The India-Pakistan semifinal on Wednesday is easily the most awaited clash of the 2011 World Cup. Both teams will go all out to win the cup a second time.
India have won the cup in 1983 under Kapil Dev's captaincy and another contemporary all-rounder of his, Imran Khan, led Pakistan to win it in 1992 Down Under.
If India is looking to dominate the game with their depth in batting, the Pakistanis are hoping their in-form bowlers would succeed in checkmating them.
On the strength of their performance in the seven matches in the tournament, both teams have gamechangers who will play major roles.
The players to watch out:
Sachin Tendulkar: Handling the expectations of 1.23 billion people has become a routine for the master blaster, who has had an exceptional tournament. With 373 runs and two hundreds in seven matches, he is the third highest run-getter in the competition. The team will need him to provide a solid start and play through the innings and get to his magical cenutry of centuries.
Yuvraj Singh: The flamboyant left-hander has emerged from nowhere to be the top contender for the player of the tournament award. He is being dubbed a genuine all-rounder. Yuvraj has smashed 341 runs with four fifties and a hundred against the West Indies, besides picking 11 wickets. The fans would surely be expecting a fifth man-of-the-match award for the local boy.
Zaheer Khan: With 17 wickets at a strike rate of 21.7, he has been the best bowler for India. The seamer's stupendous performance has been a rare bright spot in a weak-looking bowling line-up. Th team will rely hugely on the pace spearhead.
Shahid Afridi: The captain, with 21 wickets in seven matches, has been inspirational with the ball. Afridi's lethal leg-spinners and the faster ones have helped Pakistan pick wickets at regular intervals and run through the lower middle-order of the opposition. The skipper, however, has not been able to fire with the bat and would be keen to make amends in the all-important game.
Umar Akmal: Afridi had tipped him to be the player of the tournament for Pakistan. The award might not come his way, but he has made valuable contributions in crucial matches and got the team out of trouble. Akmal's last innings of 44 not out against Australia proved decisive chasing a modest 176. He got to the crease when Pakistan were at a precarious 98-4, but guided them home to inflict on Australia their first World Cup defeat in 12 years and after 34 matches.
Umar Gul: The lanky fast bowler has 14 wickets in the tournament and has shown consistency in picking up wickets. Apart from his impressive strike rate, Gul has been most economical, conceding at the rate of 3.86 runs an over in seven games.