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“This was a non-negotiable game to lose”: Paddy Upton on 2011 World Cup semi-finals

India

India versus Pakistan is considered the mother of all rivalries in the cricketing world. Whenever the two teams lock horns with each other, fans and followers stay glued to the action. It becomes an even bigger event if it is an International tournament.

One such occasion was the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup. The two teams were facing off at the PCA Stadium in Mohali and the stake was a place in the finals. It was a do-or-die match for both teams given the rivalry between the two nations and the stakes in place.

Paddy Upton was the mental conditioning coach of the Indian national team at that time. In a column Upton wrote in the Indian Express, he revealed that it was a “non-negotiable match” to win for the Indian side. He also stated that there was an added political pressure that everyone was aware of, but no one spoke about it.

“There was an additional extraneous political pressure that nobody spoke about, but everybody was acutely aware that if India lost, Pakistan would go to Mumbai and stay at the same Taj Hotel that was a target of the terrorist attacks. So, each of us knew the symbolism of that without saying it. That was not an ideal to allow Pakistan to win and stay at Taj; it didn’t stack up on an energetic level. So, there was that additional pressure that this was a non-negotiable game to lose.”- Upton wrote in his column.

While speaking about the fierce rivalry between the two teams, Upton wrote that the teams were well aware of each other, but the competition had more to do with the fans. In his opinion, the players of the two teams get along very well and there is no animosity between them. He feels that the match was a regular one for the Indian players and they needed no extra motivation to prepare for the game.

Speaking of the match, India won the encounter by 29 runs and progressed to the finals of the tournament. Sachin Tendulkar scored 85 runs and got the Player of the Match award in the crucial semi-final encounter.

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