Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cornered Tigers roaring back in 2011!


I had previously written on the 1992 world cup in this same blog, the post Knight Memories. We  are a day before the big semi final clash of Pakistan and India. This has been called the mother of all finals, and the final that really matters. Fans from both sides of the border want their teams to win, knowing that a victory in the final is the world cup victory. Simply put, the world cup final does not matter, but the semi final matters most. We can equate this  match to the big semi final clash in the 1999 world cup between Australia and South Africa, which ended in a suspense filled draw, putting the Aussies in the final. This semi final also brings back memories of previous Pakistan- India world cup clashes, which were won by India. In the famous 1992 world cup, Pakistan lost to India but won the cup under Imran Khan's captaincy.

The media has been hyping up the match and now the premiers of both nations will be watching the match together. Call it cricket diplomacy. This certainly is a big match, so big, that there may be an official holiday. If not, people will simply make it one. If we look at history, the curse on the Pakistan team is that India has always beaten them. This world cup is the right time to lift that curse. Many reasons why this can happen. Pakistan has perfomed formidably better than previous world cup encounters, and in my opinion, better than their 1999 campaign which took them to the final the second time after 1992. Captain Shahid "Boom Boom" Afridi may do what Wasim Akram failed to do in 1999 and erase the horrible memory of the final against Australia in which Pakistan were favorites. Pakistan's bowling and batting both have worked well at the right time. Also I must mention Shoaib Akhtar needs to play the semi final, this may very well be his last world cup semi final as he is retiring after the world cup. He has had plenty of experience against the mighty Indian batting and his pace will be deadly on the Mohali pitch that is said to be well suited for pace bowling.

Pakistan has what it takes to win this game, but the pressure is tremendously high on them. Afridi's eleven  are playing in India's home ground, giving their opponents a significant edge and home ground advantage. As I write, I am watching the first semi final between the Kiwis and Sri Lankans in which Sri Lankans showed a strong bowling performance restricting the Kiwis to 217 all out. I am neutral, because both teams are strong. Pakistan has lost to the Kiwis and beaten the Sri Lankans in this world cup, but that does not matter. Every game is different. In 1999, Pakistan were favorites to win the final since they had beaten Australia in a tough group game, but they lost the final. Lets hope we dont see a repeat of past mistakes, such as the one Aamir Sohail made in the quarter final against India in 1996, when we were world champions.

In the end, best of luck to Afridi and the boys, and win or lose, play your hearts out and be positive. Pakistan can win, if they focus and play the same team game they have been playing. Boom Boom! Let the fireworks begin. I surely cant wait. Its gonna be an epic match.


GameGrep

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