Babar Azam backs Pakistan to win T20 World Cup opener against India

Babar Azam

Babar Azam believes that Pakistan’s experience playing in the UAE will give them an edge when they face bitter rivals India in their first Super 12s match at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan will take on India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday 24 October, and the condensed nature of the tournament means that each match will be vital. Babar’s side have never lost a T20I at the venue, winning all six they have contested in the Emirati city.

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Babar feels that his side will benefit from the fact that the UAE has been a second home for Pakistan for more than a decade.

Babar Azam backs Pakistan to beat India

“We’ve been playing cricket in UAE for the past 3-4 years and we know the conditions really well,” said Babar Azam ahead of the T20 World Cup. “We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make. On the day who plays the better cricket, wins the match. If you ask me, we will win.

“All the players have entered the side after a good domestic performance. We have a lot to learn from the senior players in the side because they have so much experience, they have played the World Cup and leagues before. 7-8 players in our squad have also played the Champions Trophy before which brings out different confidence.”

Keeping the spirits up
Babar said that it was important for his team to maintain their high spirits as they go in search of another world title.

“Your belief and confidence as a group matter a lot before a tournament,” he said. “As a team, our confidence and morale are really high. We are not thinking of the past but the future. We are preparing for that. I am fully confident that we are well prepared and will play good cricket on the day.”

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Pakistan have roped in former Australia batter Matthew Hayden and Proteas seam stalwart Vernon Philander to bring a different dimension to their preparation.

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Babar is confident that Philander will help improve a bowling attack that could very well win his side the tournament.

“Hayden and Philander bring a lot of experience. Our attempt will be to learn from them as much as we can and quickly,” said Azam. “The boys have the ability to absorb quickly and mix with them.

“You can see Philander has already started working hard with the bowlers and you can see the past record, bowlers win you the tournament. Hasan Ali was our best bowler in the Champions Trophy. He will take the bowling line-up alongside him.”