When India take on Pakistan, tempers are flared, the emotions are heightened and the game transcends the 22-yard strip and spills over to the millions following the game. There is euphoria, there is excitement and there are apprehensions, and more often than not, the side which manages to control their nerves on the day takes the cake.
Ahead of the much-anticipated India vs Pakistan match at Manchester, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram has asked fans on either side of the border to calm down and treat the game like a normal cricket match. It has to be mentioned here that passions run high and the ongoing political tension between both the countries is extremely high. However, the former fast bowler believes that the game should be enjoyed and it should not be used as a tool to further inflame the situation.
"This can't be bigger," Wasim told AFP on Friday. "India and Pakistan playing at the World Cup with over a billion audience is the biggest thing in cricket, so my message to both sets of fans to enjoy it and stay calm.
'One team will win, one team will lose'
"One team will win, one team will lose, so stay graceful and do not take this as a war. Those who project this match as war are not true cricket fans," he further added.
The Old Trafford clash is a sell-out, and despite the inclement weather tickets now for sale on the black market are at reported prices of around £2,500 ($3,150). Wasim confessed that there is a lot of pressure of an India-Pakistan match, let alone a World Cup fixture.
"Who can realise the pressure more than me?" said Wasim. "I used to look forward to a match against India because it brings the best out of the players from both the sides," he said.
Although the former Pakistan captain concedes that India are the stronger side, he believes Pakistan can still spring a surprise as they did in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
"Yes, India have a strong batting and bowling line up but Pakistan can match them. When it comes to India and Pakistan game the team that handles the pressure well wins the day," he said.
Virat Kohli-led India have five points from three matches after beating England and South Africa, while their match against New Zealand was washed out on Thursday.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have lost against the West Indies and Australia and shocked hosts England, while their match against Sri Lanka was washed out.