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Friday, March 25, 2011

"India will beat Pakistan in Mohali"

With India registering a famous five-wicket win over Australia in the quarter-finals, the stage is now set for the ‘Mother and Father of all battles’ in Mohali on March 30.

India and Pakistan come face-to-face for the fifth time in the history of the mega-event. Although there is still nearly a week left for this mega semi-final clash, the anticipation for this high-voltage encounter started the minute Team India booked their place in the last-four with a tense win in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Interacting with journalists at the Sardar Patel stadium after his team crashed out of the mega-event, Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting made his prediction for the Mohali encounter. “If you look at the bowling attacks of both teams, they are quite similar. Pakistan and India, of late, have been using a two-pronged pace and two-pronged spin attack. But India’s batting gives them an edge. I think India will beat Pakistan in Mohali,” said Punter.

India and Pakistan have faced each other four times before in ICC Cricket World Cups. The Men in Blue have emerged victorious in all the encounters played in the 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003 editions.

Cricketing ties had all but normalized between these two nations in this decade with regular bilateral series taking place. But after the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, the arch-rivals have faced-off on the cricket field only twice. While Pakistan beat India in the ICC Champions Trophy 2009 encounter at Centurion, Team India took revenge for that loss with a thrilling three-wicket win in an Asia Cup match at Dambulla last year.

Hero of Thursday’s victory Yuvraj Singh mentioned that it was important for the team to relax and take some rest for a couple of days before they turn their attention on this mega-encounter. “The Australia match was a high-pressure game. So, we will take some time off before we start making plans for the Mohali match. We have played a lot of cricket against Pakistan except for the last two years, so we are aware about what their strengths and weaknesses are. I am sure the same is the case vice-versa as well,” said the Punjab southpaw.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, after his team’s crushing 10-wicket win over West Indies in Mirpur on Wednesday, had expressed his desire to face India in the semis. Now that his wish has been fulfilled, what kind of performance will the Men in Green come up with against their arch-rivals?
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