Rain is a worry and I hope it stays away, prays Waqar
Published: Saturday, March 1, 2003, 1:19 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
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Centurion: Pakistan captain Waqar Younis prayed for clear skies as rain threatened to hit its World Cup clash against arch-rivals India on Saturday. Heavy rain, which swept across the SuperSport Park just as the Indians finished training on Friday, forced the Pakistanis to practice indoors ahead of what Waqar said should be "one hell of a game." With cloudy skies and the chance of an afternoon thunderstorm forecast on Saturday, the first match between the two warring neighbours since June, 2000 may be curtailed even though the drainage system at the ground is excellent. If 25-overs-a-side are not bowled, both sides will be forced to share two points each which could further dampen Pakistan's hopes of reaching the Super Sixes. Pakistan, with eight points from four games, needs to win against India and Zimbabwe to stay in contention for a place in the next round. A defeat, or even a no result, will leave Pakistan's fate in the hands of the other Group 'A' teams. India, cushioned by 16 points from five matches, will confirm its place in the Super Sixes if the two easy points come its way. "Rain is a worry and I pray it stays away because this will be one hell of a game," Waqar said. "It would have been good if there were reserve days in the league, but there were too many matches to be played. It just can't be helped." Waqar said his team could not wait to get out there and play. "The boys are very excited. We will go out and fight like we have always done, against India or any other team," Waqar said. "We can't afford to lose, it is as simple as that." Pakistan, runners-up at the last World Cup four years ago, has lost to both reigning champions Australia and England, its only points so far in the tournament coming against minnows Namibia and the Netherlands. "If we are inconsistent it is because we are the most attacking side in the world," the captain said. "We may have had a bad start, but the dream of reaching the final is very much alive. I am confident we can do it." Waqar said he was not surprised by the hype generated by the match. "In our part of the world emotions run high when India plays against Pakistan. "But I know that both teams enjoy the cricket against each other. The contest is full of fun."