Pakistan skipper Babar Azam stated that his teammates kept the history of the India-Pakistan World Cup rivalry out of their minds while preparing for the 2021 T20 World Cup.
After 12 losses over the past 29-and-a-half years, Pakistan finally managed a win over India in a World Cup match. In the tournament opener for both teams in Dubai, Pakistan crushed No.2-ranked India by 10 wickets.
The Babar Azam-led side didn’t have the ideal preparation before the mega event after New Zealand and England canceled their tours to Pakistan. Emphasizing their preparedness for the tournament, Babar Azam, in the post-match presentation, said:
“We kept the history [India’s 12-0 dominance] out of our mind. I focused on giving our players confidence, which is the need of the hour before a big tournament. We focused on quality practice, warm-up matches and even our domestic tournament before that where we gave our 100%.”
At a venue where dew was going to play a role, Pakistan won the toss and got the advantage of fielding first. Shaheen Afridi dismissed Rohit Sharma for a golden duck in his first over and it was his 22nd first-over T20 wicket in 62 innings.
“This was the team’s effort, and the early wickets helped us. The start that he [Shaheen Afridi] gave us with those early wickets of the openers boosted our confidence. Then our spinners came in and played their part. We had already made our plans and got the desired results for executing them well,” said Babar Azam after the big win on Sunday.
Pakistan’s batting strength is the form of their openers. Chasing 152 to win, skipper Babar Azam and his deputy Mohammad Rizwan struck their fourth hundred-run partnership in 2021 to see Pakistan home.
“As openers, we kept it simple and worked according to our plan, building a partnership. The wicket had got better, and we wanted to bat till the end, which we did,” added Babar Azam, who slammed a 52-ball unbeaten 68 in the match.
India had lost three wickets in their powerplay. Virat Kohli (57) and Rishabh Pant (39) helped India to 152, but it wasn’t going to be enough on the good batting surface and the dew around.
"Won’t be easier for us just because we beat India" - Babar Azam
Babar Azam and his Pakistan side are looking at one game at a time. Despite beating India, one of the tournament favorites, the Pakistan skipper doesn’t believe the journey ahead will be any easy.
“The win in the first game boosts our confidence, and we will take that ahead in the tournament. It won’t get any easier for us just because we beat India. We are taking one match at a time, and it’s a long way to go in the tournament,” Babar Azam further added.
Pakistan, who have not lost a T20I in UAE since November 2015, will next play New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday.
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