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Razzaq claims Australia has "psychological edge" over Pakistan
Pakistan-Australia Clash

Razzaq claims Australia has "psychological edge" over Pakistan

Abdul Razzaq believes Australia possess a "psychological edge" over Pakistan heading into the World Cup clash between the two sides in Taunton on Wednesday.

While Pakistan enter the high-profile contest at the back of a thrilling 14-run victory over hosts England, Razzaq thinks Australia's ability to withstand pressure in crunch games puts them in a position of favourites to win the upcoming match.

Speaking exclusively to Cricingif, the former all-rounder claimed defending world champions Australia were high on confidence given their 15-run triumph against the West Indies in a tight finish.

"Australia has a psychological edge over Pakistan. Throughout the last 15-20 years, Australia has been winning crunch matches whether it is a World Cup final, a quarter-final or semi-final.

"They are able to soak up pressure because of their abilities and a robust system back home which prepares the players," added Razzaq, who represented Pakistan in three World Cups.

"The way they won against the West Indies from a losing position would definitely give them momentum and boost their confidence. Hence, Australia has good chances of winning versus Pakistan."

'I see a glimpse of myself in Pandya and Russell'

During his playing days, Razzaq was renowned for his clean striking of the cricket ball, often dispatching the ball way beyond the boundary rope.

Razzaq named India's Hardik Pandya and West Indies' Andre Russell among the best all-rounders in world cricket currently, who remind him of his power hitting prowess.

"The way I used to hit the ball, I see a glimpse of that ability in Pandya and Russell."

Elaborating on mastering the art of slogging the ball, Razzaq revealed that the key is playing the ball as straight as possible.

"The one who plays the ball straight is most successful. For this, you require a lot of power, strong eyesight and a brave mindset."

The 39-year-old felt that there was a dearth of proper hard-hitting batsmen who can play according to the match situation and prolong their stay at the crease in the present Pakistan team.

'Hobart performance against India is most memorable'

The Pakistan veteran last turned out for his country in an international game in 2013 but he still remains a standout figure in cricketing echelons.

A true all-round package, Razzaq wreaked havoc with the bat on numerous occasions and often backed it up with prodigious swing to bamboozle the batsmen on the other end.

Having singlehandedly won multiple matches for Pakistan over his illustrious career, Razzaq picked his invaluable contribution against India in 2000 at Hobart during the tri-series involving India as his most favourite performance.

"Yes, the innings against South Africa [in 2010] was outstanding and very special.

"The match against India at Hobart saw us being reduced to five out for a low score. I and Mohammad Yousuf then stitched a useful partnership. I finished well for my side and remained not out on 70 at the end of the innings.

"Normally, when I perform well with the bat, I am unable to replicate that performance in bowling. It can be labelled as a fitness issue often experienced by all-rounders since you lose steam after batting for long.

"I was also troubled by an injury and felt I could not bowl during the India innings. However, when Wasim Akram called on me to bowl, I picked up five wickets and won the game for my side and was awarded player of the match," he recalled.

Razzaq also rated bowling out batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar twice in Australia as his most prized dismissal.

'West Indies, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan to qualify for semis'

Razzaq has gone for an interesting choice of teams to finish in the top four at the end of the first round of the ongoing World Cup.

"Given the standard of cricket, I have seen, West Indies, Australia, England and Pakistan have a probable chance of qualifying for the semi-finals," the Quetta Gladiators assistant coach predicted.

Surprisingly, Razzaq has left out India from his list of favourites to win the World Cup title, especially since Virat Kohli's men completed an emphatic six-wicket victory against a beleaguered South Africa in their opening game.