World Cup 2015: Pakistan March 18, 2015

Beating SA turned it around for us - Younis

ESPNcricinfo staff

Younis Khan on the win against South Africa: "After batting we did not have many runs on the board but we knew that with the conditions here if you pitch it in the right areas you may be lucky" © Getty Images

Pakistan batsman Younis Khan has said the side's fighting win against South Africa in Auckland turned their fortunes around and transformed the team into believing they could qualify for the knockouts. Pakistan struggled in the beginning of the tournament and followed the win against South Africa with a seven-wicket victory against Ireland to book a quarter-final berth.

"Before that game nobody was thinking about us qualifying for the finals, but after that game we were everywhere," Younis told ESPNcricinfo in an interview. "Now everyone knows this is a team that, if they play according to their plans on the day, maybe they will do well. Amazing things can happen and you learn a lot from these situations."

Younis spoke of the mindset going into that match. "There was a chance to play against South Africa and I didn't make a lot of runs but that 30-odd innings and the partnership with Sarfraz Ahmed was quite nice. Then the way we bowled, we all knew this was the game, we have to perform in this game. After batting we did not have many runs on the board but we knew that with the conditions here if you pitch it in the right areas you may be lucky, get some wickets and suddenly the bowlers were bowling very well that innings and everybody was motivated. Sometimes things happen like that, in the first over when Irfan got de Kock out, the momentum shifted to us and we grabbed that opportunity."

Younis spoke fondly of his captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, and the composure with which he carries himself. Younis also stated that it is Misbah's hunger to bat for long periods that rescues the team when they are in trouble.

"He is very calm. I think he's like Steve Waugh," Younis said. "When you watched him play he was very quiet but he's tough. He had a tough body, tough emotions. So Misbah is like Steve Waugh, he's calm, he's cool, but inside he's very strong. I've spent a lot of time with him and he's strong. Sometimes he looks like he's not strong but inside he's very strong and he wants to play for his country, his family, himself. Whenever the team is under pressure he has stood there and performed.

"The other thing is the hunger he shows with his batting all the time. Whenever you watch Misbah he wants to go there and play 100, 150 balls. He loves his batting, he doesn't show he's bored with batting. So that's why whenever Pakistan's batting is under pressure Misbah is there. That's why he performed well and that's why these things make him different to other captains."

Even though Younis, 37, had said a month before the World Cup that he would "play as long as I'm fit and hungry," Misbah, 40, had made it clear that he would quit ODIs after the World Cup, which could make the knockout against Australia his last ODI. Younis was confident that there were enough youngsters in the team to step up once the duo, and even Shahid Afridi, would leave the game.

"At the moment we have some of the best youngsters in the team," Younis said. "The way Ahmed Shazad is playing, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq is there as well. When Shahid Afridi is no longer in the team, Yasir Shah is there. When we're gone, our youngsters will be there and they will play even better than us."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy on March 19, 2015, 12:08 GMT

    If Pakistan bat first they shud go for 250 rather than 300 and end up with 200. There's nothing to loose as they're the underdogs.

  • faiz on March 19, 2015, 4:24 GMT

    I agree with aarifboy, younis and yasir must play against australia. we have 3 good pacers and with 2 full time spinners and a part time spinner would be perfect. in batting we need younis's experience to hold steady and not lose too many wickets to attack at the end.

  • Muhammad Ali on March 19, 2015, 2:36 GMT

    We as Pakistanis have to be optimistic about our team's chances against Australia. We hope and pray that Pakistan beats Australia. But realistically speaking, it will be a massive upset if Pakistan beats Australia. Australia has most aspects of the game covered, good aggressive batting and bowling together with fitness to last till the end in the field of a nail biting encounter. On the other hand, Pakistan have few sparks in the team but not yet fully gelled to give a decent team performance. Pakistan should not get carried away to be overly aggressive which will give ample opportunities to Australia to bring them down. India tried to do the same in WC 2003 final and were embarrasingly knocked down. Play to a proper & thoughtful game plan will help them.

  • Dummy on March 19, 2015, 1:13 GMT

    I am waiting for India to loose, that would take the wind out of their sail, and send a nice breeze towards me LOLZ

  • ESPN on March 19, 2015, 0:44 GMT

    Anubhav-th, will you indies still be supporting Pakistan if you lose to Bangladesh today.

  • Ajay on March 19, 2015, 0:40 GMT

    Australia's weakness lies in their bowling. Attack Starc upfront. Mitchel Johnson n Faulkner if they dont get early wickets will be pedestrian. So we are in for an upset. Pakistan will overcome the mighty paper kangroos

  • imran on March 19, 2015, 0:09 GMT

    Yeah,ok Muhammad98 your point is noted,but don't be too displeased if Australia lose.

  • Dummy4 on March 19, 2015, 0:02 GMT

    We wanna win to see this world cup under captaincy of the great misbah and the great Afridi

  • Misbah on March 18, 2015, 23:49 GMT

    That match was good for SA as well. They looked a different team yesterday in their first real test since then. Aus is the top team but may be overconfident.

  • Cricinfouser on March 18, 2015, 23:42 GMT

    We were cornered in 1992 against Aussies and we won, so are we again. Aussies entered as favorites but never necessary to be victors at the end. Lately some teams have performed better but that is history. History can be a pack of misleading notes which can take away from targets. If such history was to adjudge a champion, then there is no use of the event. It is three match event now. Do one by one and it is all yours Misbah. I want Misbah to keep his cool and killing aggression be expressed with bat, ball, field and address. I support team and your endeavors and endurance. I want each Pakistani player to ensure a commitment to the uniform, country and the winning spirit of the game. The team must wear a face and body language which thwart Aussies. Ignite your team with winning fire; cool, cool, committed and wining. Lifting world cup is higher scale than having a century and losing; Misbah Ul Haq, we are thirsty of trophy.

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