India -Pakistan is the most anticipated and awaited game when it comes to the ICC tournaments. India taking on Pakistan on 16th of June for the 7th time in the ICC World Cup, fingers crossed so to witness the full game of cricket without any interruption of rains.
There have been so great moments and memories down the lane when we look at this epic clash, every time some new heroes come up with some extraordinary performances and enlights a cricket fan’s experience with enthusiasm and pleasure.
Total there have been 11 encounters between India and Pakistan in WorldCup including longer as well as shorter format, and India has managed to seal a victory on all the occasions. Here are some of the very interesting highlights in this India-Pakistan journey over the World Cups:
1.2003, The Tendulkar Show:
There have been so many great knocks seen in the history of the game, yet the 98 scored by Sachin Tendulkar against Pakistan in 2003 World Cup stands out very special. A match in which Pakistan batted first and put on a massive score of 277 in their first innings courtesy to Saeed Anwar’s 20th international century coming just at the right time.
India required a solid start from the openers and Sachin-Viru provided the same. The six that Sachin hit over squares on the off-side to Shoaib Akhtar is indeed as iconic as Dhoni’s World Cup winning six. That innings from the master blaster provided a platform on which Dravid and Yuvraj partnership of 101 runs sealed the victory to India. What a great game of cricket that was!
2.2007, The T20 World Cup:
After a very disappointing performance for both the teams in 2007 World Cup and an early exit from the Group Stage, but the teams were adamant on performing well here. India and Pakistan faced each other twice then and both of them were highly entertaining encounters.
The league encounter was as dramatic as one could find, India posted a below par 141 which did not seem to be enough on that track. Pakistan was chasing well but started losing wickets in the second half of their innings, the equation for Pakistan came down to 1 required in 2 deliveries with 4 wickets in hands yet somehow India was able to draw the game, and the decider was the bowl-out which was won by India.
The second time these two teams faced each other was in the T20 finals, India batting first again posted 157 thanks to Gambhir’s brilliant 75. The most iconic of the moments were the decision of Dhoni to give the last over to Joginder Sharma instead of the experienced Harbhajan Singh to defend 13 in the final over. India won the championship and this gave birth to the recognition of Dhoni’s extraordinary leadership.
3.2015, The birth of a new era:
The 2011 World Cup victory was the epitome of achievements for Indian Cricket. Then in the next 2 years, a lot of senior members retired, some of them dropped due to poor form and fitness. Retirement of Sachin Tendulkar from international cricket in 2013 meant there was a need for someone to stand up and shoulder the responsibility of Indian batting. And who better than Virat Kohli could have come to the party. India’s first match in World Cup 2015 against Pakistan proved the same. Virat Kohli’s brilliant 107 at his favourite venue Adelaide in Australia set up a 300 plus total nicely for India, which eventually was successfully defended.
Rise of Virat Kohli as the dependable Batsman was seen clearly through this innings. This clash came at a neutral venue for both the sides and India defeated Pakistan for the 6th consecutive time in the World Cup.
4.2016, Virat Kohli the Legend!
The T20 World Cup concluded in India in 2016 had lots of super performances. But one performer that stood out was Virat Kohli. It would not prove wrong to say 2016 was the best year so far in King Kohli’s career.
Out of so many great innings, to mention one is tough. A pure Kohli masterclass came against Pakistan at Eden Gardens. Pakistan scored a mere 113 in their first innings but some fierce bowling by their quickies reduced India to 23-3. But Kohli and Yuvraj steadied the ship for India with their 21 runs stand. Dhoni once again finished the match for India with Kohli not out on 55, a perfect inning on an explicitly slow pitch.
The highlight of this Kohli innings was his celebration on reaching his half-century. His idol the Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was in stands along with his family to enjoy the game. Kohli on reaching his 50 pointed his bat to the Master and bowed down paying him a tribute, what a sight to watch for all the cricket fans!