While Pakistan did manage to beat India in their first Super 12 match of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday, their victory over New Zealand seems to have eased India's semifinal qualification equation. Now the Indian team only needs to win their remaining matches to be the second team along with Pakistan from Group 2 to proceed to the knock-out stage, assuming there are no major upsets.
After Pakistan's second successive win in the competition, former Pakistan pacer Akhtar said that for a change India was also praying for Pakistan and their gesture of winning the game is exactly what good neighbours do. He added that they want India to make it to finals where they are ready for a repeat of a high-voltage India-Pakistan match.
"Today, for a change, the whole of India was behind Pakistan to win the match vs New Zealand. So, we saved you. This is what good Neighbors do. Remember this. We want you to make it to the Finals. And we are ready to take on you in the finals," he said in a YouTube video uploaded on his channel.
Check out the video here:
Notably, India and Pakistan have met in a T20 World Cup final before which was the final of the inaugural season and that time it was the Men in Blue who had won the titular clash. However, riding on a high of a comprehensive win over India, their first-ever victory against their arch-rivals in a World Cup match, they now believe that they can win once more.
However, prior to that India have a stern test ahead of them in New Zealand - a team against whom they do not have a good record especially in ICC events. Including the ICC World Test Championship, India have played New Zealand in as many as 14 matches, tasting wins in only 3 of them. On all the other occasions, the Kiwis have had the last laugh.
A win against Kiwis followed by relatively easier matches against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, albeit in the shortest format and India could progress to the semis but a defeat would mean more or less end of the road for them and they would have to hope for an upset in other matches to then progress further.
For now, Team India's destiny is very much in their own hands.