Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has emphasized on the significance of carrying momentum in a multi-team tournament like Asia Cup.
While the 14th edition of the Asia Cup will be held in UAE from September 15 to 28, Pakistan will play their first match on the second day of the tournament against Hong Kong. Subsequently, the Men in Green will take on the arch-rivals India at Dubai on September 19.
During the interaction with media, Sarfaraz made it clear that they will take the match against Hong Kong as an opportunity to build momentum for the tougher encounters.
"Momentum is very important. During the Champions Trophy, we carried forward the momentum which we had gotten against South Africa and Sri Lanka. We will try to do the same here... We will try to gain momentum in our first match [against Hong Kong] and go into the contest against India with full preparation," Sarfaraz told reporters as per quotes in Cricbuzz.
The last time India and Pakistan faced off each other was in the summit clash of ICC Champions Trophy 2017, where Sarfaraz and company had registered a comprehensive 180-run victory. However, the Pakistan captain feels that match is now a distant past and it won't have any effect in the Asia Cup.
"Every match against India is important. That match [Champions Trophy final] is in the past. It was almost one and a half years ago. So, I don't think we should consider it that much. If we play India in the final, then we will be playing them thrice. All professional teams put the past behind and look forward. Both teams will do the same," he remarked.
The 2018 Asia Cup will see six teams being divided into two groups. While India, Pakistan and Hong Kong are slotted in Group A, the Group B comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan are certainly the firm favourites to win the tournament as they have the utmost experience of playing in UAE.
"The weather is hot, so it becomes difficult to bat in humid conditions under lights as the fast-bowlers get to swing the ball in humidity. We will try to access the conditions. We have two-three sessions under lights. Of course, every side will look to bat first and put runs on the board due to the hot weather,” Sarfaraz asserted.
"Pitches are on the slower side in the UAE, so spinners will have a role to play. Our batsmen and bowlers are in top form. We will look to score more than 300 if we bat first because we possess a bowling unit that can defend that total. We are not focusing on one area, we will focus on all three aspects of the game and try to put a good show," he explained.
Before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Pakistan will play a full-fledged bilateral series against New Zealand and Australia in UAE. Afterwards, they will tour South Africa followed by the fourth edition of the PSL. No wonder, every match from here on is important for Sarfaraz and his men.
"This [Asia Cup] is the beginning of our road to the event as we don't have much time in between. We haven't played well in New Zealand and that's because of the loss of early wickets. It hindered us from recovering from the collapses. We have tried to sort that problem,” Sarfaraz concluded.