'Pakistan will play to level series'

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/shoaibmalik.jpg' class='caption'> Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik promised to go all out to level the series against India in the fourth One-day International in Gwalior on Thursday.

Updated: November 16, 2007 08:52 IST
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Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik knows his team is in a must-win situation.

Trailing India 1-2, it is Pakistan's last chance to save the series and Malik promised to go all out to level the series against India in the fourth One-day International in Gwalior on Thursday.

"Every match is important but the main thing now is that we have to win this one. No one can predict the result but we will give India a tough fight," said Malik on the eve of the match at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium.

When asked about the general feeling about an India-Pakistan match and whether the fervour had dipped, Malik said: "I don't think so. (However) Indian and Pakistani players are friendly with each other and cricket is a gentleman's game."

According to Malik, there is added pressure on Pakistan, because they haven't won much recently -- they were runners-up in the Twenty20 World Championship, losing the final to India, and then lost both the Test and ODI series to South Africa at home.

To level the series, Pakistan will require a stellar performance from the captain himself. But unfortunately Malik is going through a rough patch.

"But I am looking forward to tomorrow's match and Inshallah I will get back my form," he said.

Malik will hope for a change in fortunes as he has otherwise done quite well against India. Two of his five one-day hundreds and eight of his 23 half-centuries have come against India.

Before the series began, Malik averaged 47.22 against India, and 55.75 in the 13 matches that Pakistan won.

On the pitch, the Pakistan captain said: "The pitch is good and the ground is also fine. But everyday the pitch changes and we have to wait till tomorrow to take a final call."

When asked if Shahid Afridi will open the batting on Thursday, he said: "All the players are flexible especially in batting. And preparations are different for every match.

"And we will decide according to the condition of the match, which player will play where," he said.

Malik also said that a final decision on injured wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal is yet to be taken.

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