India and Pakistan share a long history of political tensions, which limits their cricket encounters to international tournaments only.Whenever these two teams face off, it garners immense fan interest, drawing millions of viewers worldwide and presenting a significant spectacle for broadcasters and sponsors.
In their zeal to witness the match, some fans have even resorted to unconventional accommodations, such as securing hospital beds, as the city’s hotels have reached full capacity. By opting for health check-ups and overnight stays in private hospitals, fans have discovered a more cost-effective solution, particularly as certain hotels have raised their rates by as much as tenfold.Both India and Pakistan come into the match with unbeaten records, and the showdown will unfold at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, named after the Indian prime minister. For Pakistan, this match follows their remarkable World Cup chase of 345 against Sri Lanka, during which wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan notched an unbeaten 131, and Abdullah Shafique contributed with a score of 113.
“We now have momentum,” Rizwan said after his man of the match show in Hyderabad. “But they will also come with a plan, we will also come with a plan.”
Pakistan boast a fiery bowling attack led by left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi but they still conceded 344 runs to Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
Security concerns saw the match brought forward a day from its original date, which coincided with a major Hindu festival in the city.
Authorities are deploying 11,000 police officers to keep order — around one for every 11 spectators in the event of a full house.
The match is sold out with media reporting that scalpers are asking for eight times the original price for tickets.
India came into the World Cup as the top-ranked ODI team and lived up to the billing of tournament favourites with a six-wicket win over five-time winners Australia.
Rohit Sharma breaks Sachin Tendulkar’s this World Cup record, slams 31st ODI hundred against Afghanistan
They are fresh from their eight-wicket thrashing of Afghanistan after skipper Rohit Sharma smashed a record seventh World Cup century on Wednesday.
But Rohit played down the hype around the tournament’s most anticipated fixture.
“For us it’s crucial that we don’t worry about external factors and just look at things we can control,” Rohit said after his blistering 131 in New Delhi.
“We just need to show up and do well. Things like what the pitch is like, what combo we can play is what we can control. What happens outside, we won’t be worried about it.”
Top-ranked ODI batsman Azam is yet to fire and has scores of five and 10 in Pakistan’s two victories.
World Cup 2023: Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking century leads India to 8-wicket win against Afghanistan
Pakistan have never won against India in the World Cup in their seven outings since 1992.
Their previous loss was by 89 runs in a rain-hit league match of the 2019 edition in Manchester.
India remain behind in their overall ODI head-to-heads against Pakistan with 56 wins and 73 losses but have clearly been the stronger team in recent meetings.
Rohit’s men hammered Pakistan by 228 runs in their Asia Cup Super Four clash last month and went on to win the regional tournament.
Top Indian batsmen have been among the runs in the two victories at the World Cup so far with Virat Kohli hitting 85 and KL Rahul an unbeaten 97 against Australia.
Kohli then made an undefeated 55 in the win over Afghanistan.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s 4-39 on Wednesday gave the Indian bowling unit a boost ahead of Saturday’s match.
Journalists from Pakistan have arrived in India for the match after delays in their visa approvals saw them miss the team’s opening two games.
(With inputs from AFP)