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India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali

Batting track expected in Mohali

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mohali

March 27, 2011

Comments: 100 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni and curator Daljit Singh inspect the Mohali pitch, Mohali, March 27, 2010
Daljit Singh, the PCA Stadium curator, talks to MS Dhoni about the pitch © AFP

There are no match tickets available. There are no hotel rooms vacant for the thousands flocking to Chandigarh from all over the world. The premiers of both India and Pakistan will be there to watch their men contest the second semi-finals of the World Cup. Add to those certainties one other: the Mohali pitch is bound to be batsmen-friendly. If sources are to be believed, then the fast bowlers will be more effective than spinners. "It is a good batting wicket. I don't think it will turn much," a Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) official said.

History suggests that captains prefer to bat first on calling the coin right and both MS Dhoni and Shahid Afridi will do well to follow convention. It is better to bat first because the wicket tends to lose pace as the match goes on. But if there is heavy dew things could change. "A 280-plus total would be really difficult to chase," the source said. Over the last five years, in the nine matches played at the ground the 300-run mark has been breached only twice. Incidentally, on the first occasion, Pakistan successfully chased India's 321 in a day-night game, with Younis Khan's 117 overshadowing Sachin Tendulkar's 99.

In the past five years, seven out of the nine matches have been won by the side batting first. Also, there were seven day-night matches with five won by the side batting first and only two by the chasing side. Wednesday's semi-final would be the first match to be played under lights since November 2009 in Mohali.

Of the 137 wickets taken in those nine matches, fast bowlers accounted for 105, while the spinners claimed just 29. Even though the seamers have predominantly controlled affairs here, slow bowlers like Harbhajan Singh, who relies on bounce, have always got good purchase from the Mohali pitch. At the same time the hard clay in the pitch tends to make the ball skid rather than spin, so a spinner like Afridi would do well to push the ball rather than spin it.

Another talking point in the build-up to the match has been the dew. Over the last few days there has been heavy dew with the outfield being really wet till 10 pm. The curator will be taking measures like not watering the ground two days before the match and cutting the outfield really low but it would be difficult to eliminate the dew entirely. An essential factor for the dew to not spoil the evening would be the presence of the wind during the first half of the day. If it is windy during the day the dew will not be heavy, otherwise it will play affect team strategies.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 100 
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Posted by Calvin on (March 29, 2011, 23:19 GMT)

I anticipate an easy win by India on the morrow...GO INDIA GO!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 19:48 GMT)

no mater who wins tomrws match sri lanka wil beat them n win da world cup.... so guys no point of thinking much ahead... n mumbai get readi for a sri lankan victory on 2nd of april...

Posted by Prajith on (March 29, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

@abhimanyu-You cant bring any player who was left out of the selection into the team.He was left out on selection coz of injury,now u cant bring him back.Whats gone is gone.I hope too that he was in the team,what a time to get an injury

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 13:43 GMT)

@Abhimanyu We can get Praveen Kumar back in place of some one who is injured only... n sadly no one in the present 15 member indian squd is injured so Praveen HAS to wait!

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

Alright guys, I think enough people have already said that India are favorites. I really don't think so. Look at what Sanjay Manjrekar says? It was the same SM and co who went after QF in 1996 thinking that they have won the world cup. PAKISTAN IS GOING TO BE REALLY HARD TO BEAT! TEAM INDIA, PLEASE DON'T BE COMPLACENT. Practice hard! Hope, everything works out well in India's favor.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 7:27 GMT)

Had there been a match for 3rd and 4th positions in Cricket WC, India would have some hope in the tournament after tomorrow's game.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

@Shokat Ali. Dew factor will make the chase really easy. 270 will be easily achievable with Dew around the ground. So both team will need to analyze the ground tonight and calculate how much dew will be there and at what time. If they find enough dew tonight then definitely winning the toss and electing to field will be the best option.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 29, 2011, 6:57 GMT)

I wish to watch Shoaib and Tendulkar, Yusuf Pathan and Umar Gul unfortunately shoaib and yusuf pathan might not be included in final 11.................

Posted by sam on (March 29, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

looks like another dead pitch and a waste of time for quick bowlers . All pitches have looked the same .Are players afraid of the ball? And..is it compulsery in this game to bowl spin with a bent arm ? Yorkshire league umpires would have something to say !!!!

Posted by Manoj on (March 29, 2011, 2:57 GMT)

@Saukat Ali: Day-night game or not, I don't think 270 is enough total for a India Pakistan game. We have seen these teams getting and chasing bigger scores. Both teams are in good form. And they are hinting that it's going to be a batting friendly track. If Pakistan bats first, 330+ is a safe total. If India bats first 310+ is a safe total.

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