Pakistan in must-win situation against Scotland

From Alam Zeb Safi

BIRMINGHAM: Following a 1-4 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand, Pakistan hockey team will be going all out to pull off a win against Scotland in their Group A third round fixture of the Commonwealth Games here at the University of Birmingham hockey venue on Wednesday (today).

The match begins at 11pm PST.

After holding South Africa to a 2-2 draw through Afraz’s last-minute equaliser in their opener, the Green-shirts played poor hockey against nimble-footed New Zealand and faced a huge defeat in the second-round show which demoralised the brigade being coached by Holland’s Siegfried Aikman, who was also not happy with that performance.

Having faced a 0-12 drubbing at the hands of the world’s top team Australia, Scotland went down to South Africa 4-5 and held New Zealand to a 5-5 draw. The Green-shirts will have to be more careful against them as a win is extremely important for Pakistan to stay in the event.

And Pakistan’s skipper Umar Bhutta said that they would go for a win.

“Our simple plan is that we would like to produce a win against Scotland and to get three points,” Umar told ‘The News’ here before the all-important game.

“We have motivated the boys and they are mentally ready as we need a win against Scotland,” Umar said. “Against New Zealand we wanted to win and went all out and made some mistakes in the middle. But hopefully we will not repeat the same mistakes against Scotland and will go with a solid strategy.”

He said that they would go with their full strength against Scotland who, he says, is a good team keeping in view the environment it has and its close connection with England.

“Mubashir, who had been injured in the first game against South Africa had some stitches on his forehead and against New Zealand he also came out early but I hope we will play with our full 18 players against Scotland tomorrow,” Umar said.

Defending his boys the skipper said that they are young and would learn. “You know we have an extremely young squad and they have hardly played a few matches. They will get experience slowly and gradually and will grow,” said the captain.

In the other Group A show on Wednesday (today) Australia will take on South Africa while in Group B Canada will meet India and Ghana will face Wales.

Australia lead Group A with six points and are followed by South Africa with four points and New Zealand stand at the third spot on the table also with four points. Pakistan and Scotland have one point each and are at the fourth and fifth place respectively.

England lead Group B with seven points and are followed by India with four points and Wales with three. Canada and Ghana have one point each and are at the fourth and fifth place, respectively.

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