Warm-up defeats don't count for much - Intikhab
Pakistan's twin losses in the World Twenty20 warm-up matches will count for little once the action starts in the main tournament, coach Intikhab Alam believes. Runners-up in the inaugural edition two years ago, Pakistan suffered a 59-run defeat against South Africa in their first warm-up match, before arch-rivals India thrashed them by nine wickets two days later.
"What happened in those two matches will not matter once the real thing starts," Intikhab told AFP. "We may be slow starters but there is a lot of talent in the team that gives me confidence we will do well. We tried a lot of new things and new combinations in the two matches to get the mix right for the tournament, so the results there don't matter."
Pakistan are placed in Group B alongside hosts England and Netherlands. While Netherlands might be the weaker among the three, Intikhab said they would have to be on their guard if they are to be among the two teams advancing to the Super Eights.
"England have the advantage of playing at home and I don't want us to take the Dutch likely," Intikhab said. "We can't afford to blink even one moment. The boys know they have to be on their toes all the time."
He also expected the spinners to play an important role in the tournament. "It will seam a bit but the slow bowlers can go a long way in restricting the run-rate," Intikhab said. "We have ensured we have a good mix of seamers and spinners to choose from. It is wrong to think spinners have no role in Twenty20 cricket. They take wickets, they are economical, what else can one want from a bowler."
Pakistan take on England in their opening fixture at The Oval on Sunday and face Netherlands two days later at Lord's.