Ahead of T20 World Cup, Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq expressed his belief that Pakistan will face a tough challenge against India in the upcoming match. He also mentioned that Pakistan will need to put in a lot of effort, considering the powerful bowling lineup of Team India.

India and Pakistan are set to face each other on June 9 in New York in what is expected to be the most anticipated league stage match of the T20 World Cup, starting on June 1 in the Americas. Out of the seven T20 World Cup matches played between the two teams, India has lost only once to Pakistan, which was in 2021.

While speaking on Star Sports Press Room, Misbah sadi, “You call it Pakistan’s jinx or mental block when it comes to playing India in World Cups. Pakistan will need to do a lot because this is a very skilled Indian team with a powerful bowling line-up and two good spinners.” 

“India has quality fast bowlers in (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Siraj and Hardik (Pandya). The Indian cricket team’s quality has risen many folds. It will be difficult to break, mental attitude matters a lot and Australia handles the mental side the best way, he added.

“There is no pressure of excess baggage with Australia, and it needs to been seen how both India and Pakistan handle that pressure.”

Furthermore, he highlighted Virat Kohli’s significant impact on matches between India and Pakistan. Calling him a top-class cricketer, Misbah added that Kohli enjoys supremacy over Pakistan mentally. 

“Kohli is going to be a big factor. He has damaged Pakistan many a time. He enjoys supremacy over Pakistan mentally. He takes motivation from big occasions and not pressure,” he said.

“The Virat Kohli effect will definitely be there. He is a top-class cricketer. He is one player who can win you matches, strike rates don’t matter. Good players take motivation from those voices or criticism.”

Misbah still hasn’t forgotten the ill-executed scoop shot in the inaugural T20 World Cup final against India in 2007. “In 2007 T20 World Cup, all teams were not so serious. India handed captaincy to a young (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. But the final between India and Pakistan, the greatest rivalry in the history of cricket. The hype that T20 got after that World Cup is immense.”

“The way T20 cricket flourished, I feel whatever we achieved and the current players are now plying their trade in different leagues and IPL is something great,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 16 May 2024, 11:25 AM IST

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