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Home > News > Report

Kashmiris head home early to catch India-Pak final

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | September 24, 2007 18:22 IST

Forty-five-year-old Abdul Rashid, a local bank manager, closed his branch early on Monday. He didn't want to miss even the toss of the India Pakistan final match at the twenty20 finals in Johannesburg.

Rashid is one of the thousands of Kashmiris who rushed home early on Monday to catch the clash of the arch rivals.

"It is after a long time that the two teams are meeting each other for such a prestigious cup. It is encouraging at the same time because irrespective of which side wins, the cup will remain in South Asia," said Abdul Rashid.

The attitude towards cricket has changed for the better in the valley. Most Kashmiris consider a India-Pakistan match as just another game, not a "war between the two teams."

Most locals rate both India and Pakistan as excellent teams and believe that the side which fields better will take the cup home.

"Pakistan's fielding has improved remarkably because of the introduction of younger players, which was evident in the semi-final match against the Kiwis," said Abdul Hamid, a school teacher.

"India also has an excellent fielding side, so the dice is evenly poised. Anyone can win the finals."

"The toss is going to be very crucial because in a give-away-nothing situation like this, the decision to bat or ball could determine the outcome of the match. I personally feel chasing a total of anything above 160 would be difficult for both," said Mohammad Ashraf, a local resident.