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June 16, 2019

Big Pakistan-India clash can save drenched World Cup


June 16, 2019

MANCHESTER: The ICC World Cup 2019 is drowning and needs a rescue act to save it from unseasonal English rains.

That rescue act can take place at Old Trafford on Sunday provided the sport’s biggest rivals – Pakistan and India – are allowed by the weather gods to play a full match in front of a sell-out crowd.

A full, and hopefully a close match between Pakistan and India, will finally provide this World Cup the sort of shot in the arm it has been crying out for in the face of a cold and wet spell that has ruined this ten-nation spectacle.

Four of the World Cup matches have been washed out. More might be affected as rains continue to hit different parts of England.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has come under severe criticism over its failure to have reserve days for group matches of the tournament. On its part, the ICC stresses that keeping reserve days for the entire tournament would have been a logistical nightmare.

But wet weather is not the only reason why the game’s governing body has been at the receiving end in recent days.

There have been issues with the standard of umpiring. West Indian legend Michael Holding made no bones about it. The Sri Lankans have publicly complained about ICC’s double standards by suggesting that their team is being treated differently. Even the bails being used for the tournament have been cause for embarrassment for the ICC.

But all the criticism could be washed away if World Cup’s match number 22 lives up to its billing as the mother of all battles.

When Pakistan and India meet on the cricketing field, everything else takes the back seat. More so if they clash on the World Cup stage.

It is expected that an audience of 1.5 billion people all over the planet is going to tune in for the Manchester game. That would bring the match in the league of the FIFA World Cup final. More than 700,000 fans applied for online tickets but only 25,000 lucky ones would be able to witness it from inside Old Trafford. Many of them have bought match tickets for as much as 2000 pounds.

Despite a positive weather forecast, there are fears that rain might play spoilsport in Manchester on Sunday. The English weather is famously unpredictable and could may well decide the final outcome of the tournament’s biggest match. A wash-out isn’t on the cards on Sunday but if it happens it would not just leave the fans high and dry. It would also be the biggest blow to this World Cup yet.

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