2nd ODI: Mohali set for Diwali fireworks

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/i/indiapracticelondon_ap.jpg' class='caption'> You can expect some fireworks on Thursday -- not only it's Diwali -- India and Pakistan go head to head on a seamer friendly track in Mohali.

Updated: November 08, 2007 08:42 IST
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Having gained the psychological advatage by easily winning the first match, a confident India take on arch-rivals Pakistan in the second one-dayer in Mohali today.

The five-wicket triumph in the first one-dayer in Guwahati will no doubt serve as a huge morale booster for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men.

But they can hardly afford to be complacent against the unpredictable Pakistanis in what promises to be a thrilling floodlit contest at the PCA stadium.

The visitors, who have a fine blend of youth and experienced players in their ranks, are fully capable of turning the table on their hosts but they need to get their acts together quickly.

If the Indians manage to win and take a 2-0 lead in the five match series, the Pakistanis will find themselves under tremendous pressure in the remaining matches.

Raring to go

The seamer-friendly track in Mohali will also see some interesting fireworks as Shoaib Akhtar will be keen to have a go at the Indian batsmen.

Pakistan's last outing in Mohali, a year ago, was forgettable. They were bowled out for just 89 against South Africa in the Champions Trophy.

But then, they didn't have Shoaib, who had to leave early, following the doping controversy. This time, he could add that extra punch to the Pakistani attack.

"Mohali is good for strike bowler, may play another fast bowler," said Geoff Lawson, Coach, Pakistan cricket team.

And although spin is not expected to play much of a role here, the Pakistani's have also been working overtime watching videos.

They have studied the Indian spin attack to get their head around the likes of Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik, who took the game away from them in Guwahati.

The pitch in Mohali has been a deciding factor for which way the game will tilt but this time, it seems the composition of the team will determine who wins.

India is already 1-0 in the series and a lot will depend on the composition both teams play in Mohali.

Star attraction

Adding some heat on the already blazing ground will be tennis ace Sania Mirza, a star off the field attraction for the second ODI.

The Hyderabad hurricane, who is on a surprise visit to Mohali to watch the match, admitted the 'Rawalpindi express' stood apart because of his aggression.

"Shoaib Malik is good and I also liked Afridi for a while. But personally, I like Shoaib's (Akhtar) aggression. He is a great cricketer," she said.

While tennis is her forte, Sania might not be too far off the mark as to who the key player could be in this contest.
(With PTI inputs)

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