Fan Following

First-person reports from the stands

India v Pakistan, World Cup 2011, second semi-final, Mohali

Full house, fully entertained

An Indian fan watches Tendulkar and Co. down their neighbouring rivals

Rahul Bhasin

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A
Fans from either side of the border enjoyed a game played in the right spirit, India v Pakistan, 2nd semi-final, World Cup 2011, Mohali, March 30, 2011
The local fans cheered their team but also reserved some applause for Pakistan © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: India | Pakistan

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.

Team supported
"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.

Key performer
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.

Accessories
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.

Wow moment
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.

Crowd meter
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.)

Fancy-dress index
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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Rahul Bhasin, 25, married his childhood sweetheart, Pallak, just over a year ago, and lives in New Delhi. He owns a web design and development firm, and also helps his dad with his real-estate business. But all of that has taken a back seat during this World Cup

Tell us what you think. Send us your feedback

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments: 7 
Posted by hunterofdawn on (April 1, 2011, 17:33 GMT)

@Sy Ed I'm with you on this bro. Can't really remember the last time Sachin was so scratchy. His innings didn't have the usual flair but there is no doubting the importance of it to India's win. As far as individual performances go I think Wahab was the best performer across the two teams and deserved the MoM IMHO.

Posted by   on (April 1, 2011, 15:49 GMT)

Brother, great job!!! To say I was jealous you went for this match would be a huge understatement. But, I can't say how glad I am you were able to get your hands on the tickets and go!

Stunning match, although I do like Zaltzman's article about what really would have had to happen for it to live up to the hype. None the less, a very very absorbing game of cricket for millions of fans on both sides of the border and beyond.

I agree that Tendulkar's inning were vital for the Indian victory. But in all honesty, it was one of the bumpiest Sachin innings I have ever seen. Some glorious drives and trademark Tendu shots, but it didn't have the kind of ferocity that a token Tendulkar innings in a winning match has. And he really could not have done it without help from the Pakistani team.

Great article. I would love to see more from you on cricinfo. Good luck to India for the big one!!!

Posted by paramsarin on (March 31, 2011, 20:29 GMT)

A fantastic match! India did great with bowling, fielding and team play. They earned this match through hardwork -- which will prepare them well for the finals.

I would like to add another category of recognitions.. the Best Sportsman of the Match .. which should go to Afridi ... for congratulating India and the Indian Team and wishing them for the finals, for supporting his team at all times, and keeping his cool inspite of all the goof-ups from his fielders and some batsmen.

This match will be remembered for a very, very long time!

Posted by Niyati_sharma on (March 31, 2011, 14:08 GMT)

I forgot to mention, Really great Article. I totally, absolutely, completely, with all my heart and soul agree that an ODI is anytime better that a T20. :) Looking forward to lots and lots and lots of it. :D

Posted by Niyati_sharma on (March 31, 2011, 14:04 GMT)

@ Sy Ed : Sachin might not be THE performer but he was certainly the best batsman that PCA, Mohali saw yesterday! Against the feisty, dominating Pakistani bowlers he was the single batsman who managed a wonderful innings of 85 runs. In saying this I am totally appreciating Pakistani bowlers for the way they bowled. Plus, it was a very very crucial innings. Imagine, just 20 runs short in the Indian total and it would have completely given way to Pakistan's win. He alone had the experience and wit to play the way he played yesterday. His inning had "I am the Best" written all over it. And I am saying this not just because I am an Indian, but because it is true.

Posted by   on (March 31, 2011, 11:15 GMT)

Not just because I am a pakistani.. But i wont call Sachin.. performer of the Day. I am a great Sachin fan. but his batting was really sloppy. Any batsman would have scored a century if 4 of his catches were dropped. For me, as a cricketer, Sachin was very disappointing yesterday. I hope to see Sachin bat more fluently and at his best in the final. Best pakistani performer of the day was no doubt Wahab Riaz.. a strong contender of the man of the match too. and best indian performer was Harbajhan singh for taking two key wickets at key moments !! No Offence !!

Posted by   on (March 31, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

ha ha that chant was awesome :D

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