Just two days left now, 48 hours and then it will begin, the mother of all matches the India vs Pakistan encounter in the semi finals of the world cup. Mohali, India is the venue and the match has been awaited with bated breath on both sides of the border, ticket prices are quadrupled by demand and they say the private berths for personal aircraft are full in this city as the who’s who descend on it.
Amongst the stress of anticipation there are now voices being heard that this match is too over hyped the pretense of war on the field too exaggerated and the over all effect as garish as those long exaggerated footsteps the two opposing armies take at the wagah border. These aman ki ashas want the best team to win, fair play and a general acceptance of defeat by fans of either team should it so happen.
However, they seem to have forgotten that the rivalry between India and Pakistan on the cricket field is not one built on hate. It is perhaps the greatest sporting rivalry of all time as it involves two nations cleft from one in 47 with identical passion culture and love for the game pitted against one another. Yes we have fought wars against each other but cricket has never been the seed of discontentment. In fact throughout our violent history together cricket has often been used as a diplomatic tool to bring angry leaders of our two nations to the diplomatic table.
It should also be kept in mind that this match is not going to happen again anytime soon. due to the security threats faced by both teams when playing one another, as pointed out by the 1000 commandos being posted in mohali, this is a once in a many moons occurrence. Add to that the fact that Team Pakistan which has been the perpetual under dog since this tournament started has resoundingly defeated all the names to make it to mohali against a Team India which have been sound favorites from day one of the tournament and we have a match setting that is quite potent.
On paper India is the stronger team, as it has the most formidable batting line up in the world and they are very good at playing spin, which has been Pakistan most potent weapon on its march to the semi-final. One day cricket and statistics though are very uneasy companions as on that given day whoever clicks as a team will matter not recent achievements and history. What will also matter is the desire to win which both have and the added bonus of millions praying for victory on both sides.
So come Wednesday when you see the roads empty and voices of thousands of radios & tvs humming and beating in tune to hearts here in Pakistan. As you hear wails of misery when our wickets fall and cry’s of victory when we close in on a win do not fret as no actual carnage is going to come about as a result of this encounter Just remember that this is the sport which has reunited our country after so many days and months of depression, this is the team which has made us belief again and this belief has to go onto the final.
The Indian captain put it quite aptly at the eve of their historic quarter final win against Australia, he said “Our nation wants us to win the next match, it is more important to them then the cup” Right on Dhoni this is our world cup, so let us now see who will win it? I believe it will be Pakistan because even if I try I cannot form the words “India has beaten Pakistan In the semifinal” the heart does not accept what the mind says sometimes ya know? As Nazia Hassan once sang “Dil bole boom booom”