Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra said that experts have overlooked Babar Azam-led Pakistan as favourites to lift the T20 World Cup.
On Sunday, Pakistan handed India a 10-wicket defeat in their opening game of the tournament at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
People will stand up and take notice of Pakistan Cricket Team: Ashish Nehra
Not many had considered Pakistan to lift the title, with many pundits believing that either of India, West Indies or England could be the eventual champions this year.
Nehra said people have underestimated Pakistan, and in T20 cricket, anyone can beat anyone on a particular day.
“Those who weren’t already considering them favourites to reach the semi-finals were underestimating Pakistan. And you are talking about T20s. In their pool, there are three strong teams – India, Pakistan and New Zealand. But in T20s, anyone can beat anyone. The manner in which Pakistan won, people will stand up and take notice,” Nehra told Cricbuzz.
After Shaheen Afridi-led Pakistan bowlers routed the Indian batters for a modest total of 151/7 in the first innings, openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar himself steer Pakistan to an emphatic victory as they chased the target with 13 balls to spare.
Babar (68*) and Rizwan (79*) nullified the Indian bowlers after the dew came in to play during the chase.
Pakistan played risk-free batting: Ashish Nehra
Pakistan smashed 12 fours and five sixes in a spectacular chase that got them their first win in T20 World Cup against India.
Nehra credited the Pakistan batters for showing calm and composure throughout their chase and called their batting risk-free.
“No, not at all. The ball had also gotten a little wet because of the dew. And the way Pakistan started, it filled them with confidence and both of them batted very cleanly. I just remember one incident – when Mohammad Rizwan played a sweep shot off Varun Chakravarthy and it went for a six – that was the only shot where it felt like the batter has taken a risk,” Nehra mentioned.
“Other than that, they played risk-free batting. And with the dew factor and the pitch getting better to bat on, they took full advantage of that. So you just have to praise the way Pakistan played today,” he added.
Earlier in the game, Afridi got the better of the Indian openers as in the space of 10 balls, he sent both Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul back to the pavilion.
India rode on skipper Virat Kohli (57), and Rishabh Pant’s (39) knocks to post a competitive score on the board.
Afridi got Kohli nicked behind the wicket in his final over to end his spell with 3/31.