Pakistan left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir said the memory of his late mother will serve as an inspiration during the World Cup clash against India in Manchester on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Amir is back in form after picking up 5-30 against Australia on Wednesday following an extended poor run that saw him take just five wickets in 14 ODIs leading up to the World Cup.
Amir’s mother Naseem Akhtar passed away in March this year and the pacer said she wanted him to take five wickets in every match.
“My mother will definitely be praying for me from the heavens,” Amir was quoted as saying by AFP.
“She would always be found before the television, praying for my success and her biggest wish was that I get five wickets, so when I got five I cried and remembered her words.”
Pakistan have lost all six of their previous World Cup matches against India but Amir is looking to draw inspiration from their 2017 Champions Trophy final meeting in England when Amir inspired a 180-run victory.
“That was a high-pressure game so I learnt from that final. As a strike bowler everyone wanted me to take wickets and on that day I learned how to handle that pressure,” said Amir.
Aaron Finch blasted a national World Cup record 153 to send Australia top of the World Cup standings with an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka at The Oval.
Finch equalled his career-best ODI innings in a one-sided result, the skipper eclipsing Ricky Ponting’s unbeaten 140 from the 2003 final as Australia’s top World Cup innings.
Australia’s big hitting sealed a fourth win in five matches, with former skipper Steve Smith notching 73 and Glenn Maxwell a quickfire 46 in a final tally of 334-7.
Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera raced to a 115-run opening stand, but once Australia broke that partnership, Sri Lanka never looked capable of producing the required record World Cup chase.
Sri Lanka wound up 247 all out, the size of the chase forcing a clutch of mistakes.
Australia’s commanding victory offered a statement of intent for their World Cup intentions and a warning to their rivals, notably England.
The grudge match against the hosts and pre-tournament favourites is slated for Lord’s on June 25, and both sides appear to be moving towards top form.
Finch’s superlative captain’s knock comfortably won the day for an Australia side whose bowling improved as their time in the field wore on.
David Warner looked out of touch and scrapping for form in a patchy 26 from 48 balls at the top of the innings, and Usman Khawaja failed with just 10.
But all that proved immaterial with Finch in sparkling form, ably supported by first Smith and then Maxwell.
Karunaratne and Perera blasted out of the blocks to the extent that just for a fleeting 10 overs Sri Lanka started to concoct ideas of pulling off this monster chase.
Starc had other ideas though, clean bowling Perera with a fine delivery, on which turned Sri Lanka’s entire innings.
The seamer’s eventual haul of four wickets for 55 runs belied a sticky start, underlining Australia’s trademark tenacity to turn events in their favour, often through little more than sheer will.
Karunaratne succumbed three shy of a maiden ODI century to boot, as hope proved a typically cruel mistress.
If Perera’s dismissal was down to Starc’s poise, Karunaratne’s revolved around a loose shot. No one who followed either opener could generate anywhere near the same power, panache and pace of scoring.
And so Sri Lanka’s innings, and the match, petered out to the inevitable Australia win.
Australia roll on to face Bangladesh at Trent Bridge on Thursday, buoyed hugely by this result and certainly Finch’s front-foot leadership. Sri Lanka limp towards a Headingley encounter with England, where without significantly beefed-up middle order batting they can expect similar treatment.
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Virat Kohli said India’s mindset “remains the same” for the World Cup match against great rivals Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday.
So far in the tournament, India have beaten South Africa and Australia, with their match against New Zealand abandoned without a ball being bowled.
In contrast, Pakistan have beaten home favourites England, but lost to West Indies and Australia, with their match against Sri Lanka also called off with no play because of the rain.
When asked about his most tense moment during and India-Pakistan match, Kohli revealed:” “Tense was Champions Trophy 2009, where Yuvi fractured a finger, and I was literally flown in and in two days time I was playing against Pakistan at Centurion. I hadn’t experienced anything like that before, and I played a very bad shot, and I couldn’t sleep until 6:00 in the morning. I was looking at the ceiling and thinking, that’s it, I’ve flown in, and now I’m finished.”