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Monday Oct 25 2021
By
AFP

'We have broken the jinx,' Azam says after historic victory against India

By
AFP
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam — AFP
Pakistani skipper Babar Azam — AFP

  • "It is a proud moment for me as well as for all my players that we have made history," Babar tells AFP.
  •  Babar says the "special" match was as usual of high intensity.
  • Pakistan next plays New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday.


DUBAI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Monday said he and his players were "proud to have made history" after beating India for the first time in a World Cup match by a record margin.

Pakistan defeated their arch-rivals by romping to a ten-wicket victory in the T20 World Cup fixture in Dubai on Sunday, sparking starkly contrasting reactions.

The win was Pakistan's first against India in 13 World Cup matches (seven in the 50 over World Cup and six in the T20 World Cup) dating back to 1992 in Australia.

"It is a proud moment for me as well as for all my players [...] we have made history," Babar told AFP in an exclusive interview.

Lanky paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi put India on the back foot from the start, bagging the wickets of openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul off his first seven deliveries.

He finished with 3-31 after dismissing India's top scorer, skipper Virat Kohli for 57 in a total of 151-7 in 20 overs.

Babar, along with fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan, knocked off the target in 17.5 overs without losing a single wicket.

Babar hit 68 not out while Rizwan finished with an undefeated 79.

"We realise how important and how much needed that win is as everyone wanted us to win and to have made history is one of the defining moments in our careers," said Babar.

"I had said before the match that records are meant to be broken so we have broken that jinx and we are very happy the whole country is happy and celebrating."

Babar said the "special" match was as usual of high intensity.

"All of us know that when Pakistan plays India there is very high intensity and it's a pressure game," he said.

"The whole world waits for this match, so it is a special match."

'Keep things simple'

Babar admitted the noise in the stadium made his task of arranging his fielders tough.

"The stadium was nearly packed," said Babar of the Dubai stadium where a 70% crowd was allowed in under relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.

"There was so much noise in the stadium that I found it tough to call my players, I told them to keep looking at me so that I can move the fielders in between overs.

"We have gelled well over the years so we are used to that.

"The response from the players was extraordinary.

"We got a head start in bowling when Shaheen got us wickets and then we batted as per our plan."

This was Pakistan's first ten-wicket win in all T20 internationals and the first defeat by this margin for India.

Babar said he had been part of two defeats against India, in the Junior World Cup in Australia in 2012 as skipper and then at the 2019 World Cup in England.

"I remember that we lost to India in the quarter-finals of the Junior World Cup in 2012 so it was a much-desired thing to beat India," he said.

Babar said his team prepared well ahead of the tournament, despite New Zealand abandoning a tour due to a security alert last month without playing any of the eight limited over games scheduled.

England followed suit in withdrawing its men's and women's teams from touring ahead of the T20 World Cup.

"We prepared well in the National T20 in Pakistan," said Babar.

"Our plan was to keep things simple and through that, we affected that turnaround."

Pakistan next plays New Zealand in Sharjah on Tuesday.