Pallekele: Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez admitted on Monday that he and fellow struggling opener Ahmed Shahzad have let their team down, but a World Cup blitz could be just one innings away.
Hafeez and Shahzad have managed opening partnerships of 11, 28 and 16 in three matches so far, a performance which captain Shahid Afridi and coach Waqar Younis have already insisted must improve.
Despite the lack of good starts, Pakistan's middle-order has fired to help the team win all three games at the World Cup, giving them six points and top position in Group A ahead of co-hosts Sri Lanka and Australia.
Hafeez believes he and Shahzad will fire as a partnership in Tuesday's match against New Zealand having both hit centuries against the Black Caps during team's 3-2 series win on the eve of the World Cup.
"As an opener I know we have not given a good start to the team, but there's no lack of confidence and we just need one good partnership to get the rhythm back," said Hafeez.
The 30-year-old Hafeez also provides a spin option to Pakistan, an added quality which has helped him keep his spot in the team.
Hafeez made nine against Kenya at Hambantota, before being run out for 32, after intially shaping well in the Sri Lanka match.
"You need luck in cricket to perform. Here there is lateral movement with the new ball and the swing is also there so both of us are trying to put up a long partnership which is the requirement," said Hafeez.
Hafeez, who has so far scored 1,462 runs in 67 one-day internationals, said he was confident the openers will handle New Zealand's bowling well.
"We handled their bowling very well in New Zealand. Confdence is very high and I hope to perform against them," said Hafeez.