Seeking a flying start to their ICC Champions Trophy campaign, Pakistan are desperate to come with all guns blazing against the West Indies in their opening Group B game today at The Oval.
Tagged as the ‘unpredictables’, both opponents share similarity in their traits of lifting their games significantly on big occasions.
For the Chris Gayle-inspired West Indies, The Oval has been a lucky venue as they won their maiden Champions Trophy title at the ground nine years ago.
However, Pakistan, who along with England are yet to have won the coveted title, are determined to win its last edition.
The inconsistent batting has been dubbed as a concern for Misbahul Haq’s side but the captain was confident of a good show from his ranks in both departments.
He dismissed the batting woes, saying all batsmen are in good form and looking to contribute.
“I think everybody’s in good form,” said Misbah at the pre-match press conference. “[Mohammad] Hafeez is in good form. Imran [Farhat] has scored some runs. Asad Shafiq looks in decent touch, and especially in the low order, [Shoaib] Malik and Kamran [Akmal] have runs under their belt while Wahab Riaz contributed as well.
“So we are happy with the confidence we are taking into the tournament.”
The veteran also expected a fine show from the bowling attack that is missing the injured Umar Gul.
“Gul is our most experienced bowler, but I think the guys who are new at the international level are really bowling well.
“And the way Asad Ali and Wahab have been bowling, we really are confident that we have a good bowling side. Then we also have the best pillars in Saeed Ajmal and Hafeez. Everybody knows the difference they can make.”
‘Special plan to curb Gayle’
Misbah said the first match will be crucial and his team has prepared a plan to stop the in-form Gayle.
“Every team has plans against these kind of players, who are match winners on their day. We also have some plans against him. It’s a matter of execution.”
The captain said he was happy with his current form and will do his best to
continue his recent prolific run.