LAHORE- Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ch Zaka Ashraf stressed upon colts to maintain their winning streak against arch-rivals as they set to face India in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the Under 19 World Cup on Monday.
In the knockout round, the first match will be played between England and South Africa today (Sunday) while in the second match on same day, defending champion Australia will take on Bangladesh.
Pakistan will play against India on Monday while West Indies face New Zealand on the same day. In Plate championship’s first match, Afghanistan will face Papua New Guinea while in the second match, Scotland will play against Zimbabwe today (Sunday).
Zaka Ashraf also congratulated Pakistan team for maintaining their winning spree in the mega event as they done well and finished initial round as an unbeaten team and topped their group. On the other hand, India looked struggling throughout the tournament and lost one match to get second position in their group.
The PCB chief advised colts to keep Pakistan flag high as nation expecting Eid gift from them in shape of victory against India. “Play your original game without any pressure as victory or loss are the part of the game. Do your best to stamp your authority against the arch-rivals,” he said.
Zaka hoped that Pakistan would beat India comfortably to breeze into the semi-finals of the U-19 World Cup and keep their hopes alive and remain in the contention for the mega event title.
The PCB chief is lucky enough that after assuming the cricket board charge, Pakistan senior team whitewashed England in three Test series 3-0 in UAE. Pakistan U-25 team won the SAARC Tournament title under the coaching of Sabih Azhar while U-19 team shared Junior Asia Cup honour with arch-rivals India again under coach Sabih Azhar.
Pakistan cricket team had so far won all their World Cup U-19 matches in Group B with utmost ease and comfort and is confident of beating arch-rivals India in the quarterfinal on August 20. If Pakistan manages to beat India, the win will not only confirm their status as the top team not only in the subcontinent, but also in Asia and it will also enhance their credentials for the future.
"Although Indians are tough opponents and the pressure is always on both sides when they play against each other at any level or format. I am sure the way my boys are playing, we will pull off victory and beat India in the crucial quarterfinal match," Sabih Azhar said.
"It will be typical Pakistan-India match and our players are very excited and ready to deliver. By the Grace of Allah, we will give the nation Eid gift by defeating India in the quarterfinal.
He said the team management was monitoring Indian weaknesses and they would take full benefit of their shortcomings to ensure victory for Pakistan. “We are well prepared and the win against India will really boost Pakistan team’s morale as we have a balanced side and our recent performances have been good as well. It is a good start for us and we have a good chance of increasing our tally of two world titles,” the coach added.
Sabih said that the players were focused and had set their sights on the trophy. “One thing we should be aware of is complacency creeping in. There is no such thing as India though struggling yet we expecting crunch match against the arch-rivals, he warned to the players.”
Looking ahead to the match, Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who is the second leading run-getter with 182 runs, said: "We played India in the Asia Cup in Malaysia before this tournament and we won one (by one run) while the other game (the final) ended in a tie. There is always a tight contest between us and we are expecting nothing different this time.”
"Our players are aware of how exciting this is for the supporters of both the teams. They know that there will be millions of fans glued to their screens seeing the action when we meet. The last time we met the games were exciting so we hope that continues."
India captain Unmukt Chand, who has scored 104 runs so far, said: "Pakistan will be a challenge but we have worked hard on our skills coming into the tournament and also on the mental side of our game. "We played Pakistan twice in Malaysia in June and learnt a lot from those matches. So, we are confident that we can perform very well not only in the quarter-final but also in the rest of the matches."