hile relations between nuclear-armed neighbours Pakistan and India are tense off pitch, some fans and cricket greats hope the Champions Trophy will bring the nations closer.

Come Wednesday, Indians will be cheering for a Pakistan win against Australia in the Group A clash of the Champions Trophy in South Africa, a victory that could also propel India to the semi-finals.

If Pakistan wins at Centurion, arch-rivals India -- currently third in their group -- may sneak through to the semi-final on points.

"It is interesting. The whole of India will be praying for a Pakistan win for a change," said former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja.

"I think it's a God-given opportunity for both the countries and with Indian fans praying for a Pakistan win, I hope that both the countries take this opportunity to come close to each other."