Yousuf backs India to win world Twenty20

Predicting a run-heavy tournament, former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf backed India to win the ongoing World Twenty20, owing to its strong batting capabilities.

Mohammad Yousuf: "Unless [Pakistan's] batsmen get big totals on Indian pitches, the team will struggle against the other top teams."   -  AP

Former Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf has picked India as the strong contender to win the ICC World Twenty20 as he feels the home team has the batting firepower. Yousuf pointed out that there were high scoring matches in the World T20 qualifying round for associate teams and in warm-up games, and said it would be no different in the main round of the mega-event as well.

“India is a strong contender because its batting is very strong and it is capable of chasing big totals down. Even in the warm up match against South Africa, India fell short by 4-5 runs, chasing a total of 190 plus,” said Yousuf.

“Its other advantage is it is playing at home. Don’t forget it is the only team to have won the World Cup at home in 2011,” he added.

Pakistan's batting needs to fire

The 41-year-old said Pakistan batsmen need to fire on all cylinders if they want to do well in the tournament.

“One thing is clear, is that unless our batsmen get big totals on Indian pitches, the team will struggle against the other top teams. The only other way we can do well is for our bowlers to successfully defend totals in the range of 140-150 or bowl out opposing teams for under par scores,” Yousuf said.

“We won in the warm up game against Sri Lanka, but again, our batsmen didn’t score enough to get a big total. I think we will be depending a lot on our bowlers and they will need to bowl out opposing teams or defend totals around 140-150.”

Pakistan had a dismal outing in the recent Asia Cup in Bangladesh but Yousuf said Shahid Afridi-led team needed to be supported and encouraged. “I think we all know the weaknesses of our team. We all know how Afridi plays. So no use cribbing about these things. Now we can just hope that the batsmen click enough to offer substantial totals for the bowlers to defend,” he said.