Team India are all set to resume their cricketing rivalry against Pakistan in the World Cup 2019 group stage clash at Old Trafford in Manchester on Sunday. Amidst the tensed political conditions between the countries, Pakistan legend Wasim Akram has urged fans on both the sides of the border to stay calm during the highly anticipated clash between the arch-rivals.
“This can’t be bigger. India and Pakistan playing at the World Cup with over a billion audience is the biggest thing in cricket, so my message to both sets of fans to enjoy it and stay calm,” Wasim Akram was quoted saying by AFP.
Wasim also said that the fans should not take the match as a war, instead enjoy the match. He added, “One team will win, one team will lose, so stay graceful and do not take this as a war. Those who project this match as war are not true cricket fans.”
This will be the seventh World Cup clash between India and Pakistan with the former emerging victorious on all the six previous encounters between the two. But, Pakistani legend Wasim Akram, who was part of the Pakistan team in the 1992, 1999, 2003 World Cups when they lost to India, believes that the poor run could change on Sunday.
“Pakistan can beat India through controlled aggression. Yes, I don’t have fond memories of the World Cup matches against India but I have enjoyed all these matches over the year as fans are glued to television wherever they are. It will be like that again on Sunday,” Wasim Akram said.
Wasim admits India have a stronger line-up, but he insists Pakistan can still shock their rivals as they did in the 2017 Champions Trophy final. Akram also hopes that rain won’t play a spoilsport during the India-Pakistan clash.
“Yes, India have a strong batting and bowling line up but Pakistan can match them. When it comes to India and Pakistan game the team that handles the pressure well wins the day. I surely hope that rain stays off. Fans want to watch a full matches, intense and lively so we all hope that rain stays away,” he said.
India have five points from three matches after beating Australia and South Africa, while their third match that was against New Zealand was washed out on Thursday. Pakistan, on the other side, have lost against the West Indies and Australia and shocked hosts England, while their match against Sri Lanka was washed out.