World Cup 2011 – War Without Weapons At Mohali




India vs Pakistan

India vs Pakistan

This isn’t a match for the faint hearted!! After facing seven different opponents – some easy some difficult – India and Pakistan meet each other on the grandest stage of them all – A World Cup semifinal! The path to the semis has been a tale of two skippers. While Afridi has led from the front with 21 wickets, Dhoni has struggled to find his feet and found runs difficult to come by. Apart from that, both teams have had a more or less similar story en route to the semis. Pakistan cruised through all their matches, their only hiccup coming against New Zealand. India won their matches comfortably but lost the plot a couple of times against England and South Africa. While India had some jittery moments during the quarterfinal against Australia, Pakistan had no such worries as they coasted to a 10 wicket over victory over the hapless Windies.

Pakistan’s strength over the tournament has been their bowling. Shahid Afridi has been in impeccable form while Umar Gul has come into his own over the past couple of games. Abdul Rehman opened the bowling with success but was dropped for the off spinner Ajmal against the West Indies. Mohammad Hafeez opened the bowling in his place and had dream figures of 2/16 in his 10 overs. Abdur Razzaq hasn’t really had golden figures but his uncanny knack of swinging the ball back into the right handers has troubled the best of the lot. Shoaib Akhtar might just find a place in the playing XI for the big clash for the inexperienced Wahab Riaz.

India, on the other hand, have banked heavily on their batting and have ended up on the wrong side of the result when the batting has let them down. Sachin Tendulkar has looked ominous whenever he is in the centre while Sehwag has been responsible for the team getting off to flying starts. Gambhir has looked patchy while Kohli has been impressive. Yuvraj has been the man of the tournament so far while the innings against Australia must have done wonders to Raina’s confidence. Pakistan’s batting, though not as impressive as the India’s, has looked good in patches. Hafeez scored a confident 60 odd in the quarterfinals while Kamran Akmal’s form in front of the stumps isn’t as worrying as it is behind them. Asad Shafiq showed that he belonged to the international level with a good innings against Zimbabwe while Misbah Ul Haq along with Umar Akmal have been the pick of the batsmen. Shahid Afridi and Abdur Razzaq haven’t got much of an opportunity to let the sails loose while Younis Khan has also been found wanting for runs.

India’s bowlers put up a disciplined effort against the Aussies and the Windies but apart from that they have failed to deliver in pressure situations. The inclusion of Ashwin in the squad lends a much required balance in the attack and while Zaheer has been the pick of the bowlers, Yuvraj has been India’s best spinner by quite a distance. It will be interesting to see how the Indian part timers handle Afridi and Co.

There have been talks of rain and thunderstorms in Mohali but the sky is expected to be clear for the battle of the Asian giants. Like most of the other surfaces in the country at this time of the year, the pitch in Mohali is expected to be a batting beauty.

With a place in the World Cup final up for grabs, expect the two nations to come to a standstill as Dhoni and Afridi look to script another epic chapter in this never ending rivalry between the two great cricketing nations!

Probable Teams:

India: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Mahender Singh Dhoni (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel.

Pakistan: Kamran Akmal (Wicketkeeper), Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi (Captain), Abdur Razzaq, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Shoaib Akhtar.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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