Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 : Blue vs Green in a match that's red hot

MOHALI: A Prime Minister playing the high stakes in a desperate act of proactive diplomacy, a batting genius presented with the grandest of theatres to fashion his much-awaited 100th international ton, a knock-out match where the pitch is merely a surrogate for battlefield, where the outcome could induce either agony or ecstasy in either nation - this is not just the 2011 ODI World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan, this is simply the biggest game cricket can conjure. ( Read: Fans bat big for men in blue ) ( Read: Chacha cricket arrives in trademark style )

Special Coverage: India vs Pakistan Semi Final

Peaceniks may be disappointed but for most fans on either side of the border, it doesn't really matter whether PM Manmohan Singh's initiative, a parallel event to the nerve-jangling game, takes off or not. ( Read: HC judges lose tickets to SC seniors ) ( Read: Pakistan's glitterati arrives for good cricket )

Diplomacy has the option to fail; the cricketers do not. Both MS Dhoni and Shahid Afridi have a crushing weight of expectations on their shoulders. Winning isn't important; it is the only thing. ( Read: 'We'd rather share tickets with our hosts' )

Most experts believe India are odds-on favourites. Pakistan have looked an ominous unit in their recent games but their primary strength, spinners, may not find the going easy against the Men in Blue.

Raina seems to have filled the last piece in the Indian batting jigsaw. The man in form, Yuvraj Singh will be playing before his home crowd. And there's something reassuring watching Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag go out to bat together.

It should be a memorable match. Here's hoping its outcome incites the longest late-night party in Indian cricket.


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