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Indian-Americans ecstatic over semi-final victory

Indian-American fans here celebrated India's victory over Pakistan in the high-voltage World Cup semi-final match and lauded the "combined effort" by the players that took the team to the final of the tournament.

cricket Updated: Mar 31, 2011 11:45 IST

Indian-American fans here celebrated India's victory over Pakistan in the high-voltage World Cup semi-final match and lauded the "combined effort" by the players that took the team to the final of the tournament.

"It was an excellent experience. The way the team played, it took our breath away," Manas Sahu, President of the Massachusetts State Cricket League said here.

Sahu said that India's experience saw them through the game.

"India never gave up and it was a combined effort. The bowlers, who are often overshadowed, delivered today," Sahu said, adding the whole match was "played in a good spirit."

"Every Indian I saw out on the streets had a smile on his face and only an Indian could tell the reason for that," Sahu says with evident pride.

Sahu also captains cricket team Boston Gymkhana Club here and plays the sport with many of his Pakistani friends.

But he says, in the run up to the India-Pakistan match, he had stopped talking to his Pakistani friends as he did not want any verbal clashes with them.

"We may be friends with Pakistanis here but when it comes to an India-Pakistan match, it is a different ball game. Then we are rivals," he said, adding with a laugh that then the friendship takes a back seat.

Radhika Sharma, a scientific associate at pharma major Novartis, said the entire Indian team played "to the best of its ability".

"The bowlers bowled really well, they did not let the Pakistanis score and Shahid Afridi's wicket was a life saver," she said.

Thousands of miles away from all the frenzy and action, Indians living here ensured that they did not miss out on the most awaited match of World Cup 2011, even if it meant taking a day off from work.

Scores of Indians either worked from home or took the day off and postponed business meetings.

As Sahu, an IT professional, put it, "March 30 must have been the most unproductive day in the world for the IT field." Clearly an India-Pakistan match takes precedence over all else.

Indians gathered with friends, some setting up huge screens in the basement of their homes, to watch the "mother of all clashes."

As victory inched closer, they celebrated by beating drums, shouting slogans for India and with standing ovations.

Sahu said that he had set up a Facebook page where Indians could voice their feelings and emotions.

Students at the Northeastern University here, which has a huge Indian population, had made arrangements to watch the match in style.

A big screen was put up at the university's student centre.

Nearly 400 students assembled at the centre at 4:30 in the morning US time, not wanting to miss the toss, and sat through the entire match.

"The atmosphere was bigger than Diwali. We all have great hopes for the final match against Sri Lanka," Sharma said.

Sahu added that while Sri Lanka is a better team, India should win the final for Sachin Tendulkar as it could be his last world cup.

"He deserves this crown," Sahu added.