Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mohali Time!

-Played 119: Pakistan won 69/Lost 46/other 4.

-India won last time they met in the 2010 Asia Cup. It was a thriller which went right down to the wire.

-Pakistan has never beaten India in a World Cup event before. The teams have met 4 times. However, in the ICC Champions Trophy the sides have met twice and Pakistan won on both occasions.

-Pakistan successfully chased down in excess of 300 last time the neighbours met in the Punjab Cricket Association home venue.

-Pakistan have beaten India 17/26 times in India.

-Pakistan have played in a semi final 4 times previously. They won the last 2 times they played a semi final both against New Zealand in 1992 and 1999 respectively. Their journeys ended during the same stage in 1979 and 1987.

-India have played in a Semi Final 4 times previously. They have won twice in 1983 and 2003 respectively but faltered at this stage in 1987 and 1996 at the hands of England and Sri Lanka respectively.

-Both teams have reached a World Cup final twice previously. Who will be the first to make it to a third final?

- So now if Pakistan do reach the final they will be playing a team they have already played during the tournament.

-Sri Lanka vs. New Zealand Semi Final will come first in Colombo. This is a repeat of the 2007 CWC semi final which Sri Lanka won. Sri Lanka also comprehensively defeated New Zealand when the two sides clashed during the group games in Mumbai.

My 4 Key Gun Players From Either Side


1) YK: Has scored 3 out of his 6 ODI centuries against India. He averages in the 40s against them. Has had fond memories in Mohali before. Has the experience of encountering India in big pressure games which will come in handy. Hence, I am jinking him. I am backing him to fire.

2) Gul: Arguably the best pacer in the tournament. His stats certainly make impressive reading. He has developed and matured into a consistent and responsible performer. On current form he is a lethal trump card with the ball. When considering the vastness, depth, class and experience of India's strong batting line up Pakistan will be counting on Umar Gul to deliver and dismiss the big fishes with his firepower and sharpness.

3) Ajmal: 6 wickets in 3 games at an average of 22 against India. Glad to see him picked finally as some brains prevailed. His class, guile and threat possessed is not comparable to many these days. His inclusion provides that cutting edge to the striking bowling attack which compromises of several different varieties.

4) Afridi: Big Match Player. Will he rise to the occasion? Has been instrumental with the ball. The stage is set for him to unleash. Pakistani fans will be hoping and praying for the charismatic figure to be at his very best at times like this.


1) Yuvraj: Has had a phenomenal time of it with both bat and ball so far. He will be high on confidence and fired up for the occasion in his home city. Will it be a Yuvi special? The left hander has stupendous form and supporters behind him which should help the cause. Furthermore, averages a fantastic 48 against Pakistan.

2) Sehwag: A flamboyant dashing stroke maker with the ability to thrash bowling attacks. If he gets going, Pakistan might have their work cut out. Also, one must keep in mind that he has taken a liking to the Pakistanis over the years so the chances of him producing the goods are rather reasonable.

3) Tendulkar: Unforgettable and unavoidable not to mention. A mighty fine genius. Is it his turn to deliver when it matters most? Certainly a front line possibility. The whole of India will be cheering him on as he looks to guide his side home and play in his second World Cup Final during his unstoppable career.

4) Zaheer Khan: Like Gul has been exceptional so far in the tournament. He looks to be the one bowler if any which could provide some problems to the batting line up with his new and old ball credentials. He is an experienced professional and one that is bound to have performed if India were to go on and win.

On the whole, it should be a mouth watering clash which will attract an indescribable amount of attention and revenues throughout the globe. It simply does not come any bigger than this. Ultimately, the match will inevitably be determined by India's batting against the potency of Pakistan's bowling. The strength departments of both sides going head to head will be key. It would make sense that Pakistan will have a slight edge if chasing down the target regarding they are able to restrict India to par total in the regions of 240-270.

Equally, India could argue the same considering the depth of their batting. It should be interesting to see what happens at the toss. Either way, there is a tremendous amount of pressure and expectation on India's star studded batting line up to mount up the runs, but it certainly will not come easy. In short, we anticipate a closely contested affair in the mother of all battles.

The Star studded rock stars takes on the unpredictable and dangerous cornered tigers. May the battle commence and may the best team win. All eyes on Mohali. The countdown is getting closer.

I am sitting on the fence as to whether he (Rawalpindi Express) should play in the coming games or whether he should be left to carry the drinks. In my view, Wahab Riaz deserves a spot in the starting line up. He is an emerging talent and has a lot to bring to the team. I am dying to see Akhtar charge in with a fired up attitude for one final throw of the dice. Either way, he has had differences in the team and his fitness and form is questionable. Imran Khan has been pushing for his inclusion in the semis. At the end of the day we will have to accept the decision of the management and take it on the chin even if we may disagree with it. Akhtar has a chance to prove his fitness in the nets and if he is convincing enough he will get the nod of approval anyhow. Akhtar is a match winner as we all know, but he can be a liability and the management should not be forced to select him based on external factors such as his mid tournament retirement announcement. The management are in the best position to decide and we have to go along with it. Riaz is a skilful operator too and gives variety with his left arm angle, despite not being anywhere near his best in the previous 2 games. However, he has only done a limited amount of bowling in those games as a justification to him. Has been a touch rusty. Hopefully will be better if they continue with him.

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