London: Pakistan are used to pressure games and have produced their best on the big days, says skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. Never to have won a Champions Trophy, Pakistan face a must-win situation against South Africa in a group B game in Edgbaston on Monday. Both India and the West Indies, who play at The Oval on Tuesday, will keep a close eye on the Pakistan-West Indies clash.
Both Pakistan and South Africa have lost their first group league games against West Indies and India, respectively. A win for either team is mandatory to keep hopes of a semifinal berth alive. Misbah says Pakistan are used to such backs-to-the-wall situations.
"It's not a new story for us. In South Africa, we were in a similar situation like that in the ODI series, when we had to win the fourth ODI and our team did exceptionally well with that. In ICC tournaments, most of the time we are in similar situations," said Misbah.
"The best thing you can do is to take it game by game, and tomorrow is a game and you just need to win. Go there, do your best, and I think when you go there and try to do your best, the results are in your favor most of the time," the Pakistan skipper said. South Africa have 41:20 win-loss ratio in ODIs against Pakistan, including a 1-0 head-to-head record in Champions Trophy.
In March this year, South Africa edge out Pakistan 3-2 in a Test series at home and almost the same squads are up against each other in the Champions Trophy. Misbah said the teams have enough intelligence of each other.
"I think both the teams know each other very well. The strategy of the players, everybody is aware of that, and I think we did well in ODIs especially in South Africa. So, the players are confident against them. I think it will be a good contest if we just play up to our potential, and then we have a good chance," the Pakistan skipper said.
Misbah said the absence of South Africa's leading fast bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will give Pakistan the mental edge. Injured Steyn remains doubtful while Morkel is back in South Africa after an injury in the first match against India in Cardiff on Thursday.
Misbah said in Birmingham: "Obviously, when main players of the opponent's team are missing, it will give you a psychological advantage. But at the same time, we are aware of the fact that they are a good team."
"They won a game against us when both of Steyn and Morkel weren't playing in South Africa. So, they are a quality side, and at the moment their strength is their batting. So we just can't relax. I think we need to really play well, really give a hundred per cent, and then we have a good chance," said the Pakistan skipper.