T20 World Cup: 'If it wasn't for the Dutch, we are not here' - Hayden to Pakistan after semis qualification
Pakistan was nearly out of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup until the Netherlands upset South Africa, allowing the Men in Green to defeat Bangladesh and seal its place. Meanwhile, Matthew Hayden had some words of wisdom for the Pakistanis.
Former champion Pakistan did not have an excellent start to the ICC T20 World Cup 2022, losing the opening two contests and virtually out of the semis contention. However, as the Netherlands stunned South Africa on Sunday, it gave the Men in Green renewed hope, as they comfortably beat Bangladesh to seal its place in the knockouts alongside arch-rival India. While it prepares to take on New Zealand in the semis at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Wednesday, here's how team mentor and legendary former Australian opener Matthew Hayden has been inspiring the side, terming their qualification as a "miracle".
Following Sunday's win over Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval, Hayden gave a dressing room speech to the Pakistani side, saying, "It's just a miracle that we are seeing unfold here. But, even before we got to this day, I sensed that we have this trust in the process... we have got the energy, we've got the commitment and belief to each other, then the magic unfolds."
"It hasn't been smooth sailing. If it wasn't for the Dutch, we are not here. But, we are here, and it is powerful because no one wants to see us, and that's the element of surprise we have got the advantage," added Hayden, as seen in the video shared by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"They [other sides] thought they got rid of us, but now they are not going to get rid of us. We are here, dug in, and I love how we have gone about this compared to the last World Cup because the expectations were enormous in the last World Cup. We blew everyone off the face of the planet," Hayden continued, reports PTI.
"I think in T20 cricket, it's one of those games that you can overplay, overtrain for and overthink. And, when I look at this side and have seen this for a while now, I think we are such a good reactive team. Boys, we are dangerous. Just understand and appreciate that," asserted Hayden.
"The moment Pakistan cricket fires off with intent and starts to reveal its teeth, we become a real threat. No one in this world and this competition would want to face us right now. Not one. Boys, moving into the next couple of days, clear your minds. Be free and fresh for whichever game we play and unleash again with good, positive intent—fearless cricket, almost forgetful cricket. Who cares what has happened over the last three weeks? We are here. So, well done. Just a magical day, and you'll have to punch the smile off my face," Hayden concluded.