Champions in 2009, Pakistan media feels its team can do a ICC World Twenty20 double in Bangladesh this year. Pakistan lost the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mirpur (Bangladesh) on March 8 but the team has proved how dangerous it can be in the short formats of the game. And, the media back home is predicting a rousing performance from Mohammed Hafeez's bravehearts. (Also read: Pakistan defeat New Zealand in World Twenty20 practice match)
Pakistan team played hard-hitting cricket to reach the finals of the Asia Cup. The side may have emerged second-best but stellar performances have rekindled hopes amongst passionate fans who are backing a bunch of players who won't throw in the towel under pressure. A thrilling last-over win against arch-rivals India in the Asia Cup further bolstered spirits. With another mouth-watering India-Pakistan contest coming up on March 21, this time in the spicy 20-20 format, Pakistan's leading daily, the Dawn, already feels Mohammed Hafeez's team will be victorious.
The report mentions five reasons why Pakistan can bring back the title. A win would mean a lot to cricket-starved fans.
"Bomb blasts, a weak economy and continual changes within the game's national governing body become mere minor distractions for Pakistan's cricket-mad population of 190 million whenever the team participates in major tournaments," says Dawn. "With the cricket world shying away from touring Pakistan since a 2009 terror attack, cricket-starved fans will be closely following the World T20 and hoping for victory, particularly against arch-rivals India."
India got a very bitter taste of how Pakistan can emerge from the ashes, during the Asia Cup. Shahid Afridi led a one-man demolition army and he once again emerges as a massive threat. "The awesome power-hitting of Shahid Afridi can tear apart any sort bowling attack," says the report. "Veteran of a record 70 T20s, the enigmatic allrounder has teammates and fans sweating as he works to recover from a injury in time to play against two tough group rivals, India and Australia." (Related: Pakistan is the best team in the world, says Afridi)
The other reasons cited are Pakistan's ferocious bowling prowess -- the bowling attack for this tournament includes T20's top three wicket-takers in Saeed Ajmal (81), Umar Gul (74) and Afridi (73), and the team's unpredictable nature that makes planning against them nearly impossible.
The optimism though is not just with the media and fans back home. Even former cricketer Wasim Akram said that Pakistan can fight their way to the title in Bangladesh. "Pakistan have a very good T20 squad but we need to play to our strength which is with aggression and positively." (Read: Wasim Akram bets on Pakistan, India and West Indies)
Pakistan have won the tournament once at the Lord's - beating Sri Lanka in 2009 by eight wickets. Pakistan have played two finals, including the inaugural edition in 2007 where they lost narrowly by 5 runs to India at Johannesburg. History favours Pakistan. The Green shirts won a nervy contest against New Zealand in warm-up match on Monday. Kamran Akmal and Hafeez showcased their talents with the bat as Pakistan went past New Zealand's 145 for 9 in the penultimate ball, and with six wickets.