Pakistan have never beaten their arch-rivals India at a World Cup, though clashes between the two sides have always been among the most exciting. However, this year, Pakistan captain Sarfaraz admitted his side would treat "every match as a match against India".
Pakistan will have the advantage of playing five ODIs in England in the run-up to #CWC19, and they want to make it count in getting used to the conditions and embracing an aggressive batting style.— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) April 22, 2019
Haris Sohail and @babarazam258 explain 👇 https://t.co/1qgBOLcI0k
"For us all nine matches are important so we will take every match as a match against India," said Sarfaraz in a press conference held before the team's departure for England and Wales on Monday, 22 April.
Sarfaraz added that his side would take the confidence from the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy triumph, where they defeated India in the final by 180 runs, saying: "We have beaten India in a bigger event recently so we will have that advantage".
There has been a lot of talk around England and India being among the favourites going into the World Cup this year. However, this isn't something that's worrying the Pakistan skipper. "Look, when we go as favourites, then it's a problem, but if we go as underdogs then other teams feel the danger, so I think being underdogs is good for us and eases the pressure."
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, under whose guidance the team has risen through the ranks, won the coveted Champions Trophy and also currently sits at the No.1 spot in MRF Tyres ICC Men's T20I Team Rankings, believes the coming months "are exciting times for Pakistan cricket and for the team".
"We leave on a journey for which we have worked really hard," he said, and added that they have "a good team, both in talent and attitude".
"The initial thing is to qualify for the last four and take it from there, so I think we have the potential to certainly go all the way but before that we have to play very well," he concluded.
Pakistan will play five one-day internationals and a one-off Twenty20 International against England starting 3 May, before taking on West Indies in their first World Cup game on 31 May.