NDTV's Vikram Chandra is in Mohali and is microblogging on the build-up to the India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal match in Mohali
12.03 am: Kind friend finally confirms that he has been able to arrange tickets for the Mohali match.
12.04 am: Cue wild whooping and cheering
12.05 am: Quick check on the weather report. Still raining in Mohali. I do hope it clears because not only would the trip be a waste; but also, Pakistan gets an edge.
12:15 am: Warned that we should leave early for Mohali, because of the extra security checks. Time to sleep.
6.05 am: Alarm rings
6.05 am: Alarm silenced. ZZZZ
6.06 am: REM
6.45 am: Wassat? Oh Christ..
7.15 am: Out of the door. It's crucial to beat the early morning Delhi traffic.
7.30 am: The good news is that it has stopped raining in Mohali and the sun is out. Here is the forecast:Â partly cloudy sky expected today
Expected Max temp - 32 deg
Min temp -Â Â Â Â Â 18 deg
Max Humidity (%) -Â Â 70
Min Humidity (%) -Â Â Â 30
Wind Speed - Strong at the moment but Light breeze expected during the day
7:35 am: I hope the rain stays away. There is a reserve day, but if both days washed out then Pakistan goes through. Also, if we have a sharply curtailed match, then we need to remember that Pakistan is the T20 world champion.
7.45 am: Other implications of the latest weather report: overcast conditions and/or a strong breeze would help the seamers - it may benefit Pakistan more? Strong sun would dry up the outfield, which is good. High humidity is interesting -- will it contribute to dew? And if so, should the team winning the toss bowl first? But given the pressure, and the history at Mohali, chasing isn't going to be easy either.
8.10 am: This is a seriously good road. 6 lane expressway. Traffic zipping along nicely.
8.16 am: And then you can go from first world to third in a matter of seconds as an overladen tractor trundles down the wrong side of the road.
8.30 am: Here are latest reports from my colleagues on the ground in Mohali. Attention divided between the cricket and politics of it all, but cricket winning for now.
8.55 am: Anjali Doshi reporting from outside the stadium. As you can imagine, security is very tight.
9.20 am: I jinxed the road. The stretch between Panipat and Karnal isn't all that great.
9.30 am: As you may have guessed by now, I'm bunking work today for the match. I suspect productivity is going to crash post 2 pm. What are your plans?
10:00 am: If both India and Pakistan play to full potential today, India will win. The only problem is the pressure! What should Dhoni tell his men to calm them down?
*Pakistan is a much lower ranked team. India will beat them more often than not.
*India has won most crucial matches against Pakistan in the recent past
*In the 20 years since the Sharjah days, India has risen as a nation while Pakistan has hit a bad patch. Frankly speaking, there is no real national rivalry any more
*Even in cricket, the real rivalry over the past decade has been with Australia, not Pakistan, and we just beat them
*The cricket rivalry of the future is with South Africa, not Pak, and they aren't around anymore.
10:05 am: It's just a game!
10:06 am: Whom are you kidding? C'mon Indiaaaaaa!
10.10 am: Not a cloud in the sky. The weatherman says there is now no chance of rain in Mohali. So that's one thing less to worry about. Which only leaves Afridi, Akhtar, Younis...
10.39 am: Getting frantic calls after rumours that the stadium will be sealed by noon and no one will be allowed in after that. Seems to be just a rumour. I hope!
10.45 am: Fantastic scenes from all parts of the country as fans cheer for India! Prayers in temples, mosques, churches, and gurdwaras across the nation!! Take a look at some of the scenes.
11.10 am: Just passed Ambala. No time to stop for food, sadly
11.15 am: There suddenly seem to a lot of Mercs on the road. I wonder where THEY are going?! Or is that a silly question?
11.20 am: Meanwhile the high profile celebs have started to arrive at Chandigarh. The Pawars have landed. So have the Mallyas.
11.22 am: Some top industrialists are upset that their pvt jets aren't being allowed to land and park. Some of them are slumming it and flying commercial. Others are driving up.
12.15 pm: Entering Chandigarh now. As always, when returning to an Indian city after a few years, stunned by the changes!
12.20 pm: Twitter full of nothing but the match. Check out the buzz here (insert link)
12.29 pm: Yuvraj Singh (@yuvsingh09) had this to say: "Request all people in the stadium to inspire us by the singing the national anthem loudly jai hind good night". I suspect there could be hearing damage today!
12.34 pm: Crowds of people lining the roundabouts and the sides of the road in Chandigarh. I wonder who they are waiting for? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? The Pakistani Prime Minister? Sachin??
1 pm: All set to go! C'mon India!!
1.45 pm: Just a few minutes to go for the toss. I wonder what the best strategy would be.
1.50 pm: Stadium looking quite full right now. Lots and lots of blue. But many Indian fans also clutching small Pakistani flags. Interesting.
2.03 pm: India batting first after winning the toss. Do you agree with that? History would tend to support that decision. And if we get runs on the board, can try to put pressure on Pakistani batting lineup.
2.15 pm: Those team selections will create quite a debate! Dropping Ashwin for Nehra is a brave decision, though this is supposed to be a seaming track. And Shoaib is denied one last tilt at India .
2.25 pm: PM meeting the team. Can you imagine him saying "Win it for me, boys! The country will forget all those scams!!"
2:30 pm: Sachin and Sehwag walk out to cheers. Over to the cricket now!
2.43 pm: That start by Viru brings crowd to its feet. Literally. Can't see a thing!
2.49 pm: Five fours in the over and a free hit! Rocky start by their star bowler!
2.54 pm: Ok my battery is dying so I will go silent for a while and enjoy the cricket! Here is NDTV's ball by ball commentary. And remember to add your own comments to the chat.
3.30 pm: Two moments of high drama here. The crowd now loves the third umpire and the whole concept of reviews!! Sachin survives. Twice!
4.06 pm: Ok so now my phone battery IS almost dead. So unless I miraculously find a charger; this is my last post! Have fun, all! May the best team, ie India, win!!
Midnight: There are times when a battery failure is all for the best! Enabled me to enjoy the cricket! A great match in front of a great crowd, and played in great spirit! And, of course, a fantastic win.
I can tell you there were lots of very glum faces in the stadium at half time; most of the experts thought 260 was way too low, and they all felt that Dhoni had made an awful mistake by picking Nehra instead of Ashwin. As it happens, they were certainly wrong on the first count; and Nehra made them eat their words on the second count too!
Chandigarh is singing and dancing with flags in hand till the wee hours; I bet those scenes are being repeated all across the country.
Now for Sri Lanka! And the end of a 28-year drought.