A mouth watering prospect of a India Pakistan Semi Final in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup is now a reality. Billions of cricket fans around the world are going to witness the pinnacle of cricket entertainment on 30th March 2011 when Indian and Pakistan meet head on at Mohali for a place in the finals of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The stage is set
The quarter final match on Thursday, March 24th at Motera, Ahmedabad between India and Australia, saw the exit of the reigning World Champions Australia and set up the stage for the mother of all matches, the clash of arch rivals India and Pakistan at Mohali. Surprisingly, India were actually the favorites to beat Australia that day according to the bookies. And they were right, it was an intense match that ended up the Men In Blue knocking Australia out of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and ending their three-in-a-row win.
The pitch at Mohali
The PCB stadium at Mohali is supposed to be a very sophisticated stadium in India. It has a crowd capacity of 30,000 and the pitch is said to assist both stroke play and have some bounce.This could be a big advantage to India as the Indian batting lineup is pretty solid and they bat deep in the order. Sehwag, Sachin, Gautam, Virat, Yuvraj and Raina are all in their peak form and ready to deliver.
The pitch might assist seamers earlier on but after 5 overs or so it should be a batting paradise. The side winning the toss is expected to bat first and put a big score to intimidate the opponent. Any score of 300+ will be an uphill task to chase under pressure.
India and Pakistan have never met at Mohali before and this encounter is a thriller waiting to be unfolded.
India vs Pakistan
Both India and Pakistan know each others' game, are excellent players of spin and can handle pressure well. In the current World Cup form, the following can be said about them:
Batting: India clearly has a very consistent, talented batting line up. Most of the Indian batsmen have performed very well - Sachin is the highest run getter in the World Cup so far and Yuvraj and Sehwag also feature within the top 5. Pakistan on the other hand has a very shaky batting line up. Misbah used to be their back bone, but is completely out of form.
Bowling: Pakistan has a slight edge here, but the edge comes from the spin of Shahid Afridi, who is the leading wicket taker in this world cup.Indians however are great players of spin so this should really not bother them much. Although Umar Gul also has been good, he has not yet been a match winner for Pakistan. Bowling is the Achilles heel for India in their World Cup this year. Except for Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj, none of the other bowlers have looked attacking. In the quarter finals, however, Ashwin seemed to do a great job. Unfortunately Harbhajan Singh hasn't been able to be the dominating bowler he once was.
Fielding: This is one department where again India has an advantage over Pakistan. Although the sub continent fielders are not the best, if you had to choose between India an Pakistan, the Indians have been improving vastly on their fielding and the India-Australia quarter final match at Motera, Ahmedabad was a testament to this.
So who wins?
I think the India vs Pakistan match semi final at Mohali will remind us of the fight between King Kong (India) and the dinosaurs (Pakistan) in the King Kong movie. And we all know who won that contest.
What do you think? Drop in a comment!