Refreshed Pakistan back in action

March 30, 2014

Pakistan will return to action in the World Twenty20 today after a week’s break knowing that they have the semi-final spot within the sight should they win their two remaining games in the Super-10 round in Dhaka. India have already booked a place in the semi-final leaving Pakistan, West Indies, Australia and Bangladesh to vie for the other slot from the group. Pakistan must beat hosts Bangladesh today and the defending champions West Indies on Tuesday to join their arch-rivals in the last four and maintain their record of reaching at least the semis in every edition.
‘The picture is clear,’ Hafeez said on Saturday. ‘We have to win both games to make sure we are in the last four. There is no scope to make mistakes now and we are eager to get back to the field.’
Pakistan lost to India in their opening match by seven wickets but bounced back to hand a 16-run defeat to Australia in their second match before the week-long break.
Hafeez said the break had a positive impact on the side.
‘We used the time well and the players got a good rest and we also had good net sessions,’ Hafeez said of the break. ‘Couple of weakness we spotted in our previous games, we tried to sort them out.
‘The boys gave everything in the nets. We are gearing up now for the crucial stage in the tournament.
‘The schedule was drawn a long time ago and we knew that we have to go through a period where we will not be playing games for a week.
‘The team management had planned things out well. The boys enjoyed themselves too. Rest and hard practice done. High intensity training is being done. We are ready,’ said Hafeez.
Should Pakistan win against the struggling home side, it will effectively eliminate Australia and keep the battle for semi-finals limited to Pakistan and West Indies.
In this scenario, Pakistan’s Tuesday’s game against the Caribbean will virtually be a quarter-final. A Pakistan win over Bangladesh will also make the run-rate irrelevant as the winners between Pakistan and West Indies will advance to the semis.
Hafeez said he is fully aware of the situation.
‘The way I see things, I don’t think net run-rate will be an issue,’ he said. ‘We know, to progress, we have to win. We had discussed it earlier too.
‘It’s good to be in a situation where you have to win every match. The body language and energy remain high. We will take it one game at a time,’ he said.
Hafeez, however, refused to take things for granted unlike the officials and fans back home.
Pakistan Cricket Board president Najam Sethi recently said in Lahore that Pakistan will reach the semi-finals and some Pakistani players echoed the same words when talking to the local media. Hafeez was not sure if it was confidence or a kind of expectation.
‘It is better that the people who commented explain,’ said the all-rounder. ‘As far as expectations go, all the fans of each participating team expect their side to win the tournament.
‘Pakistan fans are no different. Expectations should remain high. As a team we try and meet those expectations.
‘It’s not our target to only reach semis. Our target is to win the tournament and the way the team defeated Australia defying all odds, it gives belief that we will do well,’ he said.

-With New Age input

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