On the eve of India-Pakistan match in the World Cup, Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selector of Pakistan, on Saturday said that the match between these two sides in the World Cup is a 'final' before a final.
"Whenever India and Pakistan take on each other in the World Cup, it's a final before a final. People are always excited about this match. The stadium has a capacity of 24,000 but 8 lakh people applied for the tickets of this match. So it gives you an idea of how big this match is," Inzamam told ANI as India takes on Pakistan in Manchester tomorrow.
Pakistan has never been able to defeat India in World Cup matches but Inzamam said past performances do not matter when these two sides take the field. It will all come down to how the team plays on the match day, he said.
"In India-Pakistan matches, past performances do not matter and it all depends on who is better on the match day. I hope Pakistan will come out triumphant and I hope people get to enjoy a good quality game of cricket. Pakistan has won just one match in the tournament so far. I hope the fortunes change for the team," Inzamam said.
"Everything has to happen once. Pakistan has never defeated India in World Cup, so the pressure will definitely be there on Pakistan. It'a big match, the pressure will always be there. If you perform well in this match, it gives you high satisfaction. I urge people to treat this match just as a match," he added.
Inzamam labelled India's skipper Virat Kohli as one of the greatest players and called the Indian team as a pretty balanced side.
"So far Kohli is the number one player. He's a great player, he's fast becoming the greatest player to come out of India. India has a balanced team and so far they have produced some good cricket in the tournament," Inzamam said.
Pakistan's bowling attack is considered to be the most lethal attack in the world. Inzamam said the bowlers have so far not been able to take early wickets, but he said the bowlers have the ability to scalp breakthroughs at regular intervals.
"Pakistan's strength has always been the bowling. In champions trophy, our bowlers were exceptional. So far our bowlers have not been able to scalp early wickets in the tournament, but the ability is definitely there so I hope for the best," Inzamam said.
When asked on who will be the finalists in the World Cup, Inzamam said Pakistan will definitely be one.
"Pakistan for me will be one finalist in the tournament. England has a quality team. Australia and India also have good teams," Inzamam said.
World Cup has been hampered by inclement weather and so far four matches have been abandoned due to rain. Inzamam said matches getting washed out can hamper team's chances in the tournament but he refused to blame ICC in any manner.
"Games getting washed out can hamper the team's chances in the World Cup. But it is unfair to blame ICC in this whole matter. I hope teams get a fair chance of playing their brand of cricket," Inzamam said.
India takes on Pakistan in their next match of the World Cup on June 16 in Manchester.
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