February 13, 2015

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) When India plays Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup, it's no cliche when both captains say they're not looking beyond their first game of the tournament.

World Cup organizers are tipping Indo-Pak VI to draw the biggest television audience for a cricket match when the teams meet Sunday in Adelaide in their opening games in Pool B.

The uneasy neighbors politically also have a long rivalry on the cricket field, with Pakistan leading overall in their limited-overs meetings. But defending champion India has a 100-percent record so far in their five World Cup clashes.

The great Sachin Tendulkar, who played for India in all five of those wins over Pakistan back to 1992 - the last time the World Cup was jointly staged by Australia and New Zealand - said the atmosphere was intense and couldn't be compared with any other game.

Tendulkar recalled a 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan in his autobiography, saying he'd waited for the showdown for a full year after the schedule was unveiled and couldn't sleep for several nights before the match.

''The nation would brook no failure and for many of our fans this was the true final,'' wrote Tendulkar, who scored 18,426 runs in 463 limited-overs internationals. ''It really did not matter to them what happened in the rest of the tournament.''

India won that match by six wickets but lost the final to Australia. India got a measure of revenge by beating Australia in the quarterfinals in 2011, then held of Pakistan in the semifinals in Mohali before beating Sri Lanka in the final at Mumbai, where Tendulkar finally added the World Cup title - at his sixth attempt - to his long and glittering list of cricket accomplishments.

India's dominance of the World Cup matches against Pakistan has confounded critics. The two countries did not meet in the first four editions of the World Cup. In 1992, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, an 18-year-old Tendulkar scored a half-century to propel India to a 43-run win. Though Pakistan lost that match, it went on to win the title.

Tendulkar, who scored a record 2,278 runs in 45 World Cup matches, is the only common denominator in those results - averaging 78 and posting three half-centuries, including a high of 98 in that 2003 match. But he retired in 2013, leaving India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to continue the legacy.

Both teams have been conscious to emphasize the rivalry between players is on the field, and there's no animosity outside the boundary.

Yet both teams were publicly silent Friday, holding closed practice sessions as fans from both sides started flooding into Adelaide. Hotels and flights on the weekend were fully booked, and anticipation was growing.

Pakistan trained at the Adelaide Oval, keeping players away from the media glare in the wake of reports that eight players, including star allrounder Shahid Afridi, had been sanctioned by team management for breaking a curfew last weekend.

Afridi was part of the group at practice, with the attention now on the game. Both captains were due to hold news conferences on Saturday, when the World Cup kicks off with New Zealand hosting Sri Lanka in Christchurch and Australia taking on England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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