Former champions Pakistan and India will give a taste of things to come as they clash in a warm-up game in Colombo to set the perfect launch for the ICC World Twenty20 that gets underway tomorrow.
Although the game will not go down in the record books, both teams would be raring to win, promising an exciting warm-up battle, the only one out of the 12 practice games that will be broadcasted on television.
The game has been dubbed as a battle between the strong Indian batting line-up versus the Saeed Ajmal-led Pakistan bowling attack which has shown significant stride in recent times.
But Pakistan batsmen, including the swashbuckling Imran Nazir, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq and Shahid Afridi, are targeting impressive performances as well after taking a dose from the legendary Javed Miandad. The warm-up fixture has been termed as vital by experts who feel the winning team will go into the mega event high on confidence.
After losing to New Zealand in the one-off Twenty20 international, India defeated Sri Lanka in their first warm-up match, courtesy a five-wicket haul by Irfan Pathan. They would, however, be hoping for an improved show with the bat from Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh.
The archrivals are drawn in separate groups but are seeded to meet in the Super Eight round if they get through. India won the inaugural World Twenty20 title, beating Pakistan in the final, while the latter claimed the honour two years later.
‘We will go all out against India’
Meanwhile, Kamran said his team was taking the practice game seriously.
“It is a warm-up match but we will go all-out for a victory,’ said Kamran. ‘The win against India will definitely boost our confidence. I am hoping to do well and contribute with the bat as well as from behind the stumps. I am ready to perform at any position as per the team’s requirements.”
Pakistan manager Naveed Akram Cheema said his team was in high spirits and wanted to start their campaign with a win. It will be the first meeting between the archrivals since the Asia Cup encounter in March, which India won after a superb ton by batting sensation Virat Kohli.
Misbah predicts exciting battle
Meanwhile, Pakistan Test and One-Day International captain Misbahul Haq predicted an exciting battle in today’s game.
“It is going to be a tough match,” said Misbah. “India have players who can single-handedly snatch victories. Pakistan, on the other hand, have a very good bowling combination that is one of the best in the world. Our batsmen need to show responsibility and a good performance from them will help the team.”
“India have players who can single-handedly snatch victories from any given position. Pakistan, on the other hand, have a very good bowling combination that is one of the best in the world.”
‘It is a warm-up match but we will go all-out for victory. The win against India will definitely boost our confidence ahead of our World Twenty20 opener. I am hoping to do well for the team.’
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2012.
More in PakistanCricket: It will be very tough for England, says Mascarenhas