Dubai: Pakistan will have revenge on their mind for a recent off-field snub when they take on New Zealand in the T20 World Cup here on Tuesday, looking to build on the historic high of beating arch-rivals India in their tournament opener.
For a lot of Pakistani fans, the team may have already won the World Cup by ending its 29-year-old World Cup jinx against India but the Babar Azam-led team has already shown the hunger for going all the way.
After the 10-wicket rout of India, Pakistan are fully capable of doing a Pakistan and self-destructing against the Black Caps, something that Babar discussed with his players in the dressing room after the win on Sunday night.
“We have not just come here to win against India, we have come here to win the World Cup, always remember that,” Babar said after the match, fully aware that excess celebrations would only disturb focus.
Former Pakistan captains too have cautioned the players against extended celebrations as the team needs to do a lot more to make the semifinals.
Babar’s team would be eyeing another big scalp in New Zealand, the team which recently withdrew from a scheduled series against Pakistan after landing there, citing a security threat that, according to the host country, did not exist.
The pullout hampered Pakistan’s World Cup preparations which took a further hit with England too withdrawing from the tour.
Babar had hardly minced words in criticising the two sides saying that his country has “always tried to accommodate the interests of the game but others simply don’t.
Tuesday’s game is being perceived by Pakistan’s cricket community as an opportunity for the team to extract revenge for the damage that New Zealand caused by going back without playing.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammed Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Hasan Ali, Harris Rauf, Shaeen Shah Afridi, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohamed Nawaz, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammed Wasim, Sohaib Maqsood.