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Expect Babar special today, warns Matthew Hayden

Updated on: 09 November,2022 07:55 AM IST  |  Sydney

Pakistan team mentor Matthew backs under-fire skipper to perform against gritty Kiwis; NZ captain Kane Williamson wary of opponent’s pace battery

Expect Babar special today, warns Matthew Hayden

Pakistan mentor Matthew Hayden (left) and skipper Babar Azam at a training session. Pics/Getty Images

Pakistan team mentor Matthew Hayden has backed his under-fire skipper Babar Azam to produce “something very special” in the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup. Babar has failed to fire in the ongoing showpiece, with a 33-ball 25 against Bangladesh being his best in the last five matches.

‘Won’t be down for too long’

“Don’t be surprised whatsoever if you don’t see some fireworks because very special players don’t often stay down for long,” Hayden said during the pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final against New Zealand.

Also Read: Matthew Hayden: Other teams didn’t want to see us, but we are here

Kane Williamson trains ahead of their semi-final clash in SydneyKane Williamson trains ahead of their semi-final clash in Sydney

“There’s no question that Babar has been under some adversity...There’s got to be moments in time where there’s a lull. And as we all know about the weather, once there’s a lull, there’s often a storm that follows. So look out, rest of the world, because I think you’re about to see something very special from Babar.”

Miraculous semis entry

Pakistan were staring at an exit after losing to India and Zimbabwe, but The Netherlands’ shocking win over South Africa opened up the door and they beat Bangladesh in their final Super 12 match to seal the semi-final spot.

Talking about their semi-final opponents, Hayden said New Zealand will pose multiple threats to Pakistan. “I think New Zealand have some really destructive players, you can be put under pressure with the bat...They’ve also got a terrific bowling attack, a well-balanced bowling attack. Good mixture of experience,” the 51-year-old said.

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was wary of Pakistan’s bowling attack. He said, “They’ve got an outstanding pace attack. Like I mentioned, they’ve been playing really good cricket. They’ve got very experienced players on their side, who are match-winners. So, that’s a real strength for them.” 

Seeking their maiden World Cup title, New Zealand made it to the final of the T20 World Cup last year losing to Australia, won the inaugural World Test Championships against India, and also played the 2019 ODI World Cup final at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in which they suffered a heartbreaking loss to England, the result being decided on boundary count-back rule.

“You come to these tournaments, and as we’ve seen, all teams can beat each other on any given day and it’s definitely a pretty exciting event,” added the New Zealand skipper.

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