Mother of all cricket matches few hours away

World Cup cricket semi-final Pakistan Vs IndiaMOHALI: The news from Mohali is that it’s been raining here for hours and that Shoaib Akhtar is ‘highly unlikely’ to feature in what is being described as the ‘mother of all matches’.

As security personnel were making a final check at the PCA Stadium ahead of Pakistan’s World Cup semifinal clash against India, a dust storm lashed Mohali and adjoining areas. It was followed by rain and thunderstorm.

Rain is good news for Pakistan. If it does rain enough to wash out the day’s play today, then there is a reserve day — Thursday — when the match can be played. If rain also washes out play on the reserve day, then the rain rule states that, “If following a tie, weather conditions prevent the one over eliminator from being completed, or if the match is a no result, then the team that finished in the higher position in the Group stage shall proceed to the final.”

In that case Pakistan, since they topped Pool A, will progress to Saturday’s final. However, the unseasonal downpour is unlikely to affect today’s match with the meteorological department forecasting a partly cloudy sky to prevail in this region with a little chance of light rain by Wednesday evening.

Tuesday night’s rain could add juice to the Mohali pitch that was earlier expected to be batting friendly. It is expected that it could assist pacers more with all the moisture in it at least for the first hour or so.

Meanwhile, just before the sudden showers, Pakistan had their pre-match meeting over dinner at The Taj in Chandigarh. Though a decision over the possible inclusion of Shoaib Akhtar was delayed till this morning, a well-placed source told The News that it was highly unlikely that the maverick pacer will be included in the playing eleven.

That means Pakistan are likely to take the field against India with an unchanged team. India, too, seem set to retain the same team that helped them conquer Australia in the quarterfinals though team sources have said the management has mulled the possibility of bringing in left-arm pacer Asish Nehra and even allrounder Yusuf Pathan.

Pakistan were in an upbeat mood on Tuesday even though Shahid Afridi, their captain, declared India as the favourites Pakistan have already punched above their weight to march into the World Cup semifinals with an enviable ease and are now looking for a win against the Indians.

At this World Cup, Pakistan have overcome two of the pre-tournament favourties — Sri Lanka and Australia — and they are now looking to scalp the Indians. It’s a gigantic task, but Shahid Afridi is confident his troops can achieve it.

“It’s our dream to win the World Cup and tomorrow we hope to take a big step towards by beating India,” Afridi told The News on Tuesday. Afridi heaped praise on his players, saying that they were itching to take the field for the high-pressure match. “A few of the players are playing really mature cricket especially youngsters like Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq. They have been waiting for this game,” he said.

Afridi and his men will have to tackle a strong Indian batting line-up that is spearheaded by the great Sachin Tendulkar. All eyes will be on the little master, who will be looking for his 100th international hundred. The master blaster has featured in all four of India’s World Cup wins against Pakistan, scoring 54 not out, 31, 45 and 98.
Off the field, India is in a complete frenzy.

In Mohali and the adjoining cities of Chandigarh and Panckhula, it seems everybody is obsessed with the idea of getting hold of a match ticket. The Tricity has become the nerve centre of India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani will be flying in to hold talks on the sidelines of the semifinal. Business tycoons and Bollywood starts are bringing their private jets here. All roads, it seems, lead to Mohali.

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Pak prayers, prizes for win over India

Chacha Pakistani..KARACHI: Thousands of Pakistanis are expected to take part in mass prayer sessions, asking Allah Almighty to guide them to victory against India in the hotly anticipated World Cup cricket semi-final on Wednesday.

On the eve of the match, around 1,200 people congregated in the Jamia Binoria madrassa in Karachi, reciting the Quranic verses in its glossy-tiled mosque before loudly praying for victory in the epic encounter.

“Our boys (in the cricket team) are highly talented and God-fearing, which is why we have gathered here to pray for their success,” said Mufti Mohammad Naeem, the head of the madrassa.

Pakistan have not beaten India in any of their four previous World Cup matches dating back to 1992.

Tapping into the hysteria that India can inspire in Pakistan, seminary pupil Wali Ahmed, 18, claimed the prayer was a fitting reply to “black magic”. “We pray to Allah to make our team victorious and foil the black magic and occult being exercised by the Indians to beat us,” said an enthusiastic Ahmed.

“Everything occurs with the will of Allah, so it is necessary to pray for everything which we strive to succeed in,” said local resident Mushtaq Ali.

Similar congregations were convened in mosques of southern city Hyderabad.

Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Punjab, promised each team member 25 acres of land if they beat India at Mohali.

“The Punjab government will give 25 acres of fertile land to each member of the team as a prize if they beat India,” Sharif told journalists. Sharif said the whole nation will pray for Pakistan’s win.

“Our team deserves appreciation from the nation for displaying outstanding performance in different matches of the World Cup and the whole nation will be praying for its success,” said Sharif, an avid follower of the game.

Various organisations have announced special prayers for the team in Lahore, Karachi and Quetta, with thousands of people expected to attend. (AFP)

Pak team arrives in Delhi for Mohali match

Pakistan Cricket TeamNEW DELHI: Pakistan cricket team reached here to play their arch rivals India in the semi-finals of the World Cup 2011.

The team left Dhaka this morning for the Indian capital from where it will go to Mohali where the semi-finals will be played on March 30.

Captain Shahid Afridi said, while talking with Geo News before the departure at the Dhaka airport, that Indian team is difficult but his players’ morale is high.

Pakistan team will stay at Delhi for a few hours then proceed to Mohali.

PM Manmohan Singh hopes India win World Cup

Indian PM Manmohan Singh

NEW DELHI: As India battled Australia in the World Cup quarterfinal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday hoped that India would win the one-day cricket championship.

“I hope we win the World Cup,” Singh said when asked about India’s chances in the ongoing cricket tournament.

Singh was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to give away the Padma awards.

Stylish left-hand batsman VVS Laxman received the Padma Shri at the hands of President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

World Cup: India floor Aussies to meet Pakistan in semis

2nd Quater-FinalAHMEDABAD: India recorded a sensational five-wicket victory to oust defending champions Australia with14 balls to spare in the second quarter-finals of the tenth World Cup here at the Sardar Patel Stadium on Thursday.

Now they will meet Pakistan in the semi-finals to be played on March 30 at Mohali.

Chasing a modest total of 261, India completed the victory in 47.4 overs to shatter Australia’s dream of an unprecedented fourth straight World Cup title and fifth in all was shattered.

Yuvraj Singh, who struck the winning boundary, was the man-of-the-match yet again
as he top-scored with an unbeaten 57 besides taking two wickets.

The left-handed batsman has so far scored four fifties in the tournament where he is averaging over a hundred.

Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir also hit fifties for India.

Tendulkar was caught behind off Shaun Tait for a fluent 53, his 94th ODI fifty, during which he became the first batsman to score 18,000 one-day international runs.

Gambhir and Virat Kohli batted steadily in a stand of 49 before Kohli (24) slapped a full toss from part-time spinner David Hussey straight to Michael Clarke at short mid-wicket.

One ball after surviving a run-out, he set-off for a non-existent single and was well-beaten by Cameron White’s throw to David Hussey having made 50, his 24th ODI half-century.

Batting first after captain Ponting won the toss, defending champions Australia made 260 for six in their 50 overs.

Ponting made 104 from 118 balls with seven fours and a six, his 30th ODI hundred and the fifth in World Cups.

It was also his first century in 39 international innings since he made 106 against the West Indies in a one-day international in Brisbane last year.

He was out late on when, he reverse-swept Ravichandran Ashwin straight to Zaheer Khan at short third man.

David Hussey, recalled in place of the dropped Steven Smith, made a useful 38 not out and helped Ponting add 55 for the sixth wicket after Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Cameron White all fell cheaply.

Back-up spinners Ashwin and Yuvraj Singh took four wickets between them with left-arm quick Zaheer taking the other two to fall.

But lead off-spinner Harbhajan Singh’s 10-wicketless overs cost 50 runs.

Australia got off to a steady start through openers Shane Watson and Haddin but a change of ends for Ashwin had them roaring again when he bowled Watson for 25.

Later, Haddin gave his wicket away by driving Yuvraj to mid-off where Suresh Raina took a low, tumbling catch to leave Australia 110 for two.

Haddin was the second top scorer with 53. Together with Ponting, he shared a second-wicket stand of 70 runs.

INDIA vs IRELAND, 22nd Match, Group B

INDIA vs IRELAND, 22nd Match, Group B

M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, Mar 06, 2011

Start Time: 14:00 PST

Teams Information:

India (From): Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni(w/c), Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ashish Nehra, Suresh Raina, S Sreesanth

Ireland (From): William Porterfield(c), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O’Brien(w), Kevin O’Brien, Alex Cusack, Andre Botha, John Mooney, Trent Johnston, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin, Nigel Jones, Albert van der Merwe, Andrew White, Gary Wilson

 

England tie with India in World Cup

INDIA vs ENGLAND, 11th Match, Group B

M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, Feb 27, 2011

India

R B 4’s 6’s SR
V Sehwag c M Prior b T Bresnan 35 26 6 0 134.62
S Tendulkar c M Yardy b J Anderson 120 115 10 5 104.35
G Gambhir b G Swann 51 61 5 0 83.61
Y Singh c I Bell b M Yardy 58 50 9 0 116.00
M Dhoni (c) (wk) c (sub)L Wright b T Bresnan 31 25 3 1 124.00
Y Pathan c G Swann b T Bresnan 14 8 1 1 175.00
V Kohli b T Bresnan 8 5 1 0 160.00
H Singh lbw b T Bresnan 0 1 0 0 0.00
Z Khan run out (T Bresnan/M Prior) 4 5 0 0 80.00
P Chawla run out (J Anderson) 2 4 0 0 50.00
M Patel not out 0 0 0 0 0.00
Extras ( b 0,w 7,nb 5,lb 3) 15
Total (338 for 10 in 49.5 overs) 338
F.O.W: 1/46 (V Sehwag, 7.5 ov.), 2/180 (G Gambhir, 29.4 ov.), 3/236 (S Tendulkar, 38.2 ov.), 4/305 (Y Singh, 45.6 ov.), 5/305 (M Dhoni, 46.1 ov.), 6/327 (Y Pathan, 48.1 ov.), 7/327 (V Kohli, 48.2 ov.), 8/328 (H Singh, 48.4 ov.), 9/338 (P Chawla, 49.4 ov.), 10/338 (Z Khan, 49.5 ov.)

England – Bowling

O M R W Nb Wd ER
J Anderson 9.5 0 91 1 0 1 9.3
A Shahzad 8 0 53 0 0 2 6.6
T Bresnan 10 1 48 5 0 0 4.8
G Swann 9 1 59 1 0 2 6.6
P Collingwood 3 0 20 0 0 0 6.7
M Yardy 10 0 64 1 0 2 6.4

England

R B 4’s 6’s SR
A Strauss (c) lbw b Z Khan 158 145 18 1 108.97
K Pietersen c & b M Patel 31 22 5 0 140.91
J Trott lbw b P Chawla 16 19 1 0 84.21
I Bell c V Kohli b Z Khan 69 71 4 1 97.18
P Collingwood b Z Khan 1 5 0 0 20.00
M Prior (wk) c (sub)S Raina b H Singh 4 8 0 0 50.00
M Yardy c V Sehwag b M Patel 13 10 1 0 130.00
T Bresnan b P Chawla 14 9 0 1 155.56
G Swann not out 15 9 0 1 166.67
A Shahzad not out 6 2 0 1 300.00
J Anderson
Extras ( b 1,w 3,nb 0,lb 7) 11
Total (338 for 8 in 50 overs) 338
F.O.W: 1/68 (K Pietersen, 9.3 ov.), 2/111 (J Trott, 16.4 ov.), 3/281 (I Bell, 42.4 ov.), 4/281 (A Strauss, 42.5 ov.), 5/285 (P Collingwood, 44.3 ov.), 6/289 (M Prior, 45.2 ov.), 7/307 (M Yardy, 47.3 ov.), 8/325 (T Bresnan, 48.6 ov.)

India – Bowling

O M R W Nb Wd ER
Z Khan 10 0 64 3 0 1 6.4
M Patel 10 0 70 2 0 1 7.0
P Chawla 10 0 71 2 0 1 7.1
H Singh 10 0 58 1 0 0 5.8
Y Singh 7 0 46 0 0 0 6.6
Y Pathan 3 0 21 0 0 0 7.0
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