New Delhi, Mar. 24 (ANI): Lawmakers cut across party lines on Thursday to wish the Indian cricket team best of luck in the World Cup quarterfinal match against Australia that is being played at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, today.
At the time of the filing of this report, Australia, which had won the toss, had completed their 50 overs and scored a challenging 260 for the loss of six wickets. India has to score 261 to win the match.
For Australia, skipper Ricky Ponting scored a combative century, quashing allegations and charges that he was out of form and ought to exit from international cricket. It was his fifth World Cup century and 30th overall.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin scored 53, while David Hussey chipped in with a 30 plus score.
For India, off-spinner R. Ashwin, fast bowler Zaheer Khan and left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh took the wickets to fall.
Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh expressed the hope that batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar score his hundredth international century.
"India would definitely win today and our special wishes are for Sachin Tendulkar to score a century as he is short of one century to complete his hundred centuries. Every Indian's best wishes are with him and I firmly believe that he would achieve a new record and make India win," he said.
Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said Tendulkar's century was not as important as the team's victory.
"No, Sachin scoring century is not important, winning of our team is important. Many a times we concentrate on century, but we don't concentrate on winning (as) the team. According to my understanding, all of them should win and not one man getting century and another getting more wickets; that's not important," Moily said.
Federal Statistics And Programme Implementation Minister M S Gill on the other hand appreciated Tendulkar for his achievements.
"One thing I noticed is the way Sachin is focused, there are very few players like him. It has been so long, almost 20-25 years, but he is calm and focused. I have to appreciate him," he said.
Some lawmakers rued their inability to watch the match even as they wished the Indian team luck.
"India would definitely win, but as the Finance Bill is to be discussed today, so we would be sitting in the Rajya Sabha till late in the evening. But later if we get second innings then I would watch Sachin and other players," said Prakash Javadekar, national spokesman of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"I can't forecast the future, but my heart says that India should win so that we can play our next match in Mohali and play the final in Mumbai," added Kapil Sibal, Minister of Telecommunications, Information Technology and Human Resource Development.
India will be looking to beat Australia in the World Cup for the first time in 24 years when the two top ranked teams clash. India has a 5-7 win-loss record on the ground and worryingly have not won their last four matches.
Batsmen Virender Sehwag (327 runs at a strike rate of 125.28) and Sachin Tendulkar (326 runs with eight sixes so far) have led the way for India. They lead in terms of strike rate for opening stands (109.9) and run rate for power plays 1 and 2 (6.4 and 6.0 respectively)
Left handed batsman Yuvraj Singh (284 at an average of 94.66) has notched up one century and three fifties.
Bowler Zaheer Khan is the tournament's second highest wicket taker so far with 17 wickets. (ANI)