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Younis hopeful of Pakistan's win tomorrow

Written by: Staff

Mohali, Oct 26 (UNI) Pakistan skipper Younis Khan today exuded confidence that his team will emerge victorious against South Africa in the crucial Group'B' Champions Trophy match here tomorrow.

''It is a very important match for us, the boys know it. They know that a semi-final berth is at stake,'' Younis told mediapersons here this afternoon.

''I have full faith in my boys. We have talented bunch of players and we can beat any body,'' he said adding, ''We will win easily (tomorrow) if we play the way we did against Sri Lanka.'' The Pakistan skipper justified his decision to bowl first after winning the toss against New Zealand last evening and said, ''We were in control of the situation but committed small mistakes that cost us the match.'' ''Most of the captains in this tournament, have so far preferred to bowl first after winning the toss, this does not mean that they all were wrong. Besides, we are not the only team to have lost the match,'' he added.

He said playing a back to back is not a problem "We are professionals, we are used to such situation it is not as we are the only team which is playing back to back game, these things (schedules) are part of the International cricket.'' Younis said he has not yet decided about the final eleven which will play against South Africa tomorrow.

The Pakistan skipper described Shahid Afridi as a match wining player.

''On his day, Afridi can single-handedly win a match for his side, he is one of the few gifted players in the international cricket who have this class. He has not done well in the two matches but we want to give him more chances so that he can settle down.'' Asked why in-form Shoaib Malik is coming way down at the sixth slot, Younis said, ''Malik has been playing well. He has scored in both matches coming at sixth position, He is comfortable at this slot so why should I change his order?'' He admitted that conceding 99 runs in last ten overs against New Zealand cost his side the match and added, ''These are the things you start talking about after losing the match,there were lost of mistakes when we played against Sri Lanka but because we won that tie every thing was covered.'' To a query whether his players are under pressure for tomorrow's match, Younis said, ''Every match is a pressure match, it does not matter weather you play against Australia or Kenya or any other team, but I think we should overcome tomorrow.'' He also did not agree to a question that captaincy was effecting his batting. ''This is not the first time I am leading Pakistan, I have led the side earlier (against India). Yes now I have to take care of other players also but I am trying to be focused.'' Younis said he fully supported Shoiab Akhtar and Mohd Asif.

''They are fine players and if one or two years an is imposed on them it will effect their career. I want them to be cleared of dope charges, I will always be on their side.'' Team coach Bob Woolmer, who had earlier coached South Africa said, ''Only five players of my time are left in that team but I still consider them a very competitive side.'' He said it was upto skipper Younis Khan to decide whether he wanted to bat or bowl first in case he won the toss tomorrow.

Asked if the team was feeling the absence of Shoiab Akhtar and Mohd Asif, Woolmer replied, ''No I have a full confidence in the 14, We can't control what we don't have.'' ''After yesterday's defeat, the players know that stakes are very high and a win tomorrow will get them into the semi-final,'' he added.

He admitted that the team's performance has not been very consistent but did not appeared too concerned about it.

''It has been volatile. It is like having a sin on your TV set saying 'Normal Service will resume soon','' he quipped.

About his future plans after the World Cup, whether he will like to coach India or Australia, Woolmer refused to commit.

''We will see, we will cross the bridge when I come to it.'' UNI HSB DH RN1458

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