For netizens, semifinal is no less than WW III

MUMBAI: It is no surprise that on the eve of the World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan, the internet is filled with fans on both sides taking potshots at each other in the form of tweets, status messages and jokes.Already on Twitter and Facebook, the Mohali match has been renamed World War III. And while the first ball has not yet been bowled, over 1,700 members of Cricket Fans on Facebook have begun agonizing over what would happen if the game ended in a tie. Those seemingly more educated about the rules and regulations have taken it upon themselves to explain concepts such as OOPSE (One Over Per Side Eliminator).There is little denying that cricket is a religion and Sachin a god in this country. One joke doing the rounds on the social networks goes: Afridi (joining his hands in prayer): God, please help us win the semi final.

God: Sorry, I open the batting for India. Also, there is no denying that in India cricket and politics can be found in the same arena. Certain sections of a social network have begun calling the Mohali match The Great Cricket Diplomacy Meet, alluding to PM Manmohan Singh’s invitation to Pakistan’s PM Yousaf Raza Gilani to watch the game together.A discussion that ran into over 330 comments on the Prime Minister’s Facebook page debated whether his move was in the interest of the nation. ”How many times will you get stabbed in the back?” one poster asked. Others praised the move while alluding to an Indian victory in the same vein. ”Great diplomatic idea. Good sportsman spirit means acknowledging victories without humiliating opponents.”And then there are those that believe India’s fate in this World Cup depends on whether Captain M S Dhoni’s wife continues with her high-profile fasts for her husbands success. Indian netizens have been spending time on Sakshi Dhoni’s social-networking fan pages, pleading with the 24-year-old to continue fasting and to “plz remain wid dhoni bhaiya during d match”.On the whole, the match has ensured that India-Pakistan and Mohali turned into top trending topics on Twitter.

Relatedly, a comScore report said that World Cup 2011 has created the highest volume of traffic over 13 million users for cricket sites in India. ”Across the globe, fans are turning to the internet for real-time updates, results and live-streaming of matches,” said Joe Nguyen, comScore vice president for Southeast Asia. Reports by Google Trends show that the maximum cricket-related searches around 13% — came from Mumbai, with Bangalore and New Delhi notching 8% each. Interestingly, the most popular search phrase is India-Pakistan semifinal fixed.Then there are cricket-themed websites, like a newly-launched virtual community that allows social networkers to don the hats of Sidhu and Harsha Bhogle and post ball-by-ball gyaan on the forum. – TOI