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Pakistan will beat Australia: Waqar
January 24, 2003 18:03 IST
Pakistan captain Waqar Younis predicted his side would beat Australia in their opening World Cup match, as the squad left for South Africa on Friday.
The match, on February 11 in Johannesburg, will be a re-run of the 1999 final in England which Australia won by eight wickets.
"That match is very important," Waqar told Reuters before his departure.
"It is our first match and if we win it, this will leave an impact on the other teams as well and we are going to leave an impact by beating them."
Pakistan recently lost both a Test and one-day series against South Africa, but Waqar was confident his side could deliver a surprise performance in the World Cup, which starts on February 9 in Cape Town.
"I am surprised that people have written us off even for the Super Sixes stage. It is a misconception about our team. I have told my players to prove everyone wrong with some positive, aggressive cricket," he said.
Pakistan, who won the World Cup on 1992, are drawn with defending champions Australia, England, Zimbabwe and old rivals India.
A crowd of more than 20,000 gave a rousing farewell to the team on Thursday at the Gaddafi stadium in the eastern city of Lahore in a ceremony that was telecast live on domestic television channels.
"We are surprised at the reception we got even after our recent poor form and reversals in South Africa,' Waqar said.
He said the ceremony had encouraged the players. "The support we got from the crowd yesterday is the one final thing we needed to boost our morale," he added.
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