Babar Azam, Pakistan skipper, on Monday said he and his players were proud to have made history by beating India for the first time in a World Cup match. On Sunday, Pakistan humiliated their arch-rivals, romping to a ten-wicket victory in the Twenty20 World Cup in Dubai, sparking starkly contrasting reactions.
The win was Pakistan’s first win in 13 World Cup matches (seven in the 50 over World Cup and six in the Twenty20 World Cup) dating back to 1992 in Australia.
Babar Azam: Definitely A Proud Moment For Pakistan
Earlier, Virat Kohli’s half-century helped India recover from a disastrous start (India was reduced to 6/2) and post 151/7 against Pakistan in Sunday’s ICC T20 World Cup match.
“It is definitely a proud moment for me as well as for all my players that we have made history,” Babar told AFP in an exclusive interview.
Lanky paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start with the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul off his first seven deliveries. He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India’s top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.
Babar Azam, along with fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan knocked off the target in 17.5 overs without losing a single wicket. Babar Azam hit 68 not out, while Mohammed Rizwan finished with an undefeated 79.
“We realise how important and how much needed that win is as everyone wanted us to win and to have made history is one of the defining moments in our careers,” said Babar.
“I had said before the match that records are meant to be broken so we have broken that jinx and we are very happy, in fact, the whole country is happy and celebrating.”
Babar Azam said the ‘special’ match was as usual, of high intensity.
“All of us know that when Pakistan plays India there is very high intensity and it’s a pressure game,” he said.
“The whole world waits for this match, so it is a special match.”
Babar Azam admitted the noise in the stadium made his task of arranging his fielders tough.
“The stadium was nearly packed,” said Babar of the Dubai stadium where a 70 percent crowd was allowed in under relaxed Covid-19 restrictions.
“There was so much noise in the stadium that I found it tough to call my players.I told them to keep looking at me so that I can move the fielders in between overs. We have gelled well over the years so we are used to that. The response from the players was extraordinary. We got a head start in bowling when Shaheen got us wickets and then we batted as per our plan.”
India lost both their openers for the score of just six. Rohit Sharma was out off an inch-perfect yorker while KL Rahul saw his off stumps flying. This was Pakistan’s first ten-wicket win in all Twenty20 internationals and the first defeat by this margin for India.
Babar Azam: Pakistan Prepared Well In The National T20 So New Zealand And England’s Pullouts Didn’t Affect Much
Babar Azam said he had been part of two defeats against India, in the Junior U-19 World Cup in Australia in 2012 as skipper and then at the 2019 World Cup in England, so it was a much-desired win for him.
“I remember that we lost to India in the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup in 2012 so it was a much-desired thing to beat India,” he said.
Babar Azam said his team prepared well ahead of the tournament, despite New Zealand abandoning a tour due to a security alert last month without playing any of the eight limited over games scheduled. England followed suit in withdrawing its men’s and women’s teams from touring ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup.
“We prepared well in the National Twenty20 in Pakistan,” said Babar.
“Our plan was to keep things simple and through that, we affected that turnaround.”
Pakistan next plays New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday. Pakistan had limited-overs series against England and New Zealand scheduled at home ahead of the T20I World Cup, but the tours never came to fruition. Both boards pulled out at the last minute to tour Pakistan, citing security concerns and the wellbeing of players. New Zealand had even arrived there, but withdrew a few minutes before the toss happened.