T20 World Cup 2021: India vs Pakistan, the rivalry intensified

The most dynamic game of the tournament will be played on the 24th of October in which India takes on Pakistan for the sixth time in a T20 World Cup.

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The T20I World Cup is finally underway after facing several challenges in these tough times. Originally the tournament was all set to take place in 2020, but due to COVID-19 complications, it was postponed to 2021. This year too it was delayed and then shifted from India to UAE, after a severe second wave in India. On the 17th of October, it finally began with the first match for the qualifying teams, that will fight for four places in the super 12 stage.

The most competitive stage of the tournament starts on the 23rd of October, in which Australia takes on South Africa. However, the most dynamic game of the tournament will be played on the 24th of October in which India takes on Pakistan for the sixth time in a T20 World Cup. The rivalry between India and Pakistan does not have the history as that of England and Australia, yet such is the passion for the game in these two countries that it often dilutes the historical significance of the Ashes rivalry. What spices up the rivalry is the recent political developments and disagreements between the two nations, which led to a ban on any bilateral series between these two nations. As a result, people now only get to witness this epic rivalry in ICC-organized tournaments like the continental Asia Cup, Champions Trophy, or the World Cups of different formats.

India has had an edge over its adversaries in the ICC tournaments for a long time. They have won all the matches played in the respective ODI as well as the T20 world cup. However, in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, Pakistan humiliated India in the final to win the tournament. This has rekindled the fire, as the Pakistani fans never miss out on opportunities to remind India of the loss suffered. Although India took one back by defeating Pakistan in the 2019 ICC ODI World Cup, there is nothing more atrocious than a defeat in the final, and that too against Pakistan.

With the change in the format, the mentalities change and so does the record of remaining unbeaten over the years in this format. Yes, India has met Pakistan five times at the T20 world cup, and every time they have managed to rub their opponent’s noses to the ground. Such has been the one-sidedness of the encounter that Pakistan has only once crossed the 150+ mark in 5 innings against India. That too came in the 2007 final where they (Pakistan) were defeated by 5 runs. Since the match is just around the corner, in this article we will look at the previous encounters between the two nations in T20 World Cups.

14th September 2007 | Durban, SA | Match Tied – India win the bowl outs

Image Credit: ESPNcricinfo

In the very inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup, India met Pakistan in a group stage match, which couldn’t find its natural conclusion. Losing the toss, India was asked to bat first and they could only manage to score a total of 141 runs in their 20 overs with Pakistani bowlers picking key wickets in crucial intervals. The second inning turned out to be no different. India too picked up regular wickets in the middle of the inning and Pakistan was reduced to 11 required off 5. With Misbah still on crease who hit 2 fours in the last over to reduce the margin to 1 run required of the last ball. India inflicted a runout on the last ball to send the match into a bowl out. The rules were simple and tantamount to penalties in football. The bowler had to hit the wicket, sans the batsman like a goalkeeper in football guarding it. Indians made 3 hits out of 3, while Pakistani bowlers missed the target every time. As a result, India won the match.

24th September 2007 | Johannesburg, SA | India won by 5 runs

Image Credit: ESPNcricinfo

After losing the group stage match against India, Pakistan made a great comeback to reach the final of the tournament. While India just kept up their good work to cruise to the finals. India won the toss and chose to bat first and the decision did not turn out to be the right one, as they lost some early wickets. Gautam Gambhir rose to the occasion to play a fabulous knock of 75 that took his team to a respectable total of 157. The Pakistani batsmen too fell early, but Imran Nazir and Younis Khan steadied their ship, while Misbah once again played the role of the finisher. Pakistan required 13 runs off the last over, and MS Dhoni handed the ball to a novice Joginder Sharma. When Misbah dispatched the ball for a six bringing down the equation to 6 required of 4, everyone thought it was over. But India vs Pakistan matches are seldom like that and that is what happened when trying to be cheeky, Misbah scooped the ball to fine leg where Sreesanth took a clean catch to win India the world cup.

30th September 2012 | Colombo, SL | India won by 8 wickets

Image Credit: Bleacher Report

The two teams met in the T20 world cup after 5 years and everyone was anticipating something similar to the previous close encounters. It was not to be though, as the Indian team had gone through a great deal of transition in this period and it was shown on the field when India bundled up Pakistan for just 128 runs in their 19.4 overs. Then they chased it with relative ease as Virat Kohli, a sensation in the making, stroked the bowlers all around for his 78 runs in 61 balls to win his side the match with 3 overs to spare.

21st March 2014 | Mirpur, Bangladesh | India won by 7 wickets

Image Credit: India today

Two years down the line and the story remained the same if not worsened. India sticking to their prowess in chasing, won the toss and asked Pakistan to bat first. Owing to some great economic bowling of Amit Mishra and Ravindra Jadeja, Pakistani batsmen could only put up a score of 130 in their 20 overs and lost 7 wickets in doing so. The second inning was very similar to the last encounter. With openers giving a great start, the job was finished by Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli as they both remained unbeaten at 35 and 36 respectively. They finished the inning with 9 balls remaining.

19th March 2016 | Kolkata, India | India won by 6 wickets

Image Credit: ESPNcricinfo

It took Pakistan almost a decade to put up a fighting effort against India in the T20 world cup. The original script was the same, as Pakistan struggled with the bat in hand. This time was more dismal than the previous occasions as they could only muster a score of 118 runs in their 18 overs of a rain-reduced match. Their bowlers however put up a great fight, with Mohammed Amir and Shami making a comeback to the team in this tournament, giving India some early blows in the form of Dhawan and Rohit. It was once again none other than Virat Kohli the man with the golden touch who anchored the inning as well as scored a fabulous 55 of just 37 balls to cruise his team to victory in the 16th over.

Overall review:

Keeping aside the head-to-head record, which shows landslide domination of Indians especially in recent years, the two teams are miles apart when their overall performance is taken into consideration. Pakistan has played a total of 129 T20 matches in total, out of which they have managed to win only 77 matches. They have lost 45, which means that their winning percentage is a meagre 59.7% in comparison to 63.5% of India who has played just 115 matches. India has managed to win 73 matches so far and has a healthy winning percentage of 63.5 in the format.

After their two sensational wins in the warm-up matches, India is the hot favourite to win this tournament and a victory against Pakistan in the opening match will set a perfect foothold for them to build upon. While Pakistan on the other hand will try to do their best to spoil the party for Indians and start their campaign with a win too.

The game of cricket is too unpredictable for one to guarantee the victory of one side, but what can be guaranteed is an enormous amount of fun and entertainment.

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