Colombo: A 2-1 win against Australia in the just-finished Twenty20 series has given Pakistan important momentum for the World Twenty20, captain Mohammad Hafeez said on Wednesday.
On arriving in Sri Lanka for the tournament, Hafeez said Pakistan's experienced squad and familiarity with the conditions made them confident of producing a special performance.
Pakistan undertook a 10-match tour of Sri Lanka in June and July, then many of their players participated in the Sri Lanka Premier League.
"I think the morale of the team is very high even though we lost the final game against Australia," Hafeez said of the 94-run defeat on Monday, Pakistan’s heaviest loss in Twenty20s.
Before that, Pakistan won the first match and came through the tied second game by taking a one-over eliminator "We really got the momentum we were looking forward to," Hafeez said.
Hafeez also expects Shahid Afridi to recover from injury in time to play a decisive role in his country's attempt to win another World Cup trophy.
Afridi is hoping to overcome a thumb injury before the tournament, which runs from September 18 to October 7 in Sri Lanka. "Shahid Afridi is a big match winner for us and hopefully he will deliver for us once more," Hafeez said.
Hafeez believes Pakistan are well placed to repeat their 2009 World Twenty20 success, particularly because his players are familiar with the Sri Lankan pitches and conditions. "Pallekele will suit us because the ball does a lot there," he said. "The seamers will benefit and we should do well. We have a good bowling unit with Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat, Mohammad Sami and Sohail Tanvir, who is difficult to deal with his unusual action.”
Hafeez said the appointment of Javed Miandad as Pakistan's batting coach would give them a major boost. "Javed will share with us some valuable inputs and it's a good thing," Hafeez said. "Whatever he tells us, we look forward to it."
He said getting to play archrival India in a warm-up game would give his team an opportunity to play a pressure game even before the tournament.
His team has six specialist batsmen, and allrounders such as Afridi and Abdur Razzak. Top offspinner Saeed Ajmal was likely to play an important role on Sri Lankan pitches that have historically favored spin bowling.
Pakistan starts the World Twenty20 against New Zealand on September 23 at Pallekele.
(Also, inputs from Reuters)