Pakistan all-rounder Asmavia Iqbal has backed her team to beat India and get off the mark in the ICC Women’s World Cup in Derby on Sunday.
Back-to-back defeats by South Africa and England have left Pakistan in must-win territory before it faces its biggest rivals this weekend.
In ODIs, Pakistan has never beaten India in nine attempts, but last year it claimed an historic two-run victory in the ICC World Twenty20, on Indian soil.
Asmavia is confident that Pakistan can build on the first two games and beat its rival, particularly if opening batter Ayesha Zafar can kick on after an unbeaten fifty against England.
She said: “Playing against India there is always pressure. It is a big game but I am very hopeful of doing much better against India.
“We beat India in India in the last T20. I believe in my spinners that they will bounce back and take wickets, and we will win the match.
“Ayesha batted well and gained confidence, which is important before the game against India.
“We are looking forward to the next game, whole Pakistan. In Pakistan they say that you have to win against India, it is very important. We took some positives (from the game against England).
“Our fast bowling did well, Ayesha played well. But there are many areas to improve, especially fielding, which is letting us down. If we field well, we can beat any team.”
Fielding was also the watch word for India captain Mithali Raj after her team overcame the West Indies by seven wickets at Taunton.
The Indian spinners led the way with seven wickets between them, and while Smriti Mandhana also chipped in with a brilliant run-out of Stafanie Taylor – before hitting an unbeaten century – Raj was frustrated at some late fielding lapses from her team.
She said: “We need to work on our catching, fielding is very crucial and it can win us matches.
“I’m very pleased with the way the girls responded with crucial run-outs against the West Indies even though there were a couple of lapses in the field (drops).”
“We still have a couple of games more before we can look to the semi-finals and looking at how Sri Lanka has played and how Pakistan has played, every match is going to be crucial for us.”
Victory for India would take it to the verge of the semi-finals, Raj’s pre-tournament expectation of the side.
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smriti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Nuzhat Parween, Shikha Pandey, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma, Sushma Verma and Poonam
Pakistan: Sana Mir (captain), Asmavia Iqbal, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Ghulam Fatima, Iram Javed, Javeria Wadood, Kainat Imtiaz, Marina Iqbal, Bibi Nahida, Syeda Nain Fatima Abidi, Nashra Sundhu, Sadia Yousaf, Sidra Nawaz and Waheeda Akhter
Umpires: Gregory Brathwaite and Shaun George
Match referee: Richie Richardson