Pakistan players may be banned from competing in the Indian Premier League but TV footage of the lucrative tournament played a part in the team’s opening World Cup win.

Of the 15-man Pakistan squad, only all-rounders Mohammad Nawaz and Agha Salman had ever visited the country before this World Cup.

Nawaz was part of the team which played at the 2016 World Twenty20 while Salman turned out for the Lahore Lions in the 2014 T20 Champions League.

Current captain and star batsman Babar Azam was initially named in the 2016 T20 squad but withdrew with an injury.

“We have come to India for the first time so we don’t have much of an idea of playing in India,” admitted Saud Shakeel, man of the match as Pakistan defeated the Netherlands in Hyderabad on Friday.

“But we have seen a little bit of the IPL and some matches in Hyderabad so that helped.”

Shakeel certainly had few problems adapting to his new surroundings with a fine 68 in the 81-run win which helped Pakistan to victory over the Dutch.

Mohammad Rizwan also made 68 in a 120-run stand after Pakistan were reeling at 38-3 in Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.

Pakistan openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-haq fell for 12 and 15 respectively while Azam managed just an 18-ball five.

“The tournament has just started and we are playing in Hyderabad,” said Shakeel.

“Everyone knows that the ball stops early on here on this pitch. There are chances of losing a wicket.”

Pakistan next face Sri Lanka on Tuesday, also in Hyderabad, before their eagerly-awaited clash against arch-rivals India in Ahmedabad on October 14.


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Updated: 07 Oct 2023, 12:04 PM IST

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