'I hope India wins'
Sending his best wishes to the Indian cricket team for their World Cup final match against Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday hoped that the 'Men in Blue' win the trophy.
"Keep it up is all I would say. I hope India wins," Singh said when asked about his message to the Indian cricket team.
Singh, however, will not be travelling to Mumbai to watch India play Sri Lanka on Saturday.
"I will be in Assam then," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Padma awards function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
"The whole nation joins in wishing the Indian cricket team," he said adding that he would be watching the game as he gets time.
Singh had invited Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the World Cup semi-final at Mohali where India defeated Pakistan by 29 runs to set up the title clash with Sri Lanka.
President Pratibha Patil and Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be in Mumbai to watch the World Cup final.
Image: Indian team react after winning a match
'I was 110 per cent confident that Sachin was out'
Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is still perplexed over why the Decision Review System (DRS) overturned on-field umpire Ian Gould's leg-before-wicket ruling against Sachin Tendulkar during the World Cup semi-final against India in Mohali.
Tendulkar, who scored a valuable innings of 85, was dropped four times besides surviving a close leg before call off the bowling of Ajmal, who is convinced that he had the master batsman trapped.
"I don't know how the television replays showed my delivery turning towards the leg side because I had bowled an arm ball and it went straight. I was 110 per cent confident when the referral was made that the batsman was out," Ajmal said.
The DRS has been regularly used in the World Cup, with some of the decisions raising questions over the accuracy of the technology, used to track the movement, spin or height of the ball.
Ajmal said he was pleased with his bowling performance in the semi-final but would have loved to see a Pakistan victory.
"All of us were very disappointed at losing the match because there was so much interest and hype attached to it. But in cricket one team has to lose and one has to win," he noted.
Pakistan's young pacer, Wahab Riaz, who took a five-for, said the semi-final was one of his most memorable matches and he would forever treasure his five-wicket haul.
"The wickets of Sehwag and Yuvraj were most memorable for me as they are very dangerous players of pace and spin," Riaz said.
"To get a chance to bow down to Allah on Indian soil was a big moment for me," he added.
Image: Saeed Ajmal
WC final set to create taxi crisis Down Under
The India-Sri Lanka World Cup final is all set to create a taxi crisis -- not in Mumbai, which will host the match, but far away in Australia.
With the Indian and Sri Lankan cab drivers planning to take the night off to watch the World Cup final on Saturday, the Aussies will have to do with fewer taxis on the road.
"It is expected that thousands of drivers will take the night off work to watch the match, which will bring the cricket-mad sub-continent to a standstill," the local media here reported.
Melbourne taxi driver Vinny Singh said at least 100 drivers known to him would be off the roads to catch the action in Mumbai due to the difference of over five hours in time zones.
"I think it will be next to impossible, because I think that a lot of Indian students who are driving cabs in the night, as part of their part-time job, will be having a day off," he told the ABC.
"They will be supporting their country, their nation and their players, taking a day off tomorrow and watching cricket," he added.
Srinivasan, the sports editor of a Melbourne community newspaper The Indian Voice also said that getting taxi ride would be touch.
"Every Indian, every person from the subcontinent particularly the Indians will be glued to the TV tomorrow," he told 3AW.
"I've spoken to some of the cab drivers and they have decided to call it of, finish the shift by 8pm tomorrow," he said.
"And more so if India wins the match, you can forget about taxis on Sunday morning. Some of the Indian community functions that normally happen on Saturday, those have been postponed or it will finish at 8 o'clock tomorrow," he added.
Pakistani players refuse to predict WC winners
Pakistan may be out of the World Cup but the cricketers are in no mood to make any prediction about the outcome of Saturday's final between India and Sri Lanka with captain Shahid Afridi saying the strength of both the teams are too close to make a call.
"Both India and Sri Lanka are equally matched and to me both have equal chances of winning the final," Afridi said after returning home following Pakistan's 29-run loss at the hands of India in the semi-finals at Mohali on Wednesday.
All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez agreed with Afridi but pointed out that a lot would depend on the pitch on offer for the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
"India obviously has the support of the entire country behind them but both teams have some good match winners. Both the teams evenly matched so it is difficult to pick a winner," Hafeez said.
Left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz, who was outstanding in the semi-final against India with figures of five for 46 from his 10 overs, felt that the spinners may decide the winner.
"The batsmen of both the teams are in good form so the result will boil down to the bowlers," he said.
After Pakistan's defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India, people here are supporting Sri Lanka in the summit clash.
"I hope they (Sri Lanka) beat India. It will in some ways reduce the pain of having lost to the Indians in the semi-finals," said cricket enthusiast, Kamran who had turned up at the airport to welcome the Pakistan team.
Image: Pakistan cricket team
Australia's World Cup loss is Taufel's gain
Defending champions Australia's World Cup debacle came as a blessing in disguise for at least one Australian -- umpire Simon Taufel, who will finally get a chance to officiate in a World Cup final.
Taufel won five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year but Australia's three consecutive world titles -- in 1999, 2003 and 2007 -- denied the 40-year-old former first-class cricketer the chance to officiate in the summit clash of the game's showpiece event due to ICC's neutral umpires' rule.
But with Ricky Ponting's men failing to clear the quarter-final hurdle this time around, Taufel has finally realised his cherished dream.
Along with Aleem Dar of Pakistan, he will be officiating the final of the ongoing World Cup between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.
"The Australian team's success in the World Cup over a long period of time has been to the detriment of Simon Taufel who has never been able to officiate in a World Cup Final," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said.
"It's fantastic to see him get this opportunity," he added.
Taufel made his umpiring debut in One-Day Internationals (ODI) in 1999 at the age of 28 and four years later he was selected to officiate in his first World Cup in South Africa.
Image: Simon Taufel