Under-pressure Pakistan skipper Afridi vows to improve on mistakes in must-win game against NZ
Mohali: At times, it would be easier to predict the trends in the stock market, than the Pakistan cricket team's performance. In one match they tend to hardly put a foot wrong, but in another they'll get everything wrong.
Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi during a practice session at PCA Stadium in Mohali yesterday. Pic/PTI
Shahid Afridi's men played mesmerising cricket in their ICC World T20 opener against Bangladesh in Kolkata, but lost tamely to arch-rivals India on Saturday at Eden Gardens.
The Men in Green now take on the most consistent team of the tournament, New Zealand, and Afridi & Co realise that any slip-up at the PCA Stadium here, will severely dent their chances of qualifying for the semis.
Back in 2009
And it's not that the Pakistanis haven't been in such situations before. They had a similar start to their eventually victorious 2009 World T20 campaign. Pakistan edged the Netherlands on net run rate to qualify for the Super 8s. They then lost to to Sri Lanka leaving them to have to win their next two ties. Younis Khan's men then beat New Zealand at Kennington Oval followed by a victory over Ireland to make the semis. And the rest is history.
Although Afridi's team is not looking too far ahead at the moment, if they win today, it can spark a revival of sorts.
"What people are saying is up to them, but as a captain, I am just concerned about my team and my performance. I have the belief in myself and my team's ability to make the best use of their skills in tomorrow's game.
New Zealand is a good team, they have been playing good cricket for a few years now, but conditions are different here. It's a different event. Humare andar woh jeetne ki bhook hai (we are hungry to win)," said Afridi on the eve of the clash against the Black Caps.
Tough times for Shahid
Pakistan's six-wicket loss to India at the Eden Gardens hasn't quite gone down well back home, with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan already announcing that he will sack Afridi as captain after the tournament.
Afridi though remained unfazed. "Even before the tournament, people had written us off. But I have stayed away from Twitter and Facebook. I am keeping myself away from all that is said in the media as well because I know how people are reacting back home. Whatever happens that's in the future, but our performance is in our hands. If you create a panic situation in the team, then it's difficult to sort things out. Miracles don't work in cricket. We have to stop repeating small mistakes and play good cricket," Afridi signed off.
Kane Williamson New Zealand
> He and Guptill get off to a flying start
> All-rounder Mitchell Santner continues his fine form
> Under-pressure Shahid Afridi fails with bat & ball
Shahid Afridi Pakistan
> Opener Sharjeel Khan gets his form back
> Pacer Mohammad Amir is bang on target
> Top-order batsmen Ahmed Shehzad, Mohd Hafeez fire
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