First-person reports from the stands
Choice of game
India v Pakistan in a World Cup semi-final. I don't think I need to give a reason why I went for this match. Just the fact that I was able to get my hands on tickets was a miracle in itself.
"India! India! India! India!" (Forgive me for the chants, but mentally I'm still in the stadium).
World Cup prediction
I'm going to go with India as the winner, partly because I am an Indian, but also because they are a very, very formidable side right now. Sri Lanka are very strong, no doubt, but I just get this feeling that this Cup is destined to go to India.
Sachin Tendulkar. The minute he went, the match could have gone either way.
One thing I'd have changed
Security. It was understandable why it was tight, but it was a problem that could have been taken care of if preparations were better.
I wore the Indian jersey along with a tri-coloured jester's hat with bells on it. I also carried a big flag and a whistle.
Face-off I relished
Sehwag v Gul was a sight to behold. Those five fours in an over were worth paying the price of entry once again. Absolutely brutal.
Tendulkar's two third-umpire referrals. The first was a leg-before decision overturned on review. And the other was a stumping chance, which we thought was out till we saw the replay. In fact, both had seemed out when seen with the naked eye, and getting the referral in his favour twice was just something else.
Shot of the day
Umar Akmal's six off Yuvraj Singh in the 32nd over. It seemed like a match-turning shot, and it went over the bowler's head. Fortunately for India, his innings didn't last long.
The stands were beyond packed. It was more than a full house. I think there were more people inside the stadium than the actual capacity. The Indian team had huge support, but the crowd also applauded the Pakistan players when they deserved it. However there weren't that many Pakistani supporters in my stand.
Besides the usual "Sachin! Sachin!" and "Jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega!" (India will win!), there was one particular chant that went on for a while, which I really liked: "Pakistan sangharsh karo, hum tumhare saath hai! Tum humare bachche ho, hum tumhare baap hai!" (Rough translation: Pakistan try harder, we support you! You're our children, we're your daddy.)
I'd say nearly every spectator had his or her face painted and was wearing an India jersey. Besides that, I didn't see anything fancy. There was a man in a Santa Claus outfit; hats off to him for wearing that for 100 overs in the Mohali heat.
Banner of the day
"I wasn't born in 83. Do it for me!" Maybe because I feel the same way.
ODI v Twenty20
No comparison. A well-played ODI is better than a Twenty20 anytime. This is my third World Cup game, after the West Indies v South Africa game and India v South Africa. I remember every detail from these matches. I also went to two IPL matches in 2010. I remember what teams were playing but I just can't recall the results or any of the individual performances.
Marks out of 10
10. Absolutely brilliant. Amazing atmosphere. Great game of cricket. What more can you ask for in a semi-final?
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