Pakistan aim for 2 wins needed to advance
MIRPUR: Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said Saturday he is pleased archrival India has secured a semifinal berth at the World Twenty20 because it gives other teams a clear scenario of what’s needed to join them in the next stage.
“India has played very good cricket so far and it’s good they are through and the rest of the teams know what it will take to advance,” Hafeez said on the eve of Pakistan’s next Group 2 game against Bangladesh. “The picture is very clear. We have to win every game to enter the semifinals.”
Pakistan lost to India by seven wickets but defeated Australia by 16 runs in a high-scoring game. It now needs to beat both Bangladesh and the West Indies to advance.
India has won its first three games and is due to play Australia in the other game on Sunday.
“There’s no chance of making any mistakes and we’re ready for that,” Hafeez said. “Our guys showed great character in the last game and we’ve really trained hard over the last six days and worked on our weaknesses. I feel the building up for the crucial stage of the tournament has gone off very well.”
Hafeez said the 2009 champion was looking to win the tournament once again.
“We always look to do well in tournaments and expectations (from us) should remain high. Our target is not only to reach the semifinals but to win the tournament,” said Hafeez, confirming that batsman Umar Akmal had recovered from a hamstring injury he suffered during the match against Australia.
Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan conceded that his team was not in high spirits because of an off-color display that has seen it lose not just to the West Indies and India in the Super 10 stage but also its last qualifier to Hong Kong.
“The morale obviously is down, but the beauty of T20 cricket is that you can always come back in the next game,” Shakib said. “There’s no team that can say it will win. It’s so short, if you make a mistake, it’s hard to come back.”
Shakib said Bangladesh was not realistically in with a chance to qualify with games against Pakistan and Australia to go.
“Mathematically, maybe, we can qualify for semis but it is very hard for us to win the next two games,” he said. “The pressure will be less. That is the biggest thing, hopefully that will give us confidence to perform and may be cause an upset. That’s the best thing that can happen to us.”