LAHORE - Pakistan Twenty20 team under the leadership of captain M Hafeez left here for India on Saturday with high hopes of defeating the arch-rivals in the first bilateral series between the two neighbouring countries in five years.

A large number of cricket-lovers were present at the Allama Iqbal International Airport to see off their heroes and sent them with good wishes.

The team will proceed to Bangalore en route New Delhi as the ODI team captained by Misbahul Haq will leave for India after three days. The team will reach Bangalore in the night through a chartered flight after a brief stop-over in New Delhi.

With Hafeez in charge of the Twenty20 squad and Misbah holding the team's ODI command, Pakistan would be looking to give their best on the brief tour that would begin with a Twenty20 International in Bangalore on Christmas Day. The series opener would be followed by the second and last T20 game in Ahmedabad on December 28. The three One-day Internationals would take place in Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi.

Pakistan played a series of practice sessions and a few warm-up games during a week-long training camp. The touring party had a meeting with PCB chief Ch Zaka Ashraf at its headquarters in Gaddafi Stadium.

Pakistan would be looking to give their best on the brief tour which begins with a Twenty20 International at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on December 25 followed by the second T20I at Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera in Ahmedabad on December 28.

This trip probably could have a significant bearing on the future of senior all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who when on song is arguably the most feared Pakistani cricketer by Indian players. The recent warm-up matches indicated that the flamboyant all-rounder has rediscovered his batting form for which he was struggling for the last one year. And if Shahid Afridi gets going, Pakistan will win more than half of the battle in India.

Pakistan T20 squad:

M Hafeez (capt), Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shahzad, Kamran Akmal (wk), Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Umar Gul, Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan Asad Ali, M Irfan and Zulfiqar Babar.

–HAROON SIDDIQUI