MANCHESTER: When it comes to the World Cup, no one contest trumps India vs Pakistan, including the final. How else do you explain over 4,00,000 ticket applicants received by the ICC back in February itself? The mother of all cricketing battles, which was under threat of being boycotted due to tensions either side of the border, is finally happening, for the seventh time in a World Cup, in England after two decades.
While Pakistan lead 73-54 overall in one-day internationals, they haven’t beaten India even once in their previous six meetings. Dating back to their first-ever World Cup clash in the year 1992, Pakistan could not get past India even though they lifted the World Cup trophy. And 27 years later, Pakistan continue to search for their first win over India at the biggest cricketing extravaganza.
As we put aside all the cringe-worthy ads, snarky Father’s Day remarks and wait for the action to unfold at the Old Trafford cricket stadium in Manchester on what promises to be a bumper Sunday, we look back at the previous six instances when India and Pakistan have faced each other at the World Cup.
India and Pakistan met for the first time in a World Cup in the 1992 Benson & Hedges World Cup. Imran Khan and Aaqib Javed had tied down India despite some solid batting from Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. It was left to Kapil Dev and a young Sachin Tendulkar to provide the innings some impetus. They scored 60 in eight overs, with Kapil racing to a 26-ball 35, while Tendulkar helped himself to his first World Cup half-century.
Defending 216, Kapil and Manoj Prabhakar reduced Pakistan to 17/2. Javed Miandad and Aamir Sohail rebuilt sluggishly to take the score to 85/2 in 25 overs. With Tendulkar dismissing Sohail and Azhar astutely bringing Prabhakar back to get rid of Saleem Malik, the Pakistani challenge fizzled out. By the time Miandad was yorked by Javagal Srinath, the game was as good as over.
Bangalore goes berserk
In 1996, India and Pakistan met in the World Cup quarterfinal, a match that Wasim Akram oddly opted out of. Navjot Sidhu top-scored with 93, and coupled with Jadeja’s stunning assault on Waqar Younis (his last two overs cost 40), India reached a strong 287 for 8. In reply, Sohail and Saeed Anwar got Pakistan off the blocks and thumped 84 off the first ten overs. Sohail then infamously taunted Venkatesh Prasad after smashing him for four through the covers only to have his off stump rattled next ball. Miandad tried but Pakistan never recovered, meaning their reign as World Champions and Miandad’s three-decade-long career was over.
Prasad takes five, India register a hat-trick
Shortly after a two-Test series in early 1999, India and Pakistan engaged in the Kargil war, and in between the war, the two cricket teams did battle for a third time at a World Cup. Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid added 58 runs for the second wicket to get India a busy start. Azharuddin and Dravid put on another 51 for the next wicket with both batsmen scoring half-centuries to get India 227 for 6. Prasad and Srinath rattled Pakistan’s top-order and Despite Anwar’s gritty 36 off 44 and Inzamam Ul Haq’s enduring 41 off 93, India bowled Pakistan out for 180 and won the match by 47 runs with Prasad finishing with 5/27 which remained his career-best figures.
India and Pakistan played out perhaps the best match of the World Cup 2003. In their first one-day international meeting since June 2000, Anwar’s century lifted Pakistan to 273. In reply, Tendulkar led an assault that would find a special place in the greatest one-day innings of all time, let alone a World Cup. With Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar launched a relentless assault, including an 18-run over belted off Shoaib Akhtar. Nerves keeping him awake the night before the match, Tendulkar sizzled with a 75-ball 98. Akhtar returned to remove Tendulkar later, who was bogged down by cramps but Dravid and Yuvraj Singh finished off the match coolly to hand India their fourth consecutive World Cup win over Pakistan.
Nervy Tendulkar 85 sets up semi-final win
Eight years after his destructive knock in Centurion, Tendulkar was once again in the centre of action. Leading a charmed life, Tendulkar was relieved twice by the third umpire on 23 and dropped on 27, 45, 70. Wahab Riaz removed Virat Kohli and bowled Yuvraj for a duck courtesy a vicious inswinger, but Suresh Raina's 39-ball 36 gave India 260. Pakistan’s muddled approach to chasing under lights ultimately helped the home team extend their World Cup record against their arch-rivals to 5-0. Pakistan veterans Younis Khan and Misbah Ul Haq’s go-slow tactics put pressure on the younger players as India’s bowlers tightened the screws. MS Dhoni admitted after the match that he had misread the pitch and erred in omitting R Ashwin for Ashish Nehra, but the move proved a masterstroke as the left-arm pacer took 2/33 in ten overs.
Kohli ton makes it 6-0
A century from Kohli in India’s opening match of the 2015 World Cup gave the team a total of 300/7. Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan stitched a 129-run stand for the second wicket before the pair of Kohli and Raina added another 110. Sohail Khan picked up a five-wicket-haul and his regular blows kept India at least 30 runs short. Pakistan. Ahmed Shehzad and Haris Sohail kept Pakistan alive with a steady 68-run stand for the second wicket but once both were dismissed, it all went downhill for Pakistan. Misbah remained unbeaten till the end but it was yet another slowish innings considering the steep target. Shami emerged India’s best bowler on the night picking up 4/35.