Former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has refused to make any prior comments about the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan game of this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. In a blockbuster opener for India, the team has been drawn to lock horns with arch-rivals Pakistan on October 23 at the iconic MCG. India had lost to Pakistan for the first time in an ICC tournament when the teams clashed in last year’s T20 World Cup in Dubai. (Also Read | ‘Go back, get runs. Still have lot of time for comeback’: Kaif’s strong message for ‘X-factor’ player after India snub)
Harbhajan recalled the Indian team’s defeat to Pakistan and said he won’t be passing any ‘Mauka Mauka‘ comments before the fixture. “We have another T20 World Cup, and this year, I won’t be giving any statement and won’t talk over who will win [between Pakistan and India]. ‘Mauka Mauka’ or whatever, we will see what is going to happen as last time around, things went bad when I talked about this,” Harbhajan told Shoaib Akhtar on Sportskeeda.
India, who were the pre-tournament favourites, were knocked out of last year’s T20 World Cup after being outwitted in the first two Super 12 matches by Pakistan and New Zealand. The team did bounce back for wins over Afghanistan and Scotland but was unable to undo the early damage.
India’s disappointing run at the event started after Pakistan beat them by 10 wickets in the Group 2 game, securing a maiden victory over India in an ICC World Cup event as well.
Before the T20 World Cup fixture last year, Harbhajan had said that Pakistan should hand India a walkover as they have no chance of winning the game. “I told Shoaib Akhtar that there is no point in playing against us, give us a walkover instead. You will play against us, we will beat you and you will be disappointed. There is no point,” Harbhajan had said.
However, Pakistan openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam put on an unbeaten 152-run stand to lead the side to victory with 13 deliveries to spare. India scored 151/8 with Virat Kohli (57) and Rishabh Pant (39) steering India away from trouble after the side was reduced to 31/3 in 5.4 overs.
Shaheen Afridi, who claimed three wickets, produced an incredible opening spell to remove Indian openers Rohit Sharma (0) and KL Rahul (3) early. The dismissals eventually set the tone for the game as India failed to revive from early setbacks.