Haider confident ahead India encounter

-Head Coach says Semi-Final against India as important as Final

Sports Desk

Potchefstroom: Pakistan take on India in the first semi-final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup at the JB Marks Oval in Potchefstroom on Tuesday and the Boys in Green’s in-form vice-captain Haider Ali is raring to go.
The two sides are no strangers to success at this level; India have won the competition four times while Pakistan have claimed it twice. Pakistan, however, have the superior head-to-head record with five wins and four losses in nine games against their arch-rivals.
Haider is the kind of aggressive opener that can take the game away from any team and will be hoping to deliver a blistering start to the side in the semi-final.
“My form and confidence is really good at the moment,” Haider said in an interview with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). “I was unfortunately run out in the last game against Afghanistan and that hurt.”
The rivalry between the two sides, both on and off the field, means there is more at stake than just a place in the final but Haider insists there is no added pressure on him.
“I have to play my aggressive game, there is no extra pressure on me,” he said. “I have to play in this game like I play any other game. I wanted to be in form for this game and thankfully I am. My aim is to give the side a good start at the top of the order.”
Haider impressed in an ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup match against India and is hoping to build on that innings. “I scored 45 against India in the Emerging Teams Asia Cup. I will be hoping to give my 100 per cent. I want to thank the fans as their encouragement has helped us a lot.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Under-19 team head coach Ijaz Ahmed has described tomorrow’s semi-final clash against India “as important as any final World Cup match”.
Speaking to a private TV channel, Ijaz Ahmed said “Pakistan team will take the ground with the best combination and strategy. The boys are ready to give their best performance against India.”
The former cricketer went on to say that he has instructed players to not feel the pressure of the match and play their natural game.
“Pakistan team is more balanced as compared to India and we have more variety in the bowling,” Ijaz said.
He expressed hope that Pakistan will defeat India and also clinch the title by winning the final.
Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by six wickets in the quarter-final to set up an exciting semi-final clash with the arch-rivals.
The Green Shirts will face India in the first semi-final of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 at Potchefstroom on Tuesday (February 4).