Adelaide, Australia – The World Cup fever is high.
But if the overall fever is around 101 degrees – the temperature around a high-voltage, much anticipated India-Pakistan clash is four-times higher.
Adelaide is buzzing. There is no vacant hotel room and fans are forced to camp around the stadium, hoping they get a valid ticket and entry into the Adelaide Oval on Sunday.
Tagged as ’20 minute city’ because of its small size, the buzz is more noticeable.
The parts of Adelaide which are famous for Indian and Pakistan expats – Medindie, Walkerville and Prospect – give a homely look to both sets of fans. Flags of both the countries fill up the windows and fly high on the roofs.
|ODIs – 126
India won – 50
Pakistan won – 72
NR – 4
Most runs – S Tendulkar 2,278
Most wickets – Wasim Akram 55
The Port Adelaide Cricket Club, which has a number of Pakistani and Indian players, has made special arrangements for screening the match for those who failed to buy tickets.
Those tickets were sold out in one hour.
The Indian Chapati house and Urbanspoon restaurants have planned special dishes for fans who have flown into Adelaide since last week. Their charges look set to match the high scores expected in that vital clash.
With tempers expecting to reach and test limits, the city administration has issued an 85-point “code of conduct” for spectators – one that specifically bars religious messages and anti-national chants.
“The whole community has been waiting for the match,” Rahul Mehta, who runs a sports shop in Adelaide suburbs, told Al Jazeera.
“This match will be a big test for the Indo-Pak community of Australia as well who otherwise live as friends.”
Everybody hopes it starts as a cricket match and ends in a cricket match, whatever the result.
Keep emotions in check
On the field, meanwhile, Pakistan need to keep control of their emotions if they are to put an end to a string of World Cup defeats against India, captain Misbah-ul-Haq said.
Much to the dismay of their supporters, Pakistan have never won a match against their bitter neighbours at the World Cup, suffering five defeats dating back to 1992. That despite winning 72 of the other 121 One Day Internationals played against their old foes.
Adding to the pressure of the on-field rivalry will be the buzz around the game, with a 47,000-strong crowd presence at the Adelaide Oval Stadium and an expected television audience of over one billion.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has called on his under-fire bowlers to “drastically improve” their discipline.
India’s bowling woes were well documented over the last three months in Australia as the team lost the Test series 2-0 and failed to win a single match in the following Tri-series, also featuring England.
Additional input from Reuters