Will see a new Pakistan team against Afghanistan, says Imam-ul-Haq

Written by Vipin Darwade

Pakistan opener Imam-ul-Haq said the team is confident that they can recover from back-to-back losses in the World Cup as they enter a crucial phase of their campaign. Pakistan will take on Afghanistan in Chennai on Monday, October 23 in their 5th World Cup 2023 match.

Pakistan began their World Cup campaign with wins against the Netherlands and a record chase against Sri Lanka. However, they were hammered by 7 wickets by arch-rivals India in the marquee World Cup match in Ahmedabad on October 14. Pakistan had a 5-day break to recover from their setback but they were humbled by Australia in Bengaluru in a high-scoring contest on October 20 as they fell well short of a 368-run target.

Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique got fifties but they were not able to convert it into a big knock in the chase in Bengaluru while captain Babar Azam’s form has come under the scanner.

Pakistan will face another tough challenge, this time against Afghanistan on what is expected to be a spin-friendly surface in Chennai. However, Imam is confident that Pakistan will be able to deal with the spin threat and get their campaign back on track.

“We have played 4 matches and we are 2-2. We are confident. We will accept that we did not play well in the last 2 matches. We will have to perform up to the mark. It matters a lot how you play on the given day. You can talk as much as you want. But it matters how you play on the day. We have talked about it. You will see a new team tomorrow in Chennai,” Imam told the press in Chennai on Sunday.

Imam is confident that Pakistan will be able to break into the top four in the World Cup 2023 points table if they win both their matches in Chennai.

After the Afghanistan clash on Monday, Pakistan will take on in-form South Africa on Thursday. The Proteas challenge will not be easy as the in-form side recovered from their shock defeat to the Netherlands by hammering defending champions England by 229 runs in Mumbai.

“Yes of course when you have two back-to-back defeats your morale is definitely down, but that is life and that is cricket. Ups and downs are a part of life and cricket.

“We always have a feeling of positivity in our camp, and we have backed everyone. Our players know that we have the ability to win the match on the day.

“So now we just talk about tomorrow’s match, that we will win it and so that when we go from here our points will be 4-2 [if we win both matches in Chennai],” he added.

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Vipin Darwade