WC u-19: India, Pakistan prepare to battle

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2002, 23:53 [IST]
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Christchurch: India and Pakistan resume their rivalry on the cricket field after an 18-month gap on Thursday when they meet in the Super League of the ICC under-19 World Cup in Christchurch.

The Indian government has refused to allow their national team to play Pakistan at the senior level due to the crisis in disputed Kashmir, but has given permission for Thursday's game to take place. Matches between the two teams evoke passionate support in both countries, and this clash has the added edge that Pakistan must win to remain in the competition. It's also the first time the two teams have met since June 2000, when they played a One-day International in the Asia Cup. "It's going to be a good battle and we have a long rivalry," said Pakistan coach Haroon Rashid. "There is always a special feeling playing against India and both teams will do their best to excel against the other. "In Pakistan we are very keen to play against India. We have not been playing against them at the senior level which is very sad and isn't good for the game. We must play each other on a regular basis as the subcontinent is a huge market for cricket." Pakistan's faltering form saw them suffer a disappointing six-wicket defeat against the West Indies on Tuesday, which has left them with four points. The top two teams from each group qualify for next week's semi-finals, and with India already assured of a spot after beating Sri Lanka and the West Indies, Pakistan will have to be at its best to win. Defending champion India is looking likely candidates to make the final and coach Dilip Vengsarkar will tell his young players to treat the Pakistan match as if it is any other game. "We are looking forward to the game but we will play it as if it was just another match in the tournament," he said. "I have not seen much of the Pakistan team but we will get as much information on them as possible."

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