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Ind vs Pak? Action replay from '96, please!

Gokul Krishnamurthy Mumbai | Updated on March 29, 2011 Published on March 29, 2011

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Waqar Younis, the current Pakistani coach, must be having nightmares before the India-Pakistan semi-final. The reasons for his disturbed sleep would be the very ones inducing delicious day dreams in many of us in India. For many, many Indians, the greatest cricketing moment they followed would be of Ajay Jadeja smashing 45 off 25 balls in the World Cup quarter final against Pakistan in 1996, with able support from Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath and co. From 239 at the start of the 48th over, India finished at 287 for eight. The Pakistani chase that followed offered fantastic drama too. Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar put the Pakistanis firmly on track, and the team was coasting at 84 for no loss at the end of 10 overs. Srinath struck with the very next ball. Then, in an indelible moment of cricketing drama, Venkatesh Prasad ripped out Sohail's off stump. From 113 for two wickets at the end of 15 overs, Pakistan allowed the glorious uncertainties to pull them down to 248 for 9 in its allotted 49 overs.The current World Cup is a lot different, from the team compositions to the way the game is played. But it is still India Vs Pakistan, and the inexplicably intense aura around a match featuring the two teams is inevitable.

Needless to say, the match will be followed by all and sundry in the sub-continent. And it will be commented upon by all and sundry as well.

In the opinion of some experts, the mind games will prove more important in what will without doubt be a test of nerves. Shahid Afridi has his job cut out. While he is the leading wicket taker so far in the tournament, one wonders how effective his 10 overs will be against Indian batsmen. His mettle as captain will truly be tested on Wednesday. M.S. Dhoni, on the other hand, hasn't fired with the bat – yet. But one thing is sure. He won't lose his cool on the field. Which is why, India, under captain cool, stands a better chance of a win in the high pressure match. Afridi might just say this is biased if he ever reads this. Sorry Afridi, we are like this only.

Published on March 29, 2011
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