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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Cup heavyweights ready to rumble

February 27, 2003 19:15 IST

Past records and current form will mean little when Asian heavyweights India and Pakistan clash in the World Cup on Saturday.

Emotions will run high and life will come to a halt in the subcontinent during the Group A match heavy with political connotations.

India have half a foot in the Super Sixes already following their 82-run victory over England on Wednesday while Pakistan, with only two wins against minnow sides, are facing early elimination.

Pakistan captain Waqar Younis and his Indian counterpart Sourav Ganguly, however, are fully aware that the Centurion game has a life and significance all of its own within the greater confines of the tournament.

Intense political rivalry between the two southern Asian neighbours has, for decades, found expression in the game followed so passionately by fans on either side of the border.

India and Pakistan have not met in a one-day international since the Dhaka Asia Cup in June 2000.

The Indian government has refused permission for its cricket team to play Pakistan in any bilateral series because of the ongoing political tensions. However it has no objection to its national team playing Pakistan in official events.

Pakistan enjoy a significant advantage over India in their one-day encounters, with a win-loss ratio of 52-29, but 1983 World champions India have won all three World Cup meetings between the sides.

The Group A showdown will also throw up a potentially thrilling head-to-head between Sachin Tendulkar, the world's best batsman, and Shoaib Akhtar, the game's quickest bowler.

Tendulkar has been in fine touch at this tournament, top-scoring for India in four out of their five matches.

Akhtar bowled the fastest ball ever recorded against England at Newlands, but that did not help his team who slumped to a 112-run defeat.

Meanwhile India's pace trio Javagal Srinath, left-armers Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan are in superb form, Nehra having captured a career-best 6-23 to bowl his side to victory against England.

BATTING FAILURE

Pakistan's batting has so far failed to fire at this World Cup, with their best batsman Inzamam-ul Haq failing to score in their last two matches -- against England and the Netherlands.

Their hopes will heavily depend on how their pace trio of Shoaib, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis exploit India's known weakness against genuine pace on lively pitches.

India will be returning to the Centurion venue where they were skittled for 125, their lowest ever World Cup total, during their nine-wicket drubbing against Australia earlier in the tournament.

But captain Ganguly is confident his team are ready for the encounter.

"I think we have already qualified for the Super Sixes, but we want to beat Pakistan to carry as many points as possible into the next stage," he said.

Waqar said his team would be pumped up for the India clash, following their comfortable 97-run victory against the Netherlands on Tuesday.

"It will be a hell of a game," he said. "We will win our next two matches and qualify for the Super Sixes."

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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Number of User Comments: 15




Sub: waqar's dream to hell

Hey Waqar, ur dream of winning ur next two matches is going to hell. U R facing INDIANS at the Centurian, be ready for the ...


Posted by sekhar





Sub: Morale Booster

C'mon Sourav and Co. Dont let us down. Victory against Pak will boost the morale of thousands or soldiers gaurding our borders. Nothing better can ...


Posted by charanjay





Sub: shoaib akhtar is showing off

shoaib is showing off.he can bowl fast but is very proud.i hope sachin whacks the ball for 6 in all his overs.


Posted by johny quest





Sub: India thrashes Pak!!!

Indian batting trio of Sachin, Sehwag and Dravid will make it past the reach of Pakis....On top of that the deadly pace trio of Srinath, ...


Posted by Amit Chaudhary





Sub: India

Aktar may be able to bowl even faster, but it cannot do anything with our top order batsmaen. Unless, Inzamam and Anvar reach in form, ...


Posted by Boby, Pramod, Satheesh....NIT Calicut




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