March 29, 2011

World Cup 2011

Who will seize the day?

Kamran Abbasi
Shahid Afridi and MS Dhoni are all smiles ahead of their semi-final clash, Mohali, March 29, 2011
Amidst the jingoism, the players themselves have set the best example, enjoying and exhibiting cordial relationships  © AFP


Expectant hysteria is reaching a climax. When twenty-two men face off in the Punjab, hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis around the world will turn their attention to a sport born in England but loved with a mad passion in South Asia. Does anybody doubt this is cricket's greatest rivalry? The tension of this moment is intense, and it has spawned daft predictions of India's defeat based on numerology and irrational fears about Pakistan's use of a 'kala pathar' during net sessions.

The test the Indians and Pakistanis face, however, is not simply confined to sport. It is an examination of our maturity, tolerance, and perspective. This is the World Cup semi-final, perhaps the one-day game of greatest import that these nations have contested, fuelled by years of acrimony, atrocities, and politicking. Some of us have already failed the test, but this semi-final is an opportunity to show that sport can unite and ennoble despite a bitter history.

The players themselves have set the best example, enjoying cordial relationships even though the baggage of jingoistic expectations is their constant burden. These are the same cordial relationships and deep friendships enjoyed by Indians and Pakistanis in all walks of life all around the world. Sadly, the pressure cooker environment of South Asia too easily strips us of our maturity, tolerance, and perspective.

With the semi-final throwing up a contest between the tournament's premier batting line-up and the tournament's best bowling attack, we have a mouth-watering contest to anticipate, a celebration of the highest skills in cricket. Is it too much to ask that sport will transcend our differences, that winners and vanquished will be applauded for their thrilling contributions to a tournament that has exceeded expectations? Probably so but we can still dream.

A more tangible dream will be victory for your preferred nation, and in that dreaming Indian fans have a head start, the favourites to succeed. Their team is playing on home territory, on the back of consistent form in this World Cup and for many months prior to it. They are a formidable proposition at home, especially when the high electrical charge of the crowd zaps Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar or Yuvraj Singh into ballistic form. A sense of destiny surrounds Sachin and his quest for his hundredth hundred, the stage seems ready for a grand moment in cricket's history.

Shahid Afridi's dreams will revolve around bringing down those three gladiators. Achieve that and the final will be within sight. Pakistan have the bowling resources to make it possible. Afridi, Umar Gul, and Saeed Ajmal pose a constant threat, and any assistance from Mohammad Hafeez and Abdul Razzaq is a welcome bonus.

The challenge for Pakistan's bowlers, however, will be greater than they have yet faced. India's batting riches ensure that, and the Mohali wicket is expected to play to home strengths. Up to this point, Pakistan's bowling discipline has been exemplary except for a crazy late spell against New Zealand.

That discipline will be essential to prevent the Indian batsmen from plugging into the electric grid of the home crowd and supercharging their way to a large total. Hence high discipline will require the accompaniment of cool nerves to stifle India's batsmen in the hope they might frazzle under the intense pressure of home expectations.

Pakistan's plans are simplified by only two minor selection dilemmas. The batsmen pick themselves, following the recent form of Hafeez, Kamran Akmal, and Asad Shafiq. Gul and Afridi are arguably the leading bowlers in the tournament. Razzaq's role seems unsatisfactory but is a vital one in Waqar Younis's strategy -- a worry for India will be that neither Afridi nor Razzaq has yet played one of their trademark blitzkrieg innings.

The first dilemma, then, is Saeed Ajmal or Abdul Rehman? Pakistan will need to take wickets against India and Ajmal is the spinner that will pose greatest threat. The second dilemma is thornier, Shoaib Akhtar or Wahab Riaz? The sentimental answer would be Akhtar but the variation in line that Riaz offers means that he is a more fitting complement to Pakistan's key wicket-takers.

India begin favourites but Pakistan have every chance to seize the day. The game will be won and lost by Pakistan's success in pressurising India's batsmen. No team has yet won a World Cup on home territory, and no World Cup has seen a match of such intensity. The favourites tag is a heavy burden while Pakistan can be more relaxed away from home pressures, enjoying each moment of exceeding everybody's expectations, they can only gain while India have their own World Cup to lose.

Should MS Dhoni's team overcome those extreme pressures it will be an incredible achievement, which could only be equalled by a team in exile, surrounded by calamity and led by a lightning conductor, reaching a World Cup final in a country that is its greatest rival.

Did somebody say it was only a cricket match?

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

RSS Feeds: Kamran Abbasi

Keywords: India v Pakistan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Jenny on (April 3, 2011, 19:09 GMT)

It is clearly evident that the author was hoping for the piece of history that no host has ever won a world cup to come true. Sorry it did not. India changed history. They won the WC2011 at their home ground as hosts. They also chased the highest score in a WC final , a pressure you can only imagine,so chasing team hardly wins world cup is also now a myth as proven by India. From your article it is evident you dont rate anyone in Indian team except Sehwag and 10dulkar. FYI in final both score a total of 18 out of 275 and the future of Indian cricket Gambhir,Kohli ,Dhoni did the rest. Yuvraj hardly batted and Raina did not even need to bat

Posted by mani kkrishnan on (April 3, 2011, 18:58 GMT)

Its all about reading the situation , adapting to it and finally implementing it however tough the scenario. India/Sachin did that. Anyone under the illusion that Mohd Hafeez can bowl so well evertime to Sachin time and time again as he did WC semifinal is living in denial. 9 out of 10 times Sachin will demolish him. But that day when Hafeez also started harassing Sachin it was evident the pitch was not 300 run track. He adjusted and so did other Indian batsmen and set a target to score 260 instead of 300.They played to plan and their bowlers stuck to a plan and it worked because the Pakistani helped them by not adjusting their own game. Luck is part of the game and if it went to Sachin that day in terms of four dropped catches its not his fault because luck has deserted him many times in past. Theres still no rule or tradition that says that a batter should walk if he is dropped.India has got better of Pakistan under pressure and that itself tells a lot about who is better team.

Posted by Muhammad Shafiq on (April 1, 2011, 9:54 GMT)

I am sad about loss but I cherish the performance by a team whom no one expected to do anything except Sanjay Manjrekar. But reality is there to face - Indian team was far more better than us. Our top two batsmen totally scored less than top Indian batsman. Rest have been said by all you.

Posted by Bosco Martyres on (March 31, 2011, 0:40 GMT)

Hi Kamran, I just finished watching the India - pak semi-final. Several Pakistani qualities cost them the game.1. Lack of strategic thinking by Afridi (Not taking the batting power play when he should have,persisting with Umar Gul, unimaginative field placing etc)2.Pathetic fielding 3.Unimaginative and irresponsible batting ( Hafeez, Misbah)4. Poor wicket keeping. 5. Too many tired old men on the team ( Younis, Misbah, Razzaq, Afridi). ODI cricket requires a team to be good at all aspects:batting, bowling, fielding, wicket keeping, captaincy, physical and mental conditioning. Pakistan is weak in many departments. It is a wonder that they got as far as they did in the tournament.

Posted by Rasheed NY on (March 30, 2011, 22:07 GMT)

Guys I say this Pakistan can't bat and they dont take catches. Until they do, they can never win. And that's what cost them the match today.

Posted by Dev on (March 30, 2011, 21:08 GMT)

I am writing this comment after the game is over. Thank you Pakistan for that pulsating game. Kamran, I guess you were wrong about Wahab! That boy can bowl.

Posted by Noshir Mody on (March 30, 2011, 20:38 GMT)

Yes, we lost today but the 2011 world cup was a success for Pakistan. We reached the semi-finals which was not expected. So congratulations to the Pakistan team. No team can give a genius like Sachin Tendulkar or for that matter any other international batsman 3 or 4 lives and then expect to win. The so called experts will call for a complete overhaul of the team but it was our fielding that let us down. Yes, there are probably other reasons as well - the failure of Younis and Misbah to rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking etc. Some new blood is needed and Pakistan cricket fans can only hope that future teams will be chosen on merit and in the best interests of Pakistan cricket without any nepotism.

Posted by avinash on (March 30, 2011, 19:15 GMT)

contrast this article with the result of the match...all the pain in trying to put pak on top through words goes out of the window...

Posted by Afridi on (March 30, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

Another world cup match, another choke for pakistan, never in the hunt after the second wicket, kamran akmal cost us the match again.

Posted by Swati on (March 30, 2011, 14:29 GMT)

Only a cricket match? Tell that too the entire two nations, probably millions more watching it. Wonderful article :)

Posted by avin ganesh on (March 30, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

Riaz took the "SKY" Sehwag-Kolli-Yuvraj out of the indian batting order and brought them back to earth. If pakistan does not win this they are a waste.

Posted by Sixers on (March 30, 2011, 7:40 GMT)

Kamran - you seem to be already in pressure before the guys get take the bigger pressure (cooker) ... :-)

Posted by Changaiz on (March 30, 2011, 7:24 GMT)

Yes and No .... :)

Posted by Laloo Yadav on (March 30, 2011, 7:19 GMT)

Well..nothing else can be expected from you, Mr. Abbasi. In a desperate effort to spice up ur article, u r playing with people's emotions. Why the hell we are treating this match as a WAR. Why not just treat this as a cricket match!!!! For GOD's sake, please leave those 22 players alone. Let them play the match without any burden of expectations. I feel Media is the biggest problem in our countries, you people just wait for such things to happen, and write BULLSHIT to mislead people,play with their emotions,put unnecessary burden on the players. Yes, I say that THIS IS ONLY A CRICKET MATCH. Lets just take it that way and enjoy the game and let the players play to their potential,without any pressure and let them enjoy the game too.

Posted by Shah on (March 30, 2011, 7:09 GMT)

Nyce one.

Posted by faheem khan on (March 30, 2011, 7:01 GMT)

i think pakistan will win the semi final. i m of the veiw that indian cricket team, politican and media also are in deep fear,terrible,horrible and dread from pakistan team so due to only this reason indian will loose the semi fianl. although indian team is good and well performing but due to above only one reason indian team will loose the match

Posted by Ramzan Fakhar on (March 30, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

Let the best playing team of the day win the match.

Posted by Siddhant Singh on (March 30, 2011, 6:28 GMT)

It will be a " Thank You " decision from an Indian point of view if Shoaib Akhtar will not be playing in this game. It has been an amazing experience for me in last three-four days to see that the man who always had experienced the atmosphere where everybody expected him to be trump-card for Pakistan is now being underestimated in his last days in international cricket. Two or three bad matches, might be, but still I think he is much forceful as compared to Wahab Riaz. But in last few days, whatever has happened, would have surely hurt him. The sentimentally wounded tiger, in that case, if somehow manages to play against India will definitely be tough to handle.

Posted by Asif Hussain on (March 30, 2011, 6:26 GMT)

It is really very big game today. But I hope pakistan will take it to home safly. One thing is important from pakistan point view is selection of team. I hope they will no take the chance of Rehman and riaz because they need wickets and Saeeda and shoib are the bowlers which can provide early breakthough to Pakistan. Good Luck for Pakistan

Posted by srivathsan on (March 30, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

very well said Kamran.After a long time iam reading your article.Any match between india & pakistan is something more than just a game that too WC SEMI FINAL is beyond discription.The passion of fans of two cricket loving mad countries knows no bounds as i read that a fan sold his flat to buy tickets in black market.I dont know what to call this mad passion.this answers ur last poser that who can call it just a cricket match. Fans should root for their team with full throat till the last ball,but should accept the result ,what ever it be,with grace .After all the world cup will remain with sub continent ,& it is gratifying.LET THE GAME OF CRICKET WIN .

Posted by Amin shah syed on (March 30, 2011, 5:56 GMT)

Well saying India is a favorite and Pakistan has got "chance" only is not the right thinking. No doubt India is a better side but in cricket you can't say who's the favorite as it is a game of pressure and a game of mind rather than a game of simple cricket of-course. The recent victories of Pakistan vs New-zealand in New-zealand and on top in a group of wc2011 who's three semi-finalist qualified till now you cant really ignore them in the list of favorites.

I've passed almost 20 years watching cricket and so far i haven't enjoy the waiting of any match like i'm doing from last 6 days. I'm measuring their capabilities, matching the past of their cricket in 80's n 90's and so far the battle of cricket between Pakistan and India is different.

For the skippers i would like to add that both MS. Dhoni and SK. Afridi are cool minded in the ways they showed control on their nerves in different situations and today i can see the win of the side who controlled their nerves better.

Posted by Omar Akhtar on (March 30, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

Yes, Kamran, it still is just a cricket match. A bloody, cricket match.

Posted by Iftikhar Ur Rahman on (March 30, 2011, 5:35 GMT)

O what a thriller we have on our hands in Mohali today. If Pakistan wants to win, it is important that they banish the word "panic" from their minds and vocabulary. If they are able to sustain those moments of pressure that are bound to be in such a high voltage match, we have Pakistan marching into the final of the Cricket World Cup 2011....

Posted by Mzk on (March 30, 2011, 5:31 GMT) always going to remember the 'kaala pathar ki saazish' incident! Will remain the highlights of WC 2011. LOL

Posted by Ammy on (March 30, 2011, 5:31 GMT)

Pakistan Zindabad! Irresepective of what is achieved on the field by the men in green today, they will never be losers, for what they have won beyond the field, such as a sense of belief for millions of Pakistanis, is invaluable. They have shown their nation, how to fight through the darkest of times and the wonders positive, honest and sincere, approach and attitude, can work. To quote the great poet, Allama Iqbal: 'Khuda ne aaj tak us kaum ki haalat nahin badli, na ho jis ko khayaal apni haalat khud badalne ka". This Pakistani team has epitomised this very demand of Allah Almighty of His creatures. They have TRIED and the result is not in their hands!!! Its now our turn to pray that their efforts prove fruitful and express our gratitude to Allah for blessing us with a team that has 'TRIED' with 'HONEST AND SINCERE' efforts!! What more could a Pakistani ask for??

Posted by muhammd waqas on (March 30, 2011, 5:26 GMT)

Pakistan will win INSHALLAH india will have to face brutal defeat inshallah

Posted by amar mastana on (March 30, 2011, 5:23 GMT)

for india to win, nehra for patel and pathan for bhajan. second batting. for pakistan to win DO NOT play akhtar as he has lost pace n stamina. never had swing plus erratic in big games. ahmed shehzad in place of wahab riaz. that gives 9 batsmen to compete with indian battin. and both team have gul and ajmal and india has zaheer and ashwin as regular consistant bowlers. other three are luck of draw. pak should nor bat first and chase india's total with 9 batsmen and week indian attack. india play with 8 batsmen. wish india win since indian but goos luck to pakistani yeam as well.

Posted by Farhan on (March 30, 2011, 5:20 GMT)

Nice article mr kamran pak have done a gud job so far i am proud of him he is a true leader he take the lead of team in the crisis and build them in a force which anyone did not think in there dreams pak is first time playing as a team they are united which is seen after 20yrs imran left the team he is truly great leader and deserve to win if pak team respond to his call i think they will. On the other hand india is strong team as wel but bowling is there weakness dhoni is also a good capton and lucky also. I also want to condem indian media they are broadcasting this match as a war indian media is realy pathetic. It is good time to bring the two nation close but indian media is drawing the LOC betwen the hearts of peoples of both nation.

Posted by Harsh Thakor on (March 30, 2011, 4:25 GMT)

Pakistan have the 51-49 edge in this game.Their bowling attack is lethal and they are the best team in championing the dark horse tag.In the history of the game Pakistan are the ultimate side to ressurect themselves from the dead and posess the spirit of tigers.The 1992 world Cup is the best example and their win in the T-20 World cup in 2009.Umar Gul and Shoab Akhat are bowling with clinical skill.

India has the best batting line up with the middle order getting it's act together in Ahmedabad against the Aussies. They proved that they could hold their nerves and rise to the occassion.However the bowling is hardly balanced and the Mohali track would favour the seamers over the spinners.With the pitch affcted by rain the seamers will get assistance and this would favour Paksiatn who have twice beaten India at Mohali.If there is dew I feel Pakistan can chase a 300+ total like in December 2007.

Above all hope the glorious game is the winner and not any single team!

Posted by Touqir Awan on (March 30, 2011, 4:07 GMT)

Great Column once again Kamran bhai, I pray to Almighty Allah that Pakistan wins today, it will be Pakistan all the way..Go Pakistan Go,you guys have to do it for 18 Million Pakistani's.

Posted by Aneesh on (March 30, 2011, 4:06 GMT)

Good one. For the first time a really good article on Ind Vs Pak semi final. All the other articles in cricinfo so far were a desperate try in posting a neutral article, but all of them were exceptionally pathetic; this one is really good. Liked the 'pressure cooker' part :) seriously, high time the neighbours showed some maturity when they are in the neighborhood. But today's game is a warrr !!! :D I hope India wins...

Posted by Shaw on (March 30, 2011, 3:56 GMT)

There is no room for wahab and reman, we need wicket takers like akhtar and ajmal. On the other hand both ajmal and akhtar are match winners and have lot of experience. Reman and wahab worst choice.

Posted by Venkat Nott on (March 30, 2011, 3:20 GMT)

A correct assessment that the pressure will be higher on India. However Pakistans batting is fragile and that should ensure that India win the day. While it is labelled as Indian batsmen vs Pakistan Bowlers, it is quite possible that it is Indian Bowling which proves to be the difference. With Zaheer , Harbhajan, Ashwin and Yuvraj ( Yes, Yuvraj(, India have the ability if not the variety of Pakistan and if India is brave enough to play Sreesanth may actually have the wicket taking ability to ensure that there is no escape. Look forward to a terrific game today.

Posted by Indian_fan on (March 30, 2011, 3:14 GMT)

It is very difficult to accept that there is not pressure on pakistan. When it comes to pakistan vs india every one gets involved. Even former cricketers are throwing punches at each other forgetting that they no longer playing. Pakistani players r comming out to the media backing themself we do this we do that. I am sure once the game is on everyone feel the intensity. What I hope the most is that amount of passion and energy every is showing would not be misdirected. They (IND & PAK) should play fair and square so that every one at the end of the day enjoy the game.

Posted by TOpa on (March 30, 2011, 2:59 GMT)

Lets make sure we have Shoaib Akhtar in the line up tomorrow with his inswing yorkers at 145+ km/hr, fast rising deliviers at the body, slower balls, and reverse swings. Indian batsmen need to be tested like they were in the 3rd ICC 20 Over World Cup in West Indies especially the way Australin bowlers made the Indian batsmen jump and dance outside the batting crease, and expose the Indian's limitation to short-pitch deliveries aimed at their bodies.

Posted by Bilal Parviz Butt on (March 30, 2011, 2:32 GMT)

Kamran, This is definitely your best piece to date... simply love the last couple of lines... BOOM BOOM!!!

Posted by Dr. Alex Kuruvila on (March 30, 2011, 2:28 GMT)

WC Semifinals and Finals: How about Yousuff Patan in the Indian team replacing Munaf Patel? In my opinion, India should go with Zach, Bhajji, Ashwin, Yuvraj, Yusuff and Raina (and Kohli and Sachin to bowl a couple of overs each if necessary). Yousuff will strengthen the team in all 3 areas (batting, fielding and even bowling) and certainly could be a match winner in the crucial Semi Finals against Pakistan and if a win, in the finals against SL!

Posted by ivehadit on (March 30, 2011, 2:09 GMT)

keep the articles coming, kamran.

you make it sound like a greek tragedy unfolding. thanks for the beautiful writings.

Posted by Mustafa on (March 30, 2011, 2:03 GMT)

Shoaib Akhtar doesn't even figure in this article.

Posted by fcuk on (March 30, 2011, 1:16 GMT)

Live In Dreams

Posted by Hamood Hassan on (March 30, 2011, 1:00 GMT)

Great article! Being Pakistani, I would only support my team! I look forward to see a great cricket game after a long time. And the passion I see in this World Cup is just unimaginable. This is the biggest gift our team can give to the nation even if they do not win the cup, we will be still supporting them. Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by umar on (March 29, 2011, 22:05 GMT)

hhhmmm....may the better team will win this...i want good cricket...n my prayerz are with Pakistan...its not a war..its a game...n should be enjoyed

Posted by Noor on (March 29, 2011, 21:31 GMT)

Lots of talk from the Pakistani camp even the politicians are getting involved. In the meanwhile India are quite, I suspect they will quitely do their business by beating Pakistan and win the World Cup. Like the old saying goes "Empty vessels makes the most nosie" Somebody has to remind the Pak team 'Mums the word" do your talking on the field not in front of the camera. Akthar if he plays I hope he does't try to show off by bowling faster then he can just to impress the Indian girls. Lets hope the team play for the country and go out selfishly trying to get all the attention.

Posted by Aftab Qureshi on (March 29, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

Win or lose, Pakistan needs to bring Shoaib Akhtar in, if he is fit. Even Umar Gul has said that it would reduce pressure on him. And if I understand correctly, a number of ex captains and seniors have called for his inclusion. I just hope he is in full fitness and finds favor with the tour selection committee.

Posted by mushtaq on (March 29, 2011, 21:00 GMT)

Pakistan has to win to prove injustice done to them of isolation and no international cicket or IPL for them. While both teams are capable I want PAK to win to show a point...Pak has a v good captain who can lead from front and this the chance they have given themselves let Pak go forward.India is a well established team but the flair belongs to Pak...

Posted by Jay on (March 29, 2011, 20:59 GMT)

Excellent summary of sentiments, travails and triumphs of cricket between two nations! This is a mature write-up as opposed to eschewed perspective drawn from fudged conclusions in your yesterday's column. Yesterday, you beat other Kamran who is equally goofy at times! Thanks for the above piece, though.


Posted by Hasan on (March 29, 2011, 20:45 GMT)

Waooo!!! What a wonderful article?? Love you last line :)

Posted by ali_a on (March 29, 2011, 20:22 GMT)

Good article Mr Abbasi, except for one thing that is bewildering to me. Why is Pak team acting so childishly (coach and mgr) and punishing Akhtar for NZ loss (and words with Akmal). Sorry to say but Wahab is no Akram- he may've a variety but so far he's not impressive in last few games (expansive and only 1-2 wkts). Pakistan cannot defeat India w/o Akhtar (whether you, Waqar or Intikhab likes it or not). Akhtar has everything that Wahab, plus pace and aggression. All these rumors about AKhtar not 100% is a lie (care to explain what kind of injury he sustained after NZ loss?). This is just a cover for captain and coach (who are heavily influenced by Akmal bros- there is no hiding in that). Pak lost to NZ not because of Akhatr's giving 28 runs but because Akmal dropped two vital catches. Also you're wrong that Pak will be enjoying- they are going to be under pressure too. Afridi/Razaq and Younis need to show some batting, else don't blame Akhtar (you guys are flopped in batting so far).

Posted by A.Ali on (March 29, 2011, 20:22 GMT)

Spinners don't bother India, Pakistan should play with three fast bowlers - Shoaib, Wahab and Gul. Afridi and Hafez can bowl spin. Mohali has some grass on the wicket and over night rain will juice up the wicket for fast bowlers.

Posted by Usman Akbar on (March 29, 2011, 20:18 GMT)

Nice post. After reading through this even I am under alot of pressure and can only guess how the players would be feeling once the umpire calls out "Play". Personally, I think the game would be won in the first 15 overs of either innings. Any team who will capitalise on these will be the evetual winners.

Posted by Usaspire on (March 29, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

I guarantee that India will seize the day. I don't want to say much right now.

Posted by Nadeem Yasin on (March 29, 2011, 19:51 GMT)

Gul and Afridi would be the difference between victory and defeat. Afridi also has to open up his bat like the T20 final. Wishing you best of Luck, Pakistan.

Posted by k.qureshi on (March 29, 2011, 19:44 GMT)

Formula is simple for either team.Win the toss.Bat first.Score more than 280 and win the game.But the game is very complicated.Play Ajmal or Rehman,Play Wahab or Akhtar.Take the second pp if bowling,when to use Razzak,how much dew will affect,?open with Afridi?open with Razak?open with Hafeez or Rehman on and on.Here is my suggestion.Keep Ajmal and with Gul and Akhtar.Hopefully Pak will win the toss.Besides nerves and capitalizing on opportunities,the most important factor will be the toss winning.So in the end the luck always play a big role.

Posted by Shakeel on (March 29, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

No its more than a match. I haven't seen something like this in my whole life. Six days were like six years. People are very excited i hope match satisfies everyone but i want Pakistan to win!

Posted by Wachucha on (March 29, 2011, 19:23 GMT)

Great analysis. I feel Pakistan cricket has suffered a lot in recent years. They are a much bigger team than what their ranking suggests. They have been stripped of their rights to host Champions' Trophy and this WC. Wining this WC will certainly be a major boast to cricket in Pakistan and to restore their pride.

Posted by Sitarah Anjum on (March 29, 2011, 19:22 GMT)

Inshallah Pakistan will win the Semi Final. They are united, full of confidence and enthusiasm. They rose to the occasion at a time when nobody rated them as contender of world cup. Pakistan will be less under pressure compared to India. There is too much hype created by the Indian media which will have negative impact on their team. At the moment though Pakistan will also feel the heat but they're better prepared mentally to face the hostile crowd. This will be a game of nerves, skill and patience. Whoever is focussed will win the game. Go Pakistan Go all our prayers are with you. All the best to team in green and supporters all around world. PS: Please do not watch live if you have any health problems. Life is more precious than any game!! Wining and losing is part of game. One team has to lose so be realistic.

Posted by Adnan Mavia on (March 29, 2011, 19:15 GMT)

Nice Article Abbasi, I am from Pakistan, and waiting anxiously for the biggest moment of my life. Although heart goes with team Pakistan (isn't a sin?), but at the end one has to loose, no matter whatever happens tomorrow we should support our team, they are our national heroes and we are proud of them.

Posted by nadeem sharifuddin on (March 29, 2011, 19:13 GMT)

This is actually a match and match between rivals. Win or lose, we Pakistanis are happy that we reach the Semi final because of great effort , even after going through worst year in our cricket history but today we are proud to play Semi Final.

For me beating Australia was the biggest challenge and we did which no other country was able to do in 12 straight years. Its greater honor than WC final.

But beating India will be a soul satisfying effort but on the other hand we want friendship with Indians, we don't want them to be angry (if) after losing. Therefore i do hope that teams who plays well wins the match.

We all love cricket and we are going to see a match . Its not war , it's all love for cricket. We all believe in peace and love and cricket is going to provide it today. Have fun.

Posted by TD_160 on (March 29, 2011, 19:10 GMT)

Normally, I would wish Pakistan luck, but I fear that if they get past India, they will then go on to beat Sri Lanka in the final. After having been so close and yet so far in several World Cups and World T20s over the past decades, we Sri Lankan fans couldn't take another agonising failure.

Posted by Alex Farooque on (March 29, 2011, 18:53 GMT)

Yes it is only a cricket match.

Posted by Shouldas – Wouldas - Couldas on (March 29, 2011, 18:33 GMT)

“THE MATCH” Analysis !

Pakistan -Barring “Taylor’s birthday gifts”, its impossible to pick holes in Pak. Side. +Team Pakistan oozes class, is bomb-proof and possess the ‘killer-stinct’ to finish-off the opposn. +Pumped-up KING Afridi is a man possessed and his captaincy is the lynch pin to team’s achievements. +Team Pakistan is hitting Top-Gear at the right time. +Simply, They are “DYNAMITE” !

India +On paper, India’s batting is better than their bowling (no rocket science). -Batting collapse against disciplined S.A. attack creates doubts. Can crumble under COSH! Its NOT Bomb-proof ! -Indian bowling & fielding “FAILED” to defend 300+ score against mediocre England batting. - QF- India dined on “Left-overs of LION(PAKISTAN)’s PREY(Australia)”! Aust. was “roughed-up, softened” at Colombo (BY PAKISTAN) for India to capitalize . - Media hype exerts xtra press. on Dhoni.

* “Pakistsunami“ is heading for Mohali !

Concl. “Walk in the Park” for Red-Hot PAKISTAN!


Posted by Srini on (March 29, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

Pak vs Ind semi-final is the ultimate for both teams even though it should have been the final. As pointed out in article, it is the contest between much vaunted Indian batting line up vs superior Pak bowling variety. Given the context and pressures, I wouldn't be surprised if Pak bowling comes ahead just a bit.

Posted by salman on (March 29, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

No matter what we say... deep down in our hearts we know that this is bigger than a cricket match.. emotions of millions of fans from both sides of the border rest on what happens tommorrow... i hope Pakistan comes out victorious tommorrow...

i was too young in 1992.... i want to enjoy the moments of winning a world cup.. pakistan zindabad

Posted by Farhan Quavi on (March 29, 2011, 18:08 GMT)

Kamran Bhai, You are asking who will seize the day? Pakistan InshaAllah.

Posted by Rashid on (March 29, 2011, 18:06 GMT)

Umar Gul & IMRAN said what fans who knows cricket has already said.Please if he has no injury play him.With Wahab's performance you cannot win World cup.Even taking risk with Junaid make sense."I do not like Shoaib", is not a excuse to put him aside. It is Pakistan's management who wasted such a talent.They just did not know how to handle him.I wish Yousuf was there to stabilize the middle order.If Shoaib can perform last two matches that is all he will need to define his carrier. Kamran Bhai,good comment :"Ajmal is the spinner that will pose greatest threat".

Posted by Yasir on (March 29, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

Kudos for the balance and outright factual emotional ride of the article, that we've all been through the last few days. This is a monumental match, the reaction to it, either side of the border needs to be exactly the way that cricket was supposed to be played, by gentlemen.

Posted by Jawed Iqbal on (March 29, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

Well judging by the attitude of the indian media and their arrogant diatribes against the Pakistani team, they already feel that Pakistan is to be victorious (INSHALLLAH)

Comments have now been closed for this article


Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

All articles by this writer