The defeat against Australia in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 could not have come at a worse time for Pakistan, a team that has now set its sights firmly on the crunch match against arch-rivals India. For opener Imam-ul-Haq, who failed to build on his half-century against the Aussies, it would be a chance to last the distance even if the stakes are high.
Imam scored a 75-ball 53 in Wednesday's match but chasing Australia's 307, Pakistan were bowled out for 266. While Imam and most other batsmen in the top-order got starts, no one quite managed to take the team past the finish line. It is a result that Imam hopes won't be repeated against the Men in Blue. "It’s a huge pressure game, obviously. Pakistan and India, there’s a lot of mysteries behind that but we want to just focus on our cricket strengths and how we can get better," he was quoted as saying by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Old Trafford in Manchester is expected to be packed to the brim with both Pakistan and India enjoying massive support of fans here. For Imam, it is a thrilling prospect to have supporters come out in huge numbers. "To be part of this game is obviously great. It is in Manchester and there are a lot of Pakistani fans there. So, I am really excited about it," he said.
While his team may enjoy the support, Imam is well aware that support alone won't be enough to ensure success in the World Cup. With Pakistan languishing with just three points from four matches so far, he feels every match - regardless of the opposition - would be crucial. "We’ve had one game rained off which was very important for us - every game now is very important for us."