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Waqar Younis wants Pakistan to lift their game if they are to beat India
Pakistan News

Waqar Younis wants Pakistan to lift their game if they are to beat India

Waqar Younis has stressed the need for Pakistan to bring their "A-plus" performance to the fore in the high-intensity World Cup clash versus India on Sunday if they are to keep their chances alive in the tournament.

Pakistan succumbed to a 41-run loss to defending champions Australia on Wednesday and are currently slotted at number eight with just three points to their name.

The qualification scenario for Sarfaraz Ahmed's men is growing tougher and they cannot afford to be sloppy in the field anymore if they are to advance to the semi-finals.

"When Pakistan play India it's always a huge game, but their meeting on Sunday is shaping up to be more crucial than ever," pace bowling legend Waqar wrote in a column for the International Cricket Council.

"If Pakistan want to stay in the tournament, they have to bring an A-plus performance and win that game."

"The match has always meant so much to both countries. There will be billions watching the game."

Past World Cup encounters between the two subcontinental rivals have all been won by India, which creates an added pressure on Pakistan to overturn an embarrassing record.

India start out as favourites once again, given their recent form as they have thus far remained unbeaten in the tournament, cruising to flawless victories over South Africa and Australia before experiencing a washout against New Zealand.

"Pakistan's track record is very mixed, but that's all gone," said Waqar. "That's all history. It's a new game, a new day."

Waqar is optimistic Pakistan can seek inspiration from their monumental 180-run triumph against India in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy at the Oval that featured almost the same playing XI which is in action these days.

'Amir is a match-winner'

Left-arm paceman Mohammad Amir marked his return to form with career-best figures of 5-30 against Australia, albeit in a losing cause.

While he was not even considered for selection for the World Cup squad at one stage, Amir comfortably surpassed his fellow pacers to spearhead the bowling attack at Taunton.

Waqar, who was popularly feared by batsmen of his generation for his intimidating pace, said other bowlers needed to contribute to the aggressive lines maintained by Amir in order for Pakistan to succeed.

"Mohammad Amir didn't get any support from the other end (against Australia).No one really saw the comeback coming and for that, you have to take your hat off to Amir. Full marks to him for the way he bowled.

"Even with the new ball, I thought he bowled quite nicely. He could have picked up more than five wickets in the end. He was unfortunate with a couple of nicks early on.

"Amir bowled superbly. He showed us all his cutters, variations and short-pitched deliveries."

Amir's promising career was jolted back in 2010 when he was found guilty of spot-fixing during the Lord's Test against England and was subsequently banned from all forms of the game for five years.

"I think we all know Amir is mentally very, very strong," said Waqar. "He showed once again that class is permanent -- he is, no doubt, a match-winner."

'Expect Shadab to return'

Shadab Khan was left out of the team in the previous match against Australia as captain Sarfaraz reasoned the overcast conditions and nature of the pitch in Taunton were taken into account to introduce an extra seamer into the side.

Waqar believes Pakistan has to select someone like Shadab to resolve the dilemma of the fifth bowler in the team and look to drop Shoaib Malik, who has been ineffective with the bat this tournament.

"Shadab is the key man in this side and I think they will look to bring him back in against India. They might go for five bowlers, use four pacers and Shadab and drop someone like Shoaib Malik.

"It depends a lot on what conditions are like in Manchester, up to a few hours before the game."