Mohali: Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja believes Afridi's side possess the momentum and self-belief to break their World Cup jinx.
Rameez Raja was one of the most stylish batsmen to have emerged from Pakistan. He also played a key role in the team's 1992 World Cup triumph, aggregating 349 runs at 58.17 with two centuries. Aptly, Raja's catch to dismiss Richard Illingworth completed Pakistan's 22-run win over England in the final. Raja went on to captain Pakistan and later was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the Cricket Board. The 38-year-old spoke about today's World Cup semi-final clash between India and Pakistan.
Pressure on India
More than the skills of the players, their temperament will be tested. Pressure will be on both sides, but more on India and less on Pakistan. Passion will be involved. It's rightly being billed as the mother of all matches.
Pakistan will fight till the end. It's pretty even. MS Dhoni himself has admitted that pressure will be on them because everybody expects them to beat Pakistan. But, Pakistan too have got the momentum. This team has got self-belief and a little bit of trust factor, which you could see in their on-field performance. However, beating India in India will be a huge challenge. Having said that, Pakistan know what this victory can do to the overall morale of the team.
History doesn't mean that you can't go forward... it's an irritant. Pakistan should play aggressively.
It's difficult to pick individuals. But, I am impressed with Umar Gul. He has been outstanding. However, Pakistan need to fine-tune their strategy a bit. They should unleash Shoaib Akhtar for this all-important game. A cameo from Shoaib may prove to be the game-changer.
First 10 overs crucial
Pakistan's bowling has been the best in the tournament. But, India has the best batting line-up in the world. Since the Mohali pitch is expected to assist seamers, it is a mouth-watering prospect. However, this Pakistani team is different. They have learnt from mistakes and the hurt has made them stronger. They have faith in the management and they have responded well. First 10 overs will be decisive and crucial.