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  5. India Has The Home Advantage, Says Rameez Raja

India Has The Home Advantage, Says Rameez Raja

Mohali, March 26 : Everyone  agrees that the India- Pakistan semi- final in Mohali on Wednesday would be the best match of the World Cup so far. It has the potential to bring out a

PTI PTI Updated on: March 27, 2011 14:01 IST
india has the home advantage says rameez raja
india has the home advantage says rameez raja

Mohali, March 26 : Everyone  agrees that the India- Pakistan semi- final in Mohali on Wednesday would be the best match of the World Cup so far. It has the potential to bring out a lot of emotions in players and fans. But former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja is not getting swayed by the occasion; his mind says India will have the home advantage, reports Mail Today.


“ You've got to make India the favourite to win the tie, but on the day you can expect Pakistan surprising India too, a little bit. It's about consistency. The team that plays better than the other for a 100 overs will obviously have the last say,” Raja, here as a commentator, told the tabloid.

Former New Zealand pacer Simon Doull also felt that India would get the home benefits. “ India will start with an edge. Their batting, the top six, looks far stronger ( than Pakistan's) on paper, but the game is not played on paper. It's the bowling that is more in Pakistan's favour, Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi have been outstanding throughout the tournament. The return of Saeed Ajmal was very good for Pakistan,” Doull said.

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“ Having said that, Indian batsmen play spin better than anyone, so India hold the edge. And Pakistan will have a little bit of worry travelling to India and the pressure might just get to Pakistan in the semifinal,” he said.

Raja feels everyone will like an exciting game. “ Let's hope it's a good game. I want a close game. There will be a lot more things attached to it, obviously,” he said, referring to the political connotations that come into play during such encounters.

“ More than the skills and the form, it will be how the teams take the pressure of an India- Pakistan semifinal; how India will take the pressure playing Pakistan at home in a crunch, do- or- die game; what kind of response Pakistan will receive and how they will react to an Indian- centric crowd; and how they will perform against the world's best batting side that is on a roll.”

Raja has a hunch that Pakistan would not give up easily. “ Having followed the Pakistan team for 12 months, one thing that I can safely say is that they will not go down without a fight. And that is what the fans want,” he averred.

Cautioning the teams about keeping their emotions in check, Raja said: “ An India- Pakistan game is more than just bat and ball. It's about handling pressure; channelising the passion in the right way; about getting the rhythm and momentum into the tie. So, all those things will matter.”

Both Raja and Doull said that it was unlikely that India or Pakistan will make any changes in the XI that won their quarter- final matches.

Pakistan coach Waqar Younis has also appealed to players and fans to keep control over their sentiments and take it only as a game of cricket.  

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