March 30th 2011..... and you can be sure that 2 nations will come to a standstill. Overwhelming joy for one nation and depressing sorrow for the other by the end of an event. And the event is India v Pakistan in Mohali., a dream semi-final in cricket's world cup this year. Cricket at its best, thanks to the biggest rivalry which potentially can change people's moods with flows and ebbs over the course of the 8 hours.
India's campaign has been one of ups and downs and they are yet to fire together as a team. Bowling has been a big worry throughout the tournament. Except Zaheer Khan, no bowler was able to bowl consistently which is a big worry. Harbhajan Singh has been a big let down, not able to spin his magic over the opposition. Admittedly, ever team has played Harbhajan comfortably. Potentially, Harbhajan will be under more pressure as the Pakistan batsmen play spin very well.
Munaf Patel has been hot and cold but he needs to be used a defensive bowler and Munaf does that role very well. Ashwin's inclusion has been a breath of fresh air and he will be the trump card for MS Dhoni.
India's batting is yet to peak and its best for them if people like Sehwag, Yuvraj,Dhoni and Raina play around the likes of Sachin, Kohli and Gambhir. Batting woes still persist and they would have to sort out the risk of a batting collpase in the first innings. Dhoni is yet to fire as a batsman and he generally plays well against Pakistan. Pakistan has clever bowlers like Gul, Razzaq and Afridi. They would challenge the Indian top order and they have to be prepared for the Pakistani onslaught.
Pakistan on the other hand, has a weak batting order and its highly reliant on Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq to pull them out from difficult situations. Watch out for the young Umar Akmal. This young lad has a great technique and will for sure shine in the future. Inconsistent batsman like Kamran Akmal and Afridi has to step up to the plate and be counted. Razzaq can be dangerous in his own ways. Bowling has beenn very strong throughout the tournament with the likes of Gul, Razzaq and Afridi. Its time for Shoaib Akhtar to be in the team and he will take the bowling to the next level.
Fielding has been a worry for both the teams and so don't expect sensational fielding effort from both the teams. So, on paper India looks a better team on paper but dont be surprised if Pakistanis upstage the Indians in Mohali. High octane matches like these make new heroes and ride their team all the way. The team which holds its nerve and controls pressure will eventually win the match. Either way, one sub-continental team will surely play the Final on April 2.