'Game on' for World Cup fans as Pakistan chase history against India
Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)
India and Pakistan fans were geared up for a thrilling finale to their teams' World Cup clash as Pakistan chased 337 to win at Old Trafford on Sunday.
India were inspired by Rohit Sharma's 140 as they posted a challenging 336 for five in 50 overs after being put into bat in Manchester.
Pakistan, who are yet to win a match against their Asian rivals in six World Cup meetings, need a World Cup record run chase to claim a shock victory.
But the possibility of more rain, which interrupted play late in the India innings, threatens to spoil the highly anticipated game, with an expected television audience of up to one billion people.
"India are in a strong position. Strong enough to beat this Pakistan side which does not have the batting to counter our bowlers," Arun Chaturvedi, an Indian fan at Old Trafford, told AFP.
"We will definitely make it 7-0 today. What a knock by Rohit, just enjoyed it and then King Kohli, wow," the 52-year-old doctor said.
Pakistan paceman Mohammed Amir returned figures of 3-47 in his 10 overs to try and check the Indian surge in the final half of the innings.
A packed crowd largely dominated by Indians cheered every run from their batsmen, flying the country's tri-colour as the mood remained festive.
"We loved it. Our top three batsmen were just fantastic and Kohli showed why he is world class. I hope rain stays away so that we beat Pakistan fair and square," said Geetanjali Bhardwaj, an Indian student on an exchange programme in the UK, told AFP.
"It's my first ever experience of seeing India play and it has been amazing. Pakistan are also good but no match up to our team," the young student said with a smile.
The most any side have made batting second to win a World Cup match is Ireland's 329 for seven against England at Bangalore in 2011.
Pakistani supporters, who came in colours of green and white, kept faith in their team's star batsmen Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam to deliver the win.
"I know it's tough (the chase) but very much doable, it's game on. If India can score 336 then we can do it better," said Pasha Khan, an immigrant who lives in Manchester, told AFP.
"Amir's spell will inspire us today. India has a good bowling attack but you will see how our batsman will make it happen," said the 32-year-old Khan.
Games between the two countries, who currently only face each other in multi-nation tournaments, are always about more than just what happens on the pitch.
However, Kohli had downplayed the hype surrounding in the pre-match presser and said, "enjoy the game of cricket" in his parting message.
? 2019 AFP