INDIA vs PAKISTAN, Team Information

INDIA vs PAKISTAN, Second semi-final

Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Chandigarh, Mar 30, 2011
Start Time: 14:00 PST

Teams Information:

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

Pakistan (From): Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal(w), Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi(c), Abdul Razzaq, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar, Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman, Ahmed Shehzad, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan



India win toss, elect to bat against Pakistan

India win toss, elect to bat against PakistanMOHALI: India captain Mahindra Singh Dhoni has won the toss and elected to bat first against Pakistan as the two cricket-crazy countries are heading for an epic World Cup showdown in the second semi-final here at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium on Wednesday.

This clash will highlight the bitter rivalry and common bonds between the estranged nuclear-armed neighbours.

The teams clash in the semi-final of the competition in a battle promising passion and drama, with more than a billion people, or a fifth of humanity, set to follow the much-hyped contest between bat and ball.

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.

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)

World Cup: Sri Lanka survive Kiwis late assault to reach final

Malinga takes World Cup hat-trickCOLOMBO: Sri Lanka succeeded in reaching the World Cup final for second time in a row after avoiding late bowling assault by New Zealand here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.

Chasing 218, the co-hosts reached the target to beat the Kiwis by five wickets with 13 balls to spare in the first day-night semi-final as veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said goodbye to his home crowd.

Opener Tillekaratna Dilshan (73) and captain Kumar Sangakkara (54) hit half-cneturies to set a foundation for Sri Lanka’s victory to qualify for the World Cup final for the third time and second in succession.

They had won the final in 1996 at Lahore, Pakistan but lost it in 2007 at Kingston, Jamaica.

Sri Lanka play the winners of Wednesday’s semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali.

Muralitharan took his 534th wicket off his last ball on home soil as New Zealand were bowled out for a below-par score of 217 in 48.5 overs.

Muralitharan, who last year retired from Tests after finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 800, now aims to win his second title — after being part of the 1996 Cup winning squad — in Saturday’s final in Mumbai.

Sri Lanka, cruising along at 160-1, lost four wickets in the space of 25 runs to raise fears of an unlikely defeat before Thilan Samaraweera (23 not out) and Angelo Mathews (14 not out) guided them home with an unbroken 35-run stand.

New Zealand, who for the sixth time failed in a World Cup semi-final, seemed to be succumbing like England did during their 10-wicket quarter-final defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka, but they staged a brave rearguard action.

It was 34-year-old Dilshan who was once again in rampaging mood, taking the co-hosts to 40 by the eighth over in the company of Upul Tharanga who fell after scoring a 31-ball 30 with four boundaries and a six.

Dilshan then found an equally aggressive and in-form partner in captain Sangakkara as they added 120 for the second wicket, before Dilshan played straight into the hands of Jesse Ryder off Tim Southee.

Dilshan hit 10 boundaries and a six during his 93-ball knock. He also became the top run-getter of the tournament with 467.

Sri Lanka then lost Mahela Jayawardene (one) and Sangakkara in the space of eight runs and then Chamara Silva (13) before the team held their nerve.

It was Ajantha Mendis (3-35) and Lasith Malinga (3-55), along with Muralitharan (2-42), who kept New Zealand under control after Daniel Vettori won the toss and opted to bat.

Scott Styris, who top scored with 57, added 77 for the fourth wicket with Ross Taylor (36) but the Sri Lankan bowlers never allowed them to run away with a big total, dismissing the Kiwis in 48.5 overs.

Styris and Kane Williamson (22) added 42 in the batting powerplay but New Zealand lost their last seven wickets for just 56 runs.

Sri Lanka once again dismissed hard-hitting Brendon McCullum through a spinner when left-armer Rangana Herath bowled him in the eighth over for 13.

Martin Guptill (39) and Jesse Ryder (19) took the total to 69 before Muralitharan had the big left-hander caught off a quickish delivery.

Soon it became 84-3 when Malinga bowled Guptill with a ferocious yorker after the opener had hit three boundaries off 65 balls.

New Zealand beat South Africa to reach World Cup semis

New Zealand beat South Africa to reach World Cup semisDHAKA: New Zealand beat South Africa by 49 runs to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup on Friday.
The Africans have now lost five successive World Cup knockout matches dating back to 1992.
New Zealand will face either co-hosts Sri Lanka or England in the last-four match in Colombo next Tuesday.

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.

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