With ICC Cricket World Cup Semi Finals just hours away, fans are getting anxious. India and Pakistan will face each other on the 30th. The match is being called the “Mother of all contests.”

In the Stands

Pakistan’s PM, Yousaf Gilani

Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, has invited Pakistan’s Prime Minister. The invitation was accepted by Yousuf Gilani. Perhaps cricket will again serve as a tool for diplomacy.

About 6000 Pakistani’s have been granted visas, to date. Tickets that were originally going for 15,000 Rs. are now being sold for 100,000 Rs. According to latest reports, the black rate for a ticket has now gone up to Rs. 1 Million per ticket.

Ponting’s Predictions

Aussie captain, Ricky Ponting, favors India’s batting power. In the Australia India quarter-final Ponting saw firsthand the bowling strategy of the Indians. He told reporters in Sydney that “India are going to be hard to beat. They are a very powerful team…”

A Betting Game

According to some unconfirmed sources there is going to be a total betting of 7000 Crore Pakistan Rupees (850 million US dollars) on India Pakistan match. According to an Indian TV channel, the match has been fixed by Indian bookmakers. Pradeep Agarwal, notorious bookie, was reportedly spotted in an Indian dressing room during India’s match against Netherlands.

Pakistan interior minister has given instructions to Pakistan team that they are being watched and they should stay away from the book makers.

By the Numbers

Although Pakistan has never won a game against India in World Cups, the players of the current team are confident of breaking that record and they have said they are not worried about the numbers.

Pakistan has played two matches in Mohali against India, and won both of them. Shoaib Akhtar played a major role in both the wins taking 2/18 in 1999 and 3/42 in 2007. Overall in India, Pakistan has played 26 matches against India (in India) between 1983 and 2007. Pakistan won 17 and lost 9. Their win loss ratio is 1.889.

Key Players

Photo Credit: ESPNcricinfo.com

It is going to be a battle between Pakistan’s bowling and a very strong Indian batting. Former Pakistani cricketers including Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and many others have favored the place for Shoaib Akhtar instead of Wahab Riaz. Afridi told Geo News in a telephonic interview that Shoaib is the key but he will play if he is fit to bowl the full 10 overs and that at full flow. The key players for Pakistan are going to be Umer Gul, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Muhammad Hafeez and Misbah but this match is going to need every single man to perform at his very best.

Pakistan team is training hard and we wish them all the nest of luck.

We’ll be following the match on the 30th; stay tuned.