ICC Champions Trophy: Match against India is a final for us, says Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq

Edgbaston will see a full house on Saturday. A win against world champions India will be some compensation for the down and out Pakistanis.

Reported by: Soumitra Bose
Last updated on Friday, 14 June, 2013 18:28 IST
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Birmingham: The Pakistanis are treating Saturday's ICC Champions Trophy match against India "like a final."

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Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq told a packed media press conference here on Thursday that the contest against India will be "one last chance to prove ourselves in front of the world."

The last group B league between the arch-rivals is technically a dead rubber, but Misbah said his team "will play for the fans." (Also read: Abdul Qadir says India have edge vs Pakistan)

"It's a final for us. A win against the world champions will be a great compensation. At least, the fans will be happy," Misbah said after Pakistan trained under overcast conditions and a light drizzle on Friday morning.

The Pakistan captain refused to take the match against India as just another game.

"For us, it's a big opportunity. Everywhere in the world, fans look forward to this game and I would like India and Pakistan to play more often for the sake of the audience. It's the biggest rivalry in cricket," the 39-year-old told reporters.

Misbah said there was no pressure on the team and the boys were in a relaxed frame of mind. (Also read: Boys in good spirits, says Pak team manager)

"We know we are out of the tournament, but I have told the boys to look at every game as their last chance to prove themselves. We will express ourselves well tomorrow," Misbah promised.

The Pakistan skipper said his team will remember the 2-1 ODI win in India last winter. "The teams are almost the same and our bowlers have the experience and belief to challenge Indian batsmen," Misbah said.

India's batting is on a high, admitted the affable Pakistan skipper. "When you score 300 runs consistently and win your opening two games of a short tournament quite easily, a team is bound to look good, but tomorrow, we will give them a good fight," he said.

Pakistan have never lost to India in six editions of this championship.  They have beaten India twice in the Champions Trophy, the first time at Edgbaston in September, 2004. But Misbah said history won't matter. (Related read: History on Pakistan's side, form on India's)

"Every game is a fresh game. The team that will take the conditions in stride, handle fan pressure and play well shall be the clear winner," he explained.

Misbah pointed out Pakistan's bowling will be their biggest strength going into Saturday's match.

"Our top order has failed and we have been unable to build partnerships. We have always felt the pressure while batting but we can surely redeem ourselves against India this time," the captain said.

Story first published on: Friday, 14 June 2013 18:18 IST

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