KARACHI, July 1: While Pakistan vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq vows to win the last two matches of the Asia Cup against India and Bangladesh, Indian coach Gary Kirsten says his team will hopefully play Sri Lanka in the final.
The two arch-rivals are meeting in an important match at the National Stadium on Wednesday. Pakistan will play Bangladesh on Friday.
In case of defeat against India, Pakistan will be out of the race for final, clearing way for India, the four times winners of the event.
“We have focus only on cricket and are confident about winning the next two games against India and Bangladesh with big margins to make the final,” Misbah said while talking to reporters after having a training session at the Defence Stadium on Tuesday.
“We are playing good cricket and hopefully we will play the next two games against Sri Lanka, a Super Four match on Thursday and the final on Sunday,” Kirsten, former South African batsman said.
Though Pakistan have a challenging task ahead, Misbah looked little worried as he was so confident.
“Look we have staged a comeback recently, defeating India in the three-nation final [in Bangladesh] and we are quite capable of repeating that performance.
“We have lost two games of the Asia Cup (one each in pool stage and super four) but win and loss are part of the game and we are at a position from where we can stage a comeback,” he said.
“I think India will also be playing a pressure game against Pakistan since they also have to beat us and in case of defeat they will have to defeat strong Sri Lanka to confirm their place in the final.
“I think they must be under more pressure as compared to us,” Misbah said.
When asked whether he considered leading in a crunch match would be a tough test of his abilities, the vice-captain said he was ever ready as deputy for any kind of situation but expressed hope that Shoaib would be fit to lead the team.
Shoaib’s availability for the game was cleared late in the afternoon after he had missed the training owing to dehydration problem. But later he joined the selectors at the Defence Stadium to give his availability for the match.
Misbah said he could not comment whether he would like to bat or bowl first. “It all depends on the condition of pitch, weather and some other factors,” he said.
To a question what target he would like to set for the Indians, Misbah said it all depended on which kind of pitch they were playing.
Meanwhile, Kirsten said the wickets prepared for the Asia Cup were too flat and ideal for batting and there was no help for seamers.
Kirsten said it was good for his team as it had availed a good three-day rest before playing an important game of the contest against Pakistan.
“It was good to have some time off from cricket because playing three games in four days was taking its toll on the players in 35 degree heat,” Kirsten said.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had earlier hit the schedule of the Asia Cup, saying it was too tight, giving no appropriate rest to the players.
Four times winners of the Asia Cup, India had qualified for the Super Four stage as group ‘B’ leaders. Sri Lanka emerged as group ‘A’ toppers.