Pakistan can beat India in T20 World Cup opener: Waqar

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NEW DELHI: Pace bowling legend Waqar Younis believes Babar Azam-led Pakistan can beat arch-rivals India in their opening encounter of the Twenty20 World Cup if they play to their potential.

The much-anticipated India-Pakistan clash takes place on Oct 24 in Dubai. Both India and Pakistan have been drawn in Group 2 of the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage which also features Afghanistan and New Zealand as the other two automatic qualifiers.

“I honestly believe that Pakistan can beat India in their opening encounter if they play to their potential. It won’t be easy but we certainly have the personnel who can come good,” Waqar said while speaking to CricWick.

“It’s a big game and pressure will be on both teams as it will be their first match of the tournament. But the first few deliveries and runs will be crucial but if we are able to negotiate it well we can win the game,” the 49-year-old, who has also functioned in different coaching roles for Pakistan’s national team over the years, added.

Waqar, who stepped down recently as national team’s bowling coach, lauded paceman Hasan Ali for being the best of the lot and backed him to lead Pakistan’s bowling attack in the T20 World Cup being held in the UAE and Oman from Oct 17 to Nov 14.

“Bowling has always been our stronger suit and we have seen in the past that we have the capability of defending scores. We did that in the 2017 Champions Trophy, we have done that prior to that as well so I see no reason why this bunch can’t emulate those performances,” the veteran of 87 Tests and 262 ODIs stated. “I think that Hasan understands bowling better than any other bowler in the current lot and will be our leader in terms of bowling. He certainly has the skill and character to do big things on the biggest stage.”