India vs Pakistan World Cup Semis – Thrills & Spills

The match between India & Pakistan last night has been the most hyped matches in cricketing history. India has come victorious in a nail-biting match. The teams has lived up to the expectations and have given a wonderful show of cricket and entertained more than a billion people.

Pre-Match
The match was much-anticipated and both the teams were roaring to win this match than the finale for world cup. Indian team who started as favorites and Pakistan who has come hard playing well all through the tournament were both under great pressure. This has been called as mother of all games. Manmohan Singh invited Gilani (Prime Minister of Pakistan) and other Pakistani dignitaries to watch the match.

Unprecedented security arrangements have been made for this high-voltage match. Around 2,000 police personnel would be deployed in and around the PCA Stadium. A bomb disposal team, four Quick Response Teams, six teargas squads and six Vajra vans and 20 night-vision devices have been part of the security paraphernalia. A large number of portable explosive detectors, which can detect explosives from a long distance were also set up around the stadium. 24 mounted police personnel patrolled the area around the stadium. Police kept a close vigil on hotels, guest houses, paying guest accommodation, gurdwaras, temples, bus stands, railway stations and other public places, besides vehicles coming from other states.

Indian government has allowed Pakistani fans to enter India through the Wagah border to enjoy the match. Even though the security was very tight, India did not stop or trouble Pakistani fans from entering the country.


Toss
Personally I don’t like these day and night matches while it is an important match as the result would be predictable and unfair due to the conditions. Similarly toss was so important for the match and all the hearts for beating fast in anticipation as who would win the toss. At last the time has come and Dhoni tosses and Afridi calls Heads. Ravi Shastri at the toss sees the toss and announces its a tail. The whole stadium roared and all the Indians were happy to see India bat first.

After the toss the National anthems of both the countries have been played and a sense of pride could be seen in the faces of all the team members and the audience of both the countries along with the prime ministers. After the toss both the Prime Ministers came on to the field to wish good luck for both the teams. It was a great moment for both the rival countries to have their best teams on the field and being wished by the prime ministers.

Sehwag’s Fiery start
As expected, Sehwag who has a good record against Pakistan started off slow in the first 2 overs but took charge and hit 5 boundaries in Umar Gul’s second over. He then went on to hit 2 more fours in Gul’s 3rd over. The run rate at this stage was almost 9 and half. Youngster Wahab comes into attack and picks up his first wicket of the match. Sehwag is gone LBW for a very good ball from Wahab and a review wasted.

Ajmal’s over
It was 4th ball in Saeed Ajmal’s second over where the whole stadium fell silent when  Sachin was given out by Gould. Sachin then asks Gambhir to confirm if he can go for the review. Sachin goes for the review and to the delight of the India it’s NOT OUT. The immediate next ball Sachin lunged forward to play the ball and was beaten by the doosra outside off stump. Akmal whipped off the bails in a flash. Umpire goes for the third umpire. Stadium again roars once the giant screen showed NOT OUT.

Tense Moments, Drop Catches & Wahab’s Brilliance
First ball of Shahid’s second over Tendulkar hit firmly towards mid wicket where Misbah drops an easy catch which paved a way to series of drop catches. There was an edge from Sachin in Ajmal’s over which would have been out if there was a slip. Again in Afridi’s 5th over Sachin drives gives a straight forward catch to Younis which he drops. Again in Afridi’s 7th over Sachin tried defending the leg break and gave a thick edge to Kamran Akmal which he dropped. In 35th over Sachin yet again got a life when Umar Akmal dropped the fourth catch of Sachin in Hafeez bowling. Shahid Afridi is totally disappointed with his fielding side.

Amidst so many drop catches and edges, one person was determined to deliver. Wahab bowled a splendid spell and got the crucial wickets of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh in consecutive overs. He not only troubled youngsters but also Sachin. He was too good for India even though the pitch and the fellow bowlers did not support him much.

Afridi
Other than Wahab it was Afridi who was good at what he was supposed to do. He did a great job in bowling tidy overs and not giving away easy runs. He finally kept his word and took a good catch of Sachin of Ajmal’s bowling and finally Sachin got out after an unimpressive innings from him. Afridi also rotated bowlers very well according to the situation and batsmen.

Raina’s crucial Runs
At the end Raina did a great job by hitting those crucial 33 runs while on the other side India was losing the wickets. Zaheer & Nehra should learn to bat and rotate the strike when people like Raina are around with them. He couldn’t play much in the last over as Zaheer & Nehra tried to show some charm and got out cheaply without scoring runs. India finally ended up scoring 260.

Target 261
Akmal & Hafeez started off confidently chasing just above 5 run rate. They got those regular boundaries in the first power play. Yet again Zaheer showed his charm and took Akmal’s wicket. Hafeez started looking good along with other youngster Shafiq. India got yet another breakthrough of Hafeez in 16th over bowled by Munaf. Asad Shafiq gave looking promising but gave away his wicket to Yuvraj and Younis was gone in the next over of Yuvraj. India had no problems getting those crucial wickets at regular intervals at the right time.

Umar Akmal kept his cool and hit targeted Yuvraj for boundaries. He hit 2 sixes and a boundary in 2 overs of Yuvraj. Dhoni took a right decision and did a change to the bowling where Harbhajan got into attack. Say its luck or intelligence of Dhoni but Umar Akmal was out the first ball Harbhajan bowled him. From there on wickets of the experienced Younis & Afridi were gone cheaply and they did not look like playing like champions.

While all this drama was going on one side of the wicket, there was Misbah who was just taking his time and building the required rate. Everyone one were eager about what his strategy could be in playing so slow. Because of him Umar & Afridi tried pacing the innings and got out trying to hit all the balls. Misbah realised very late in the last power play and tried hitting only fours and sixes without taking singles. This was definitely not enough against disciplined Indian bowling side.

3 Extras
Pakistan has bowled as many as 18 extras out of which 9 were wides and 2 were nobes. India did not bowl even a single extra until 35th over. Overall India bowled just 3 extras. Nehra whose inclusion has raised quite a few eyebrows has fared well and bowled a very stingy spell. Harbhajan has done an excellent job of troubling batsmen with his off spin and doosras. Munaf also troubled batsmen with his accurate line and length. Indian Bowlers have done excellently and troubled Pakistani batsmen consistently and took the wickets at regular intervals and did not allow to build a partnership. Last but not the least fielding has been excellent and India have stopped many runs.

Last Over
Pakistan needed 30 runs from 6 balls. Misbah tried hitting it over the fence and wasted all the first four balls with out even taking a single. Finally in the 5th ball the whole stadium stood up and started celebrating once Kohli took a flier off Zaheer Khan bowling.

Winning Moment
Once Kohli took the catch the whole stadium was on to their feet and everyone were jumping in joy. It was also nice to see Sachin jumping with joy as if it was his first ever win. Dhoni was showing his composure and trying to act cool while all other players were ecstatic.

VIPs
In the audience there were many politicians, industrialists, film actors and soap stars. Below are some of them whom I was able to see while the match was going on

– Indian Prime Minister Manmohan SinghManmohan Singh
– Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza GilaniRaza Gilani
– Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi
– Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani
– Vijay Mallya and Sidharth Mallya
– Gautam Singhania of Raymonds
– Pawan Munjal of Hero Honda
– Rajan Bharti Mittal of Bharthi enterprises
– Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh of Ranbaxy
– Ness Wadia
– Preity Zinta
– Amir Khan along with his wife Kiron
– Vivek Oberoi along with his wife
– Venkatesh
– Sunil Shetty
– Sayali Bhagat

Teams & Audience

It is always treat to watch India vs Pakistan and see all those tense and emotional scenes around the ground. All other matches till now in world cup has some or other mockery of each other. In 1992 it was Miandad, In 1996 it was Aamir Sohail, 2003 it was Shoaib Akhtar and I was just waiting what would happen this time. But to my surprise everyone behaved so well and the game looked very friends with many lighter moments on the pitch.

APRIL 2nd 2011 –  The Big Day

Two more days to go and India will face Sri Lanka in Mumbai for the finals of 2011 Cricket World Cup. It will a cracker of a game as both the teams are having a very very strong and inform batting line up.

I would be happy if India would win this match and Sachin completing his 100th hundred and winning the 10th MOM in wth world cups.

Note: All the pics were taken from Cricinfo other than the last one which was taken from mycricketvideos.com

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