With Pakistan coming back from the verge of elimination in Super 12 to beat New Zealand and unexpectedly storm into the final of the Men’s T20 World Cup, skipper Babar Azam has reacted cautiously to the possibility of a summit clash with archrivals India while Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja took a cheeky dig at the team’s detractors.
With India set to take on England in the other semifinal on Thursday, Babar was asked about the possible clash between the arch-rivals in the final. The two former champions had clashed in a memorable final of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 in which India emerged victorious by five runs.
Asked about a rematch between the two sides in the final, Babar said his team will play fearless cricket whoever its opponent is in the summit clash.
However, he made it clear that India still has to fulfil their side of the bargain and have to beat England to reach the final.
“We can’t say right now which opponent will we be facing in the final. No matter which opponent comes, we will try to give our 100%. We always try to overcome challenges, and a final is bound to have pressure. You enter the final after passing through different phases in a tournament.
“When you reach final, you try to play fearless cricket. The kind of cricket we have played in the last 3-4 matches, we would look to continue that,” Babar said in the post-match press conference after his team’s 7-wicket victory over New Zealand.
While Babar scored 46, his opening partner Mohammad Rizwan slammed 52 after Shaheen Afridi claimed figures of 2 for 24 in 4 overs to help restrict New Zealand to a modest total.
While Babar was cautious with his response, PCB chief Ramiz Raja was not so. He took a dig at the team’s detractors by saying very few teams in world cricket could have risen to the occasion like this team and also reminded the fans of Pakistan’s similar fightback in the ODI World Cup of 1992 in Australia.
“#PakvsNz A perfect 10! Very few teams in world cricket would have risen to the occasion like Pakistan did today. Melbourne here we come again #WC92,” Raja wrote in a tweet after the match.
Pakistan had come back from the brink and defeated England in the final to win the 1992 ODI World Cup under the captaincy of Imran Khan, who had penned a special motivational message for Babar Azam’s team before the T20 World Cup semifinal against New Zealand.
Pakistan’s other former cricketers too were ecstatic in their reaction to the victory over New Zealand with impromptu bhangra in the studios of the television channels with which they are involved during the World Cup.
Former stars Shoaib Malik, Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq and Waqar Younis danced their hearts out in a Pakistani TV studios, expressing their joy at the team reaching the final and setting up the possibility of winning their second T20 World Cup title in the 2009 edition in England.