Momentum with us now: Pakistan players

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Kolkata, March 16 (IANS) Buoyed by their emphatic win against Bangladesh in their World Twenty20 group encounter at the Eden Gardens, Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi and top order batsman Mohammad Hafeez on Wednesday said the momentum was with them which will help them in the rest of the tournament.

Afridi, who powered his team to a 55-run victory with an all-round display, expressed satisfaction over his own performance as well as that of the team.

“I was keen to perform well for my country in this event. As captain, as senior player, I had to lead by example,” said Afridi, who was chosen the man of the match for his 2/27 with the ball and 49 off 19 balls with the bat.

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“I don’t want to talk about the past, we should learn from our mistakes and India have been playing good cricket, even with the last loss. Captaincy is not an easy job, but when the team gives you 100 percent, I enjoy it. People expect me to bat and ball as well and I enjoy both,” said the all-rounder who has been facing flak back home over his remarks that Pakistani players get more love in India.

Afridi was also effusive in praising batsmen Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez who played important knocks in the game.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, Hafeez exuded confidence that the team will continue to do well in the rest of the tournament.

“It was very good display by the team, the bowlers did well, the batsmen scored runs, so we have the momentum which will help us in the rest of the tournament.

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“It was important for us to start off on a winning note which we have done. Our confidence is back and Afridi’s knock was very crucial for us to get the momentum for the team,” Hafeez said.

Talking about Afridi’s performance, Hafeez said: “It’s great to see someone who was under tremendous pressure from the media, from the people, to come up with such a strong performance. This shows his character and it’s great for the team to see him performing so well both with the bat and the ball. His performance will not only boost his own confidence but that of the entire team.”

He also refused to read much into being clubbed with India, Australia and New Zealand in the same group.

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“I have been playing in the last three World Twenty20 cups, and we are always in the group of death. So we have gotten used to this,” he said, adding that spinners will continue to play a crucial role in the tournament.

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