One step closer to the WC trophy



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Finally, the most anticipated match of the ICC World Cup 2011 between India and Pakistan is over. The Indian team shone brightly at the PCA stadium, Mohali on 30th March, 2011. Yes, it was the match which gave an adrenaline rush to millions of cricket lovers and even to those who don’t follow cricket that much. People of both the nations watched the match with great enthusiasm. Indeed, Indians were in a festive atmosphere ever since India beat Australia in the Quarter Final on 24th March, 2011 at Motera Stadium, Ahmadabad.

It was not just a game; it was a war on the field with both sides facing harsh physical and emotional test. Most of the corporate offices and government workplaces were either closed or gave half day to their employees to watch the mother of all matches. Cricket fans were gleaming with joy after India slugged it out to emerge as a winner and marched into the WC Finals against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

Undoubtedly, the Indo-Pakistan match was a livewire, with both nations hoping to outdo each other. The World Cup Semi-Final 2011 between India and Pakistan was aptly called as ‘the mother of all battles’ because of the equations both countries share with each other.

After the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack episode, the bilateral ties between Indo-Pak were put on the backburner.

It was for the second time that both India and Pakistan played a World Cup match on the Indian soil after 1996 Quarter Final in Bangalore. The record that Pakistan has never beaten India in World Cup remained intact and it should always remain so.

Before the match, lots of speculations took place among the cricket experts and legends. Former Pakistani captain, Imran Khan advised the Indian team to take sleeping pills as they are going to spend sleepless nights.

Pak Captain, Shahid Afridi, too, confidently said that his men are fully prepared to face the Indian team.

But then, what happened on the field was quite opposite of that. After India’s inning, it seemed that batsmen had not put enough runs on the board, but we managed to grab quick wickets in the second innings, thanks to a wonderful bowling performance by the team. The match became more exciting as the evening progressed and it was a do or die situation for both the teams but in the end, men in blue came out trumps.

Earlier, in the Quarters, India defeated Australia by five wickets successfully taking the revenge for 2003 World Cup final loss.

The Quarter Final Match against Australia was one of the most challenging matches that India won. Semi-Final against Pakistan was much more exciting rather than challenging.

Even though the Australian captain Ricky Ponting predicted in his post-match press conference that India will surely win the match against Pakistan while wishing good luck to the Indian team. And so it happened.

It seems that Team India is ready to script the glory of 1983-World Cup. For the Gen-next, this will be the first time when they would be able to watch Indian players holding the gleaming trophy with pride and cheer.

Politically correct move

With the high-voltage cricket World Cup semi-final providing the backdrop, the cricket diplomacy by Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and his decision to invite his counterpart, Yusuf Raza Gilani was whole-heartedly accepted and made the grand India-Pakistan match all the more interesting and worth watching.

India and Pakistan sought to give a push for ‘genuine normalisation’ of their ties by holding ‘wide-ranging conversations’ covering all aspects of the bilateral relations as both the Prime Ministers watched together the thrilling cricket match for about 90 minutes and continued them over dinner.

From stuffed meat to ghosht palak sag to shahi idly - it was a lavish spread of north and south Indian cuisine laid out for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

High-profile audience

Among the audience, there were many VIPs ranging from Politics (UPA Chairperson Ms Sonia Gandhi along with Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and Robert Vadra, Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar), Business (Mukesh Ambani and his better half Neeta Ambani, Vijay Mallya) to Bollywood (Preity Zinta, Aamir Khan with wife Kiran Rao, Suniel Shetty, Ashmit Patel, Geeta Basra and Pak actress Veena Malik) among others.

Win at Wankhede

According to Indian Captain MS Dhoni, Indian team is ready for the finals. Although, the Sri Lankan team is a strong and dangerous outfit, India is also a formidable side.

After 28 years (1983) of winning the World Cup trophy, India is on the verge of scripting history. They just need to thrash Sri Lanka the way they had beaten Australia and Pakistan.

Of all the 10 World Cups played till date, this is the first time that the finals would feature the countries are from South Asia. Earlier, India had won the World Cup in 1983 and Sri Lanka had won it in 1996. So, this is going to be very interesting and unpredictable match for sure.

Till then keep your fingers crossed. Come on India...bring the trophy home this time. Good luck.