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‘He has damaged us many times’: Former Pakistan captain says Virat Kohli is going to be a big factor in T20 World Cup | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has expressed his belief that Pakistan may struggle to overcome India in the upcoming T20 World Cup due to what he perceives as a “mental block” when facing their arch-rivals in ICC events.
The highly anticipated clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled for June 9 in New York, marking one of the most eagerly awaited matches of the T20 World Cup, commencing on June 1 in the Americas.Historically, India has dominated encounters between the two teams in T20 World Cup tournaments, with Pakistan securing victory only once in seven meetings, which occurred in 2021.
“You call it Pakistan’s jinx or mental block when it comes to playing India in World Cups. Pakistan will need to do a lot because this is a very skilled Indian team with a powerful bowling line-up and two good spinners,” Misbah said on ‘Star Sports Press Room’ on Wednesday.
“India has quality fast bowlers in (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Siraj and Hardik (Pandya). The Indian cricket team’s quality has risen many folds. It will be difficult to break, mental attitude matters a lot and Australia handles the mental side the best way.
“There is no pressure of excess baggage with Australia, and it needs to be seen how both India and Pakistan handle that pressure.”
Misbah highlighted that Virat Kohli, known for his memorable performances against Pakistan, remains a significant threat for their team in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Despite ongoing discussions regarding Kohli’s strike rate during the current IPL season, Misbah emphasised the former Indian captain’s ability to influence matches with his batting prowess.
“Kohli is going to be a big factor. He has damaged Pakistan many times. He enjoys supremacy over Pakistan mentally. He takes motivation from big occasions and not pressure,” he said.
“The Virat Kohli effect will definitely be there. He is a top-class cricketer. He is one player who can win you matches, strike rates don’t matter. Good players take motivation from those voices or criticism.”
Misbah-ul-Haq still vividly recalls the ill-fated scoop shot he attempted in the inaugural T20 World Cup final against India in 2007.
With Pakistan requiring only six runs to secure victory from the last four balls, Misbah’s decision to execute the scoop over fine leg proved fatal as S Sreesanth took the catch. Pakistan subsequently fell short, crumbling to 152 while chasing a target of 157, ultimately handing India the coveted trophy.
But Misbah said that tournament was responsible for the rapid growth of T20 cricket.
“In the 2007 T20 World Cup, all teams were not so serious. India handed captaincy to a young (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni. But the final between India and Pakistan, the greatest rivalry in the history of cricket. The hype that T20 got after that World Cup is immense.
“The way T20 cricket flourished, I feel whatever we achieved and the current players are now plying their trade in different leagues and IPL is something great,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)

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