“Winning isn’t everything–but wanting to win is.”
― Vince Lombardi
It’s the big one!
It has always been…
Where ability to maintain calm amidst surrounding hysteria will matter more than talent.
Where attitude will dominate potential,
Where the ability to struggle under pressure will prevail over competence and …
Where men will be separated from boys!
A tense thriller is guaranteed whenever these two arch rivals lock horns with each other.
The anticipated tension between the Indian and Pakistani diaspora living down under has resulted in issuance of a strict code of conduct by ICC for the respective fans.
The tickets for this match were sold out in minutes guaranteeing two extremely charged set of fans turning up in unprecedented numbers on match day.
The capacity of the historic “Adelaide Oval” has been increased ahead of this match to compensate around 50,000 spectators while over a billion expected viewers will be glued to their sofas for the entirety of this epic.
This Group B clash is expected to eclipse the 988 million who watched the two arch-rivals clash in the 2011 World Cup semi-final at Mohali.
Pakistan cricket for various reasons has failed to reach the victory stand against India in World Cups over the course of the last 4 decades. Our record against India otherwise is fairly sound and enough to refute the despair creeping into certain quarters ahead of yet another crucial encounter.
Both teams haven’t really had the most ideal of starts to their World Cup preparations with dismal performance in practice matches and loss of key players to injury bruising their previously anemic claims further.
People on both sides of the border will be looking for heroics from the captain of their respective teams. Misbah’s calm demeanor and capacity to absorb pressure will be tested against Dhoni’s ability to stay unruffled in the face of extreme tremulousness.
The game plan…
As the ever experienced brains take to their respective drawing boards in either dressing room we can be rest assured that the final blueprints will be well worked out after taking into account all possible opposition strategies, strengths and weaknesses.
While Misbah ‘s men will be looking to put early pressure on the Indian team by taking wickets with the two new “Kookaburra Turfs”, Indian think tank might strategize to see off the likes of Muhammad Irfan on the bouncy Adelaide pitch.
Many Indian experts believe that the match might actually be decided in the middle overs when a star studded Indian batting lineup will clash with a depleted Pakistani second tier where only a defiant Afridi with his mixed bag stands out as any possible barrier to the expected Indian onslaught.
Pakistan batting woes coming up face to face with the debilitated Indian bowling will be a mouth-watering feat to watch for the neutrals.
Likes of Nasir and Shahzad colliding with an Indian pace attack of fairly limited caliber will by no means be a one sided affair as the Pakistanis are self sufficient in the practice of “Hara-kiri” that can ensue unexpectedly,regardless of the opposition.
Conversely The match might get fairly numskulling when the Pakistani middle order boasting the likes of Misbah and Younis khan will try to consolidate against ultra precise Jadeja, Ashwin and possibly Binny.
On Match day…
On paper this might be the weakest World Cup team that we have ever fielded but unpredictability remains Pakistan’s prized asset.
Misbah, however, needs to lead by example and exude aggression.
For a wise man once said…
“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Regardless of the outcome, Pakistanis will wonder what could have happened if the likes of Ajmal and Junaid had played while Indians will miss Bhavaneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma .
For the sake of pure sanity, let’s take it as a match between two great cricketing nations and hope that it’s played in the best spirit of the game while chants of “Takbeer” and “Chak De” will guard against it becoming a dull affair.