ICC Champions Trophy: Relaxed India sleep it off, tensed Pakistan head to Birmingham

Updated: 08 June 2013 22:43 IST

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq urges fans to believe in team, says batsmen must support bowlers in do-or-die clash versus South Africa.


After the first two matches in the ICC Champions Trophy's Group of Death, India and Pakistan are in contrasting moods. While world champions India are aiming to win the Champions Trophy for the second time, Pakistan will make a last-ditch effort for a maiden win in the final edition of the tournament.

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India beat South Africa by 26 runs in the tournament opener in Cardiff on Thursday. Including two practice games against Sri Lanka and Australia, the Indians have played three full 50-over games inside a week. Now, it's 'siesta time' for Team India.

After driving down to London from Cardiff - a three-hour journey - the Indians locked themselves in their hotel rooms on Friday afternoon. Saturday was also an off-day with training, optional. At the Royal Garden Hotel on Kensington High Street, the Indians woke up late, had brunch and retired to their rooms again. Evening was shopping time for a few, said the team's media manager, Dr Baba. The famous Harrods is not far away from the team hotel.

India next play the West Indies on June 11. Like India, West Indies have won the ICC Champions Trophy once - in 2004 in England. The Caribbeans too chose not to train on Saturday. But the other two teams in group B, Pakistan and South Africa, it's crunch time.

Facing a do-or-die battle against South Africa in Birmingham on Monday, Misbah-ul-Haq urged Pakistan fans to stay positive and keep supporting the team in the ICC Champions Trophy. Pakistan lost their opening group B match against the West Indies by two wickets at The Oval in London on Friday.

Monday's match will be a shootout of sorts. After the defeat against India, South Africa now face the challenge of playing Pakistan without two of their main strike bowlers. Dale Steyn is still doubtful and Morne Morkel is back in South Africa after suffering a groin injury in the India match.

The close defeat against West Indies has upset Pakistani fans here. In Birmingham, Pakistan are expected to enjoy more 'home' support and Misbah wants them to keep faith in his team.

"I think it's almost now a good state for us to just go there and try to win every game, and it is possible. Pakistan did it many times before. So just be positive as supporters of the Pakistan team. Go there and try to play positive cricket and try to win every game," Misbah said on Friday.

The Pakistan skipper, who scored 96 not out after coming in at No. 5, is obviously drawing the positives from Friday's clash against West Indies, who almost made a hash of a 171-target and won with just two wickets to spare.

Misbah said, "I think the biggest positive from this game was our bowling. All the seamers bowled really well and bowled their heart out and took wickets. And at one time we were really in the hunt, so it's really a big positive, and it just creates pressure on the opposition."

"They bowled really well against South Africa (in the practice game) and even today. So I think it gives confidence to the team and also to the batsmen that if they can go and just give them a good total, our bowling attack can win the matches for us," the Pakistan captain said.

It is unlikely that Misbah will bat higher up in the order against South Africa. He urged his top-order to bat with more responsibility and play out the entire 50 overs. Against the Caribbeans, Pakistan were all out in the 48th over for 170.

"It's too early after one game (to change the batting slots). You just can't just change things here and there to just create panic in your camp. I think what we need to do as a batting unit is to execute our plans. Go in there and try to play our 50 overs and that's what normally in these sort of conditions you can do.

"Today (Friday) even after losing three wickets (for 15 runs) at one stage, the game was under control, but then we made mistakes. So it's just taking responsibility and taking the games to the end. The batsmen need to be more responsible and just carry on," said Misbah.

Pakistan travelled to Birmingham on Saturday morning and did not train.

Topics : ICC Champions Trophy 2013 Cricket India MS Dhoni New Zealand Pakistan ICC World Cup, 2011
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