Afridi calls for Pakistan to cut out the errors

Updated: 

Shahid Afridi warned Pakistan must cut out the mistakes when they face New Zealand following a defeat to India which left their hopes of reaching the World Twenty20 semi-finals in the balance.

Critics rounded on Pakistan after they were comfortably beaten by hosts and fierce rivals India at Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan on Monday stated that Afridi is still expected to retire from international cricket after the tournament and will not remain Twenty20 captain if he has a change of heart and opts to carry on playing for his country. 

Another loss in the Group 2 clash against the Black Caps in Mohali on Wednesday will leave Pakistan facing a major struggle to make it through to the last four.

New Zealand have beaten India and Australia so far and Pakistan captain Afridi, who starred in the win over Bangladesh last week, knows his side have no margin for error.

"We have to stop repeating small mistakes. The boys are in good form at the moment, both batting and bowling department are doing well. We just have to focus on playing good cricket," said the all-rounder.

"Winning or losing is a different thing. I will be satisfied when I and my entire team give their 100 per cent on the field. Then whatever may be the result I have no issue."

 

BLACK CAPS STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE

New Zealand have won admirers for the manner in which they won their first two games and Afridi has been impressed with Kane Willamson's men, who will be assured of a semi-final spot if they make it three wins out of three.

He said: "I think they are playing a really good cricket especially in this format and I think the way they started the first game against India that was amazing. I think they won the game against the good spinning attack. I think they are well planned, well prepared. Their squad is well balanced according to the situation, according to the pitch situation as well."

 

HESSON WARY OF WOUNDED PAKISTAN

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson knows Pakistan still pose a threat on their day. He said: "Their bowling attack, in particular, is very challenging. I think Pakistan certainly pose a different challenge with the pace they have and their bowling attack is completely different than what we have faced in the last couple of games."

 

WAHAB PASSED FIT

Pakistan had concerns over Wahab Riaz's availability after he took a blow on the head in training on Monday, but the paceman has been cleared to play.

 

KEY OPTA STATS

- These sides have met four times previously in the World Twenty20 (2007, 2009, 2010 & 2012), with Pakistan winning three of those games and losing just one.
- Across all competitions this will be the 15th time these two teams have faced off in this format, Pakistan currently hold the advantage in the head to head (W8, L6).
- New Zealand have won seven of their last eight international T20 fixtures. The only side to defeat them in that run is Pakistan in January 2016.
- Mitchell Santner has a bowling average of 11 in T20 international cricket, the second best rate of any bowler to take 10 or more wickets in the shortest format (Andre Botha - Ireland, 8.76 average, 21 wickets).