Babar Azam and Pakistan inspired by stories of Class of 1992's World Cup triumph

Babar says current players are living the dream ahead of Sunday's T20 final against England

Pakistan's Imran Khan (left) and Inzamam ul-Haq celebrate after they beat England in the final of the Cricket World Cup in Melbourne in 1992. Getty
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For all the talk of the parallels of this T20 World Cup and that of the 50-over version in 1992, none of those actually involved this time around can have any memory of back then.

Take the Pakistan team, for example. Of their starting XI, only Iftikhar Ahmed and Shan Masood were even born when their country beat England in that MCG final, and they would each have been in nappies.

It still remains one of the defining night of cricket in their country, though. So much so that the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Ramiz Raja, addressed the current vintage to share his memories of that game 30 years ago.

Babar Azam, the captain, said his side were grateful for the history lesson, ahead of Sunday’s final against England on the same patch of turf.

“When the chairman came and shared his experience of the World Cup, it put a massive boost in our confidence,” Babar said, in his pre-final press conference.

“He advised us to stay calm and focus on what goes well.”

Babar said walking in the footsteps of the Class of 1992 by making this final has been the realisation of a dream.

“We couldn't start off well [in the tournament] but we came back with great momentum,” Babar said.

Pakistan beat New Zealand in semi-final

“In the previous three or four matches, the team has played very well on both individual and team level. We've been working really hard for this. It feels like a dream come true to reach the final.

“I'm more excited than nervous since we've performed well in our last three matches.

“It is no doubt that pressure exists but it can only be suppressed with confidence and belief in ourselves. And for good results it is important we do so.”

Babar himself hinted at a return to form with the bat as he posted his first half-century of the competition in the semi-final win over New Zealand.

He said the form of the likes of Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan and Mohammed Haris had lightened the pressure.

“Of course great pressure builds on you when you are under a spell of not scoring well,” he said.

“But I'd like to commend the middle order, they stepped up and took the responsibility to achieve what me and [Mohammed] Rizwan couldn't.

“Iftikhar, Shadab and Haris played extremely well. Although he is a youngster, Haris has proved to be an asset in this event.

“Although I couldn't perform, but the rest of the team performance kept me motivated.”

Updated: November 12, 2022, 11:45 AM
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