same sort of support that Pakistan have received in Bangladeshi crowds in the past.
‘I think so. We always enjoy playing in Bangladesh. When we are playing against Bangladesh, then mostly the people are supporting Bangladesh, but when we are playing against any other team it looks like we are playing at home.
‘So it’s really nice to be here and play, especially in Sher-e-Bangla. We played a World Cup quarterfinal here and that was also a game where we just felt like we’re playing in Lahore, so it’s good to be here.’

-With New Age input

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