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Commonwealth Games 2018: India have edge but it can be anybody's game, Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Bhatt

668   //    06 Apr 2018, 16:13 IST

The most awaited fixture

New Delhi, April 6 ( PTI ) Veteran Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt has accepted that India have an edge going into the mouth-watering clash between the arch-rivals in the Commonwealth Games here tomorrow.

"Definitely, India will have an edge as they have been playing a lot of hockey. Indian hockey is growing and so is its performance. But you can never predict the outcome of an India-Pakistan match as five minutes can change the whole scenario. It can be anybody's game then," Butt told PTI Bhasha over the phone from Gold Coast.

India, who reached the final in 2010 and 2014, will begin their campaign tomorrow while Pakistan have played a 1-1 draw against lower-ranked Wales.

"It will be a contest of how well you cope up with the pressure of this big encounter. Which ever team will control emotions and do not succumb to the pressure, will win. There will be counter to counter hockey and both the teams will have additional motivation to win," said the goalkeeper who is making a comeback in the team.

Their last Commonwealth Games face-off happened in the 2010 Delhi edition where India won 7-2.

Overall, the record stands 1-1 between the two sides as Pakistan had the last laugh in the 2006 Games in Melbourne. The teams squared off most recently at the Asia Cup in Bangladesh last year when India claimed the honours.

Imran is confident that tomorrow's match will not be a one-side affair in favour of India.

"I can only say that it is no way going to be a one-sided match. It will be the best match of CWG . Although our target is not CWG and we are preparing for Asian Games so that we can qualify for Olympics. We will play India in the first match of Champions Trophy also so CWG will be a learning experience for our team," he said.

India's former head coach Roelant Oltmans is not coaching Pakistan team and Imran said that it will be an added bonus for them.

"Roelant has been with Indian hockey for a long time and has given his services to Pakistan hockey in the past. He has vast knowledge of Asian teams and he is in process of rebuilding the structure of our hockey," he said.

He also opined that playing each other early in the tournament will benefit both the teams.

"It is the most pressure match and it will be easier for both the teams after this match. Once the pressure is released, we can play with more ease," Butt added.

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Press Trust of India (PTI) is a news agency in India
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