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Crunch time at World T20; Pakistan and India to face-off

CRICKET: The World Twenty20 competition shifts into a higher gear in Sri Lanka this weekend when the hot favourites begin an intriguing race for the semi-finals in the Super Eights round, including arch-rivals India and Pakistan.


By Agence France-Presse

Friday 28 September 2012, 01:31PM


Pakistan cricket captain Mohammad Hafeez (2L) celebrates the run out of Bangladesh cricketer Tamlim Iqbal with teammates during the ICC Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 25, 2012

Pakistan cricket captain Mohammad Hafeez (2L) celebrates the run out of Bangladesh cricketer Tamlim Iqbal with teammates during the ICC Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 25, 2012

The clash between the two countries will be their first T20 international meeting since the inaugural World Twenty20 final in 2007. They face off on September 30 in Colombo as each team knows that national pride is on the line.

A well-balanced Pakistan, boosted by the presence of prolific spinner Saeed Anwar in a versatile bowling unit, are looking to break the jinx of never having beaten India in the 50-over World Cup or the World Twenty20.

"We know that every team can beat anyone else in T20. We aren't going to relax even a little bit. We know we have to work hard," said Pakistan captain Mohmmad Hafeez, who praised a complete team effort in all matches.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose young side defeated Pakistan in the 2007 final in Johannesburg, played down the hype before last Sunday's game.

"It's never about one team," said Dhoni. "One has to play consistently well through a tournament to win. We will take it one game at a time."

The preliminary league, which ended on September 25, separated the men from the boys as lesser teams like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan – despite gallant performances – and Ireland exited the competition.

Zest Real Estate

The road to the Super Eights was bumpy for some, a smooth ride for others, and with monsoon rains set to add to the uncertainty, the next round promises another roller coaster ride.

Australia, South Africa, India and Pakistan, clubbed together for the Super Eights in the 'group of death', all came through unscathed by winning both their preliminary matches.

In the other half, defending champions England, New Zealand and hosts Sri Lanka moved up with just one win each, with the West Indies going through without even winning a game.

Darren Sammy's Caribbean stars lost to Australia and then had their match against Ireland abandoned by rain, allowing them to scrape through with a superior run-rate over the Irish.

England had won the last edition in 2010 after a similar winless start in the preliminary round, but Sammy refused to derive any consolation from that.

 

 

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