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Atreyo Mukhopadhyay, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 26, 2011
The anticipation of a big fight intensified on Saturday with the Indian team arriving from Ahmedabad and checking into the hotel where Shahid Afridi's men are camping. The Men in Blue stayed inside for the rest of the day amid tight security. But spending four nights with the competition under the same roof before the actual battle may prove to be quite a test for them.

There could be an exchange of pleasantries or cold glances - or both - as Afridi fired the first salvo in Dhaka on Thursday, saying Pakistan would not let Sachin Tendulkar get to his 100th ton at Mohali, come what may.  http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/270311/27_03_11_pg01a.jpg

The fever looked quite palpable in Yuvraj Singh's city. Fans were willing to shell out as much as Rs. 15,000 for a Rs. 2,000 ticket.

Verbal vitriol preceding big cricketing confrontations is not unheard of.

The Australians are past masters of psychological warfare. But this time, they refrained from it before the quarter-final against India, and Pakistan have taken their place.

This Pakistan team looks quite a fighting unit, having overcome the spot-fixing scam that led to bans on three of their stars.

It also seems determined to prove a point after losing the status of World Cup co-host, following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

On Sachin's milestone, Afridi told Geo TV: "He will have to wait till after the World Cup. We will make sure no batsman plays a long innings." He added: "India will feel a little bit more pressure than us. With the crowd cheering every ball, they can get overwhelmed."

Pakistan manager Intikhab Alam is, however, wary of the hype and advised the media: "Let it remain cricket, don't make us feel as if we are standing on a warfront."