ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali

Hafeez backs 'strongest attack in the world'

ESPNcricinfo staff

March 26, 2011

Comments: 313 | Text size: A | A

Mohammad Hafeez trapped James Franklin LBW for 1, New Zealand v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup, Pallekele, March 8, 2011
Mohammad Hafeez is part of a successful Pakistan bowling attack © AFP
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Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan allrounder, has backed his team to come up trumps in the World Cup semi-final against India, who, he claimed, would be up against the "strongest bowling attack in the world". Pakistan's bowlers, led by Shahid Afridi, the tournament's highest wicket-taker, have set up wins for their team in six of their seven games so far in the World Cup.

"We believe that we have the strongest bowling attack in the world at the moment," Hafeez said. "That is the key. Our bowling is our strength and our batsmen are just supporting them in whatever way is required."

Hafeez, who bowls offspin, opened the bowling in Pakistan's quarter-final win against West Indies and is part of an attack that has shaped up to be among the most threatening this tournament. Umar Gul had been successful in the late overs, Afridi's variations have proved difficult to deal with, left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman have chipped in while Saeed Ajmal and Abdul Razzaq have also been effective. Shoaib Akhtar, who will retire from international cricket after the World Cup, is also waiting his turn in the knockouts.

"At the moment, we definitely rely on our bowling but we know we are capable enough as batsmen to achieve any total," Hafeez said. Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka in their chase to 266, faltered against New Zealand in their only defeat thus far in the competition, and stepped up against Australia and West Indies to bowl both of them out for under 200.

The surface in Mohali, the venue for the semi-final, has traditionally been favourable for fast bowling, though Hafeez said Pakistan were prepared for anything. "We really don't care about the pitch; whatever it will be, we are good enough to perform to the best of our ability."

Pakistan haven't played in India since 2007 and the build-up to this high-profile clash has been massive. "For me this is the best cricketing opportunity as an individual player, to perform in such a pressure game, the semi-final of a World Cup and especially Pakistan-India."

Pakistan have played India on four occasions in World Cups and have been beaten each time. History, though, mattered little to Hafeez. "Yes, Pakistan has not defeated India in the World Cup, but in the last 12 years, Australia also had not lost a single World Cup game. But then they lost to us (by four wickets) and to India.

"There is no point thinking about the past. We think about the day; whoever the opponent is, we try to win on the day."

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 313 
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Posted by senthil on (March 29, 2011, 10:53 GMT)

Hi wat happen to indian spectators and indian team, there is no comments supporting india......... its rediculous.

Posted by Muhammad Afnan on (March 28, 2011, 23:45 GMT)

well its always on the day who performs better and have control over their nerves will win the match , i think india will have more pressure than pakistan :)

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 28, 2011, 19:43 GMT)

In the world cups, i think, pakistan team always had a good bowling attack as compared to india n its not a new thng to say that pak have a good bowling attack i nths world cup too. bt everyone knows wts the stats says india lead 4 - 0 in wc against pak. n i m sure ths time its gng to be 5- 0 in mohali.......go india go!!!! wc2011 is all urs.

Posted by Fadzai on (March 28, 2011, 12:26 GMT)

It will be nice to have the Indian crowd silenced. Being a SL supporter, i am routing for Pak. Go Pak!!! We will meet you in the final.

Posted by Coolest on (March 28, 2011, 11:44 GMT)

I wonder where is Parveen Kumar??? He was selected for the 15 member world cup squad but then was replaced by Sreesanth due to an injured elbow. But he should be fit by now since it has been more than 3 months when he got injured before the start of the one-day series in South Africa. I think everyone has forgotten him, he has been the leading wicket taker for India in the he past couple of years. Why not bring him back to support Zaheer Khan and strengthen the fast bowling attack, which is the only weakness in this Indian team.

Posted by SudhaPrakash on (March 28, 2011, 11:36 GMT)

SA and AUS were the best bowling unit in thid WorldCup. When India can play them easily, not sure how Pakistan can cause troubles to this Indian batting line-up.

Posted by Grant on (March 28, 2011, 11:13 GMT)

India certainly has a great long batting line-up, however this is not test cricket. There are obviously only 300 balls in the innings, and I don't see all of their superstars getting a turn to blast away at the crease. If anything, their top order has shown a tendency to waste overs hogging the limelight (eg. Tendulkar's 2 match-losing centuries, and a tired Sehwag vs Bangladesh). Their middle order is short of decent match practice against quality bowling (collapsing against SA and Windies). Then they were rescued by a good Yuvraj performance against an unbalanced Australian pace attack, but Pakistan has the bowling variety and firepower to restrict India to a gettable total that the sub-par Indian bowlers will struggle to defend (Does the England game ring a bell?). Anything below 300, and it's game on.

Posted by Salahuddin on (March 28, 2011, 11:09 GMT)

Neither batting nor bowling will be key to winning it is going to be fielding which will decide the outcome of the match.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 28, 2011, 10:45 GMT)

Shahid Afridi is the surprise packet, but will he surprise India sufficiently, is the question. Win the toss, and field first. The dew will take care of the rest of the game. Tendulkar looks poised to get that crucial hundred. Harbhajan needs to get going. Toss the ball up, pitching it just outside off. My take is that the team fielding first will win.

Posted by MOHAMMED on (March 28, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

I think for Pakistan to Win this match, they shud win the Toss & Bat First and shud post a challenging total, over or very close to 300, than take early wickets to put pressure on India, bcoz this Indian team bat very very deep. So the most important thing for pakistan is their batting, ofcource the Bowling shall come good as well if at all they win this Match. Opening batsman shud lay avery solid platform for guys like Misbah, Younis, Afridi, U.akmal,ABDUL RAZZAQ (he is due for abig one). Pakistan shud make 1 Change Akthar shud replace Riaz, keep Ajmal for yuvi, gautham & Raina. Best of Luck Pakistan.

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