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Indo-Pak World Cup semi-final clash "match of the century": Sarfraz Nawaz


March 29, 2011 - Islamabad

Former Pakistan Test cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz has termed the 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan as the "match of the century", and said that the mouth-watering high voltage clash will be an unpredictable affair.

"This is a very big match. This is a match of the century. No one can predict the winning team," The Daily Times quoted Sarfraz, as saying.

Hosts India will encounter archrivals Pakistan in the second semi-final of the World Cup in Mohali on Wednesday, the first being New Zealand versus Sri Lanka on Tuesday (today).

Whilst India were among the favourites even before the start of the 2011 World Cup, underdogs Pakistan have emerged as a key contender for the World Cup trophy following their exemplary performances during the tournament.

"It is even. Any team can outclass the other side. The team playing better on the day will win the match," said Sarfraz.

He said that both teams had their own strengths, and would fight to their best for a slot in the World Cup final match to be held at Mumbai on April 2.

"If the Indian batsmen are in their peak form, the Pakistan bowlers are also performing well and will surely show their class," the former fast bowler noted.

He also criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik and World Cup winning captain Imran Khan for issuing negative statements about the Pakistan team.

"Imran has very wrongly stated that India are favourites for the semi-final clash. He should not have said so while sitting in India... Imran should have encouraged his own team. Pakistan have all the potential and skills to beat India," said Sarfraz.

"Likewise Malik has no authority to threat the Pakistan players on the match-fixing issue hours before the most important match of their lives," he added.

Despite slamming Malik for publicly warning the Pakistan team against match-fixing, Sarfraz conceded that it was true that the 'fixing' menace had damaged Pakistan cricket the most.

"If we had not been hit by it we should have been champions of three World Cups. But this is not proper time to threaten our own players," he pointed out.

He said that while the Pakistan government should make proper arrangements to keep the menace of match-fixing away from the national players, it should not make such public announcements.

ANI

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