Pakistan’s former captain, Misbah Ul Haq believes the team is lucky to still have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals after putting up a flop show during a major chunk of the tournament so far.
Misbah, who led the team during World Cup 2015, said that Pakistan will have to be at their best to beat New Zealand, especially they will have to improve their fielding during the key contest.
“Pakistan still have got a chance after such poor performances, it is a game that Pakistan should consider as final,” said the former skipper. “This game will decide the fate of Pakistan in the tournament.”
New Zealand are in prime form, the way they won their games against South Africa and the West Indies after a nail-biting finish, suggests how tough as a unit they are.
On the other hand, Pakistan have got the confidence and momentum back after beating South Africa convincingly by 49 runs, however, the contest against the Kiwis will be a different ball game altogether.
Misbah praised Pakistan’s approach against South Africa, where they batted first after winning the toss despite overcast conditions and were aggressive in their approach from the word go.
“There is a lot of room for improvement in Pakistan’s performance, they should not repeat the fielding lapses,” he said. “Moreover, body language is very important, it was down a bit against Australia and India, but it was much improved in the game South Africa right from the start.”
The 45-year old advised the team to focus on one match at a time, instead of weighing the scenario for the advancement in the tournament, they have to win all of their three remaining matches to stay in the World Cup.
The experienced campaigner does not want any change in the winning combination, except Shaheen Shah Afridi, who he believes still struggling with his length.
“If the team management is satisfied with him [Shaheen] then they should persist with him, but if [Mohammad] Hasnain is fit, they can go with him.”
Pakistan have faced New Zealand eight times in the World Cup, where the Men in Green have stood tall six times, while the Blackcaps have tasted victory twice. Pakistan will take on New Zealand at Edgbaston today.