Updated May 15th, 2024 at 18:54 IST

'He has damaged Pakistan': Misbah-ul-Haq reveals REAL REASON why PAK can't beat India in World Cup

Pakistan has never beaten India in an ODI World Cup match in 8 attempts. When it comes to T20 World Cup, India have lost to Pakistan just once in 7 matches.

India beat Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2007 and 2022 | Image:AP/ICC
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India vs Pakistan is the biggest rivalry in world cricket. The South Asian neighbours have a long-standing conflict, reflected when the two nations meet at ICC events. The world stops to witness the two nations fight it out on the cricket field with social media and viewership breaking numbers every year. After continuous tensions at the borders and terrorist attacks on India, the Indian cricket team has stopped all bilateral ties with Pakistan. 

The two only meet when their is a multi-team tournament like the World Cup or Asia Cup takes place. However, the rivalry is as one-sidedly dominated as it can get. Pakistan has never beaten India in an ODI World Cup match in 8 attempts. It is a 8-0 record in favour of India in the 50-over format. 

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When it comes to T20 World Cup, India have lost to Pakistan just once (in 2021) in seven T20 World Cup matches. But why is that Pakistan always crumbles when it faces India?

Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq believes his country will find it difficult to edge past India when the two sides clash in next month's T20 World Cup as there seems to be a "mental block" when it comes to playing the arch-rivals in ICC events.

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India and Pakistan will clash on June 9 in New York in arguably the most awaited league stage match of the T20 World Cup that begins on June 1 in the Americas. 

"You call it Pakistan's jinx or mental block when it comes to playing India in World Cups. Pakistan will need to do a lot because this is a very skilled Indian team with a powerful bowling line-up and two good spinners," Misbah said on 'Star Sports Press Room' on Wednesday.

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"India has quality fast bowlers in (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Siraj and Hardik (Pandya). The Indian cricket team's quality has risen many folds. It will be difficult to break, mental attitude matters a lot and Australia handles the mental side the best way.

"There is no pressure of excess baggage with Australia, and it needs to been seen how both India and Pakistan handle that pressure." Misbah said Virat Kohli, who has played some memorable knocks against his country, will once again be a major threat even though there has been considerable chatter surrounding his strike rate in the ongoing IPL.

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"Kohli is going to be a big factor. He has damaged Pakistan many a times. He enjoys supremacy over Pakistan mentally. He takes motivation from big occasions and not pressure," he said.

"The Virat Kohli effect will definitely be there. He is a top-class cricketer. He is one player who can win you matches, strike rates don't matter. Good players take motivation from those voices or criticism." Misbah still hasn't forgotten the ill-executed scoop shot in the inaugural T20 World Cup final against India in 2007.

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With Pakistan needing just six runs to win from the last four balls, Misbah attempted that shot over fine leg which was caught by S Sreesanth as Pakistan crumbled to 152, chasing a target of 157, handing India the trophy.

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But Misbah said that tournament was responsible for the rapid growth of T20 cricket.

"In 2007 T20 World Cup, all teams were not so serious. India handed captaincy to a young (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. But the final between India and Pakistan, the greatest rivalry in the history of cricket. The hype that T20 got after that World Cup is immense.

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"The way T20 cricket flourished, I feel whatever we achieved and the current players are now plying their trade in different leagues and IPL is something great," he said.

It's about 'we' not 'me': Harbhajan 

Speaking on the same platform, former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said Rohit Sharma can emulate Dhoni's 2007 feat, provided the team fires collectively in the Americas.

"Rohit sharma alone can't win the cup, it is about we and not me. The more we play like 'we', you can achieve anything," he said.

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Harbhajan also said the long and tiring IPL will definitely have an impact of Indian players' performance and advised Rohit and Co. to consider the World Cup as an extended part of the cash-rich league.

"IPL is a tiring tournament, travel is very tiring. The players will be physically and mentally a bit tired but they need to look at it is an extended part of IPL.

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"There is nothing bigger than World Cup, you need to give your best, you have to be switched on the given day. You have to bowl well, bat well and field well," he said.

"Winning a world cup is not going to be easy, you have to be mentally strong." Harbhajan, however, refused to speculate on the pitches being prepared for the World Cup.

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"Pitches nobody knows, how long they will last. Practice matches will give an idea about team combinations.

Former India pacer S Sreesanth added: "Two spinners is our strength. Hardik (Pandya) as third seamer, and two fast bowlers. India has a very strong batting line-up." 

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(with PTI inputs)

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Published May 15th, 2024 at 18:54 IST