Sports is a battle of skills for players and the battle of supremacy for fans, but when it comes to big sports rivalries such as Real Madrid-Barcelona, Manchester United- Liverpool, or India-Pakistan, it’s doesn’t remain battle of supremacy for fans, it’s a war without guns and they want their team to win at any cost.
Don’t get fooled when players/commentators say you that India – Pakistan is just another cricket match for them because it’s not. The build-up to an Indo-Pak cricket game generates enough heat between fans that it also spills on the ground. Such is the pressure of the match that the ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar once told that he had sleepless nights before India-Pak match in 2003 World Cup.
India-Pak match has all the makings of a classic. The much awaited clash in previous encounters had witnessed many unforgettable and controversial moments for cricket fans.
One of the funniest world cup Cricketing moment was when Javed Miandad imitated Kiran More during 1992 World Cup encounter. When Javed Miandad was batting, More consistently chirped while the bowler was bowling and incessantly appealed after the ball. Javed Miandad stopped the bowler in his stride and then had a first verbal confrontation with More and then he complained to the umpire but More didn’t stop. In the next ball, Javed Miandad tried to hit the ball but couldn’t find the gap. Animated More chirped again and then Miandad lost his control. Miandad who ran back to the crease and started to jump to imitate More leaving everyone in splits. India had the last laugh in that match as India easily won the match by 43 runs.
Who can forget the drama between Aamer Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad during the quarterfinals of World Cup ’96? Those were days when Pakistan used to have the upper hand on India. Chasing 287, Pakistan smashed 84 runs in 10 over which sent Indian crowd in a state of shock. After a smashing half-century, Aamer Sohail smashed Venkatesh Prasad towards the extra cover boundary and pointed towards it with the raised bat as if to command Prasad to go and fetch that ball. The very next ball Prasad smashed the wickets of Sohail and gave an animated send off using choicest of abuse asking him to go home. Look at the video to relive that moment.
The lesser know magic moment of India-Pak 1996 encounter was the innings of Ajay Jadeja. That inning from Jadeja made him an overnight star in India. Jadeja scored 45 runs in just 25 balls, hitting Pakistani bowlers all over the park. Jadeja had a strike rate of 180 which was considered brilliant those days. Waqar Younis was considered King of death overs, Jadeja took him to cleaners and with the help of Kumble took India from 236/6 at the start of 47th over to 287/8 in 50 overs which turned out to be a match-winning total.
Another famous moment in Indo-Pak cricket is “Baap Baap Hota hai” moment.
A precursor to the “Baap Baap Hota hai moment” was the famous encounter between Sachin and Sohaib in the 2003 World Cup. Both were at the peak of their career and contest between them could have potentially decided the tie. Sachin Tendulkar was in no mood to give even an inch to Sohaib Akhtar. When Sohaib banged one ball short, Sachin shuffled slightly and used his fast hands to slash the ball towards backward point for that iconic six. That six turned the tide in favour of India. That over cost 18 runs to Pakistan and till date, it remains Sohaib Akhtar’s most expensive spell in ODI cricket.
India won the World Cup after 28 years in 2011 but the match that generated the most interest was the 2011 World Cup Semifinal. It was a highly charged match. The Prime Ministers of two countries along with top political leaders and celebrities were in attendance to witness the drama that unfolded that day. Dropping Sachin once was considered greatest cricketing sin at that point of time but in that match, Sachin was dropped 4 times. Yes, you read it correctly, four times. It caused huge controversy. Allegations of match-fixing were hurled. A British journalist Ed Hawkins in his book also claimed that the match was fixed. It created huge uproar in Pakistan. Ex-PCB chief Ijaj Bhatt also demanded an inquiry in the matter. No India-Pak world cup cricket match was mired by this much controversy. In the end, ICC refuted the claims that it was investigating Indo-Pak 2011 WC Semifinal match and the matter was put to rest but the doubt over that match still remains and knowing that many Pakistan players were in bed with bookies, you can never be sure that the match was not fixed.
India has been the daddy of Pakistan in previous six ODI World Cup encounters, so it’s not surprising that ICC chose ‘Father’s Day’ for this much awaited World Cup clash between India and Pakistan. Let’s see if rain god can save Pakistan this Sunday or the humiliation of 7-0 awaits them.