India has hosted the World Cup thrice. On all the occasions they have reached the semifinal. Twice earlier they failed to reach the final, can they be third time lucky!!
2011 World Cup saw India emerge as the favorite, for the first time ever in the history of World Cup. True to the analysis India is in the semifinal and just one win away from their third World Cup final.
Even the opposition is probably one of the most desired team in World Cup matches. Pakistan has lost all previous four World Cup matches, and in fact many Indian fans wanted them in the final against India, to assure that India wins the 2011 World Cup.
Such is the confidence of India and Indian fans against Pakistan. Unless the World Cup full of upsets and surprises, has another one up on its sleeve, India will register its fifth World Cup victory over Pakistan.
Yet, the major threat is no more Pakistan in the semifinal match. The threat comes from the previous two World Cups as host. On both the occasions, India reached the semifinal as strong contender, and yet surprised all by losing the semifinals.
In 1987, when India hosted the World Cup for the first-ever time and World Cup came outside England for the first time ever, defending champion India was playing the way a front runner should. They faced a comparatively weaker English side. Yet, Mike Gatting and Co batted India out of the World Cup in the semifinal.
In 1996, India played Sri Lanka who has reached their first-ever semifinal in World Cup. Despite the powerful show with undefeated run to semifinal, Lankans were not expected to create an upset. Yet, they successfully did that and Kolkata-led India went mad with the thought of inevitable defeat. For the first-ever time in World Cup history umpires had to to award the match to Sri Lanka, citing disruption as reason.
In 2011, India plays its neighbour and old foes, on and off the field to break the semifinal jinx. This is their 5th semifinal and ironically, on other two occasions when they have played the semifinal outside India they have reached the Final too.
In 1983 they won in England, in 2003 they lost to Australia in South Africa. But, the failures of 1987 and 1996 will surely hurt. Can India be third time lucky to break the semifinal jinx at home!!