Anthems and handshakes before Indo-Pak clash



Mohali: The much anticipated India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final got off to a rousing start on Wednesday with the Prime Ministers of both countries, India's Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Yousuf Raza Gilani, meeting the players of both the teams.

The Pakistani national anthem was played first and then the Indian "Jana Gana Mana" in the packed stadium. As the strains of the Indian anthem died down, the stadium erupted in a roar and the two Prime Ministers accompanied by Sharad Pawar, president of the International Cricket Council, walked into the field.

Pawar introduced Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi to Manmohan Singh, who walked past the Pakistani team with Gilani, both exchanging a few words with the cricketers.

Then, Gilani walked up to Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, met him and the other members of the squad, with Manmohan Singh close behind.

Others watching the high-octane match are Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi as well a host of industrialists, politicians and film stars, including Aamir Khan.

IANS