Indo-Pak: A semi-final of the decade
Who had thought at the beginning of this year that the ICC World Cup 2011 would witness a showdown between India and Pakistan during the semi-finals. This match will probably be one of the most memorable cricket matches of this decade and a match which will be watched intently by nearly 1/6th or the world. Who said the game didn’t have viewership! Needless to say Facebook and Twitter shall be inundated with updates/comments regarding the match and emotions regarding the player performances which will just showcase the amount of passion that is there for this game in the sub-continent.
IMO India might have an upper hand in the batting department but the Pakistani team has a much stronger bowling attack than ours. It’s needless to say this as some of the Indian bowlers have made it difficult for us to determine which team they were playing for on match day! On the batting side, we have three of the most prolific run-getters this tournament. Our openers, Sachin and Sehwag, can decimate any bowling attack on the day the click. Both them firing on all cylinders will definitely do our chances of getting into the finals a lot of good. Yuvraj will definitely look to adding to his tally on his home ground!
On the other hand, the Indian bowlers, barring the exception of Zaheer Khan, don’t feature in the wicket takers list. However, Afridi and Umar Gul look to be in menacing form with the ball. This is one match that the news media doesn’t have to hype up as everyone is super-charged already about this match!!
It would be an amazing feat for Sachin…. Winning the World Cup at his home ground!! The man has done the country proud and deserves a World Cup which has eluded him for nearly two decades. The closest he got to it was the ICC World Cup Finals in 2003.
All Indians remember the last encounter between the two teams during the 2003 World Cup which most of my neighbors wouldn’t want to reminisce about. A memorable innings from the Little Master set the stage for Pakistan’s exit from the tournament. Incidentally, the same match saw a brilliant hundred from Saeed Anwar.
In their first meet at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 4, 1992, during the 16th match of the Benson & Hedges World Cup, India won by 43 runs.
Both teams met for the second time in the second quarter final match of the Wills World Cup 1996 played at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. India won that match by 39 runs and reached the semi final.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 semi finalist India and Pakistan met for the third time in the Super Sixes of the ICC World Cup 1999 at Old Trafford, Manchester. On that match India defeated Pakistan India by 47 runs.
For the fourth time, two arch rivals India and Pakistan met at SuperSport Park in Centurion, South Africa during the pool ‘A’ match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003. With a quick fire knock by Sachin Tendulkar and a brilliant 50 by Yuvraj Singh, India won the match by six wickets. Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 98 runs, was awarded with the man-of-the-match.
It doesn’t matter than the match is on a Wednesday but the two countries will come to practically a stand-still starting 2.30PM IST on Wednesday and most non-residents will have a tough time figuring out if it’s a national holiday! 30th March, 2011 may probably be one of the most unproductive days in India with corporate efficiency hitting an all-time low!
Here is an excerpt from an article which shows how big this sporting occasion is for both countries:
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed his satifaction over Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raja Gilani responding positvely to the offer of watching India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final match in Mohali.
For tomorrow’s match, I shall take solace from the fact that India has never lost a World Cup tie to it’s neighbors but all statistics are futile when the match starts as what happens on that day makes the news and everything else as they say is history!
Best of luck to the Men-In-Blue and hope we get closer to the dream of lifting the World Cup in India as the hosts and break the host-jinx!
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar par dil bolta hai ki Jeetega bhai jeetega, India zaroor jeetega.