Pakistan versus India: And the jinx continues…

Published: February 16, 2015
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Members of India's cricket team celebrate after an electronic review confirmed the dismissal of Pakistan's batsman Umar Akmal (3rd R), caught by wicket keeper Mahendra Dhoni, during their Cricket World Cup match in Adelaide, February 15, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan's spin bowler Shahid Afridi gestures as Shikar Dhawan gains his ground during the Pool B 2015 World Cup match between Pakistan and India at the Adelaide Oval on February 15, 2015. PHOTO: AFP Members of India's cricket team celebrate after an electronic review confirmed the dismissal of Pakistan's batsman Umar Akmal (3rd R), caught by wicket keeper Mahendra Dhoni, during their Cricket World Cup match in Adelaide, February 15, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Well it was 8am that the subcontinent started to get abuzz with the excitement surrounding the clash between Pakistan and India in the World Cup. There always is a different kind of excitement whenever the two teams face off.

Sometimes it ends in player’s houses being attacked in India and sometimes it ends in brawls in Sydney. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is certain – there are a lot of emotions involved in the clash of the titans of the subcontinent. (I highly doubt that Pakistan can be called a titan as of today but it sounds catchy nonetheless)

It all started in 1992, when Pakistan faced India for the first time in a World Cup match. The result, as we are all well aware, favoured the Indians as the legendary Sachin Tendulkar smashed 54 to ensure that India give a target of 217, which although is a simple target to achieve but Pakistan found it extremely hard and squandered Aamir Sohail’s brilliant 62 to fall short and lose the match by 43 runs.

The fact that Imran Khan and his men lifted the World Cup that year seemed to heal the wound caused by the loss to India. However, the same fate was not awarded to Pakistan in the following World Cups.

Facing India again in the quarter final of the 1996 World Cup at the Chinnaswammy Stadium in Bangalore, Pakistan yet again faltered and lost the match by 39 runs as Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble both took three wickets each to put an end to Pakistan hopes of winning against their arch rivals.

In 1999, Pakistan boasted arguably the best starting XI that has ever been assembled under one umbrella with the likes of Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Inzamamul Haq, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq in the prime of their careers and the stage was set to bring the cup home. However, even though Pakistan reached the final against Steve Waugh’s men, they failed to do the one thing that their country demanded of them – beat India.

At Old Trafford in the Super Sixes stage, the arch rivals met in their third consecutive World Cup meeting but regardless of the greats who had donned on the green shirts, the result was the same. India defeated Pakistan by 47 runs as the men in green failed to reply to a manageable score of 228. The top order collapsed faster than a stack of dominoes with only Inzamam scoring 41 – the highest from the Pakistanis.

Our best team withered and failed when the gigantic task of outplaying India was put on their shoulders yet again.

It was 3-0 to India and patience of the Pakistanis back home was being tested.

Entering the new millennium, the ‘cornered tigers’ started losing their form and the last remaining remnants of the 1992 squad finally faded into the darkness of retirement.

Pakistan entered yet another World Cup in 2003, and fate had it that they would face India yet again. The pressure intensified and both the countries started preparing for the gigantic clash. Hands were lifted in prayers and a nation of 180 million had their fingers crossed with the hope that for once Pakistan would beat India in a World Cup match.

However, India made it 4-0 and won the match by six wickets to defuse any ambitions that the Pakistani fans had in their minds.

The 2011 World Cup saw the two giants meet in the semi-final of the 2011 World Cup but the scenario was completely different with Pakistan going in as the underdogs and India going in as favourites.

India had assembled a world class team with MS Dhoni at the wheel, and adding to the fact that Tendulkar was playing his last World Cup, there was no room for error for the men in blue. As per the expectations from the Indian line up, the former 1983 champions did not falter, and not only did they defeat Pakistan to make it 5-0, they also lifted the World Cup and were crowned as the champions of 2011.

Now what happened yesterday between Pakistan and India was just another tale of Pakistan losing out to their rivals in the World Cups. India can continue its bragging of six victories against Pakistan’s none. However, this time, the expectations were different.

Even though every Pakistani fan wanted their team to win, deep down everyone knew that the form that India are in and the various problems plaguing the Pakistan team, there was only a fool’s hope that Pakistan would triumph.

And as expected, Pakistan made sure that the Indian ‘hoodoo’ stayed intact and lost the game by 76 runs as the middle order collapsed to the misery of the fans who were hoping beyond all hope that their team could surprise this time and end their long wait of a win against their arch rivals.

What really bothers the fans is not the result, but the fact that Pakistan does not even try to play a competitive game is quite frustrating for many.

Starting with the dropped catches to the simply ridiculous shot selection in batting, Pakistan went beyond their limits to ensure that India does not find it difficult to beat them. Virat Kohli was awarded two chances as Umar Akmal’s buttery fingers let slip the opportunity to stop him scoring his century, and in matches like these, opportunities are rare and have to be taken when they arise. However, Pakistan squandered these opportunities and allowed a run chase of 301 to be given.

Given Pakistan’s track record in chasing, 300 seemed a humungous task and rightly so as the men in green failed to even come close to the total with only skipper Misbahul Haq standing solely on the pitch when all his partners seemed to have vanished.

Pakistan lost three wickets in less than eight balls to allow Afridi to come in, but as was expected, Afridi lived up to his expectations of not being consistent and chose his signature style of getting dismissed – playing an unplayable ball and pulling it regardless.

Fingers can be pointed very easily but that is not the question. The match seemed lost well before the players even arrived on the pitch.

Many theories have emerged with people laying the blame on Narendra Modi’s phone call to his Pakistani counterpart, while others blame the betting that is involved whenever the two nations meet.

We can never know for sure what the reason is but whatever it is, it is beyond the acceptance of the Pakistani fans who have waited for more than two decades to see their team win against India in the World Cup.

Regardless of the result and the disappointment of the fans, it is India who had the last laugh and now they can start making another advertisement of ‘Kab Phorenge?’ and even though it hits us right in the heart, no one else is to blame except ourselves and the foundations on which our sporting boards stand.

Had we only played ‘cricket’, the jinx would have ended in the 90’s, courtesy of the immense talent in the Pakistan squad, but neither then nor now is the issue of the talent – it just is something way bigger to comprehend and understand.

For now, we have to sadly and unwillingly accept what the facts rub in our face – India has defeated us six times and has all the bragging rights for the next four years at least.

Taimoor Siddiqui

Taimoor Siddiqui

A Sub editor at The Express Tribune’s Sports Desk and an avid Liverpool fan. He tweets @mohdtaimoor (twitter.com/mohdtaimoor)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Excalibur007

    Pakistan is blessed with a good set of biwlers. The pakistan batting made a mountain out of a mile hill. Indian bowlers do not have same pent ration and skill except Shamil and Ashwin. They were more disciplined and managed to dry up the runs which built the pressure on pakistan batsmen. Pakistan should not read too much into this defeat and try to qualify from this group. Recommend

  • Critical

    You are spot on one fact “Pakistan would have won if they had played cricket”…

    Pakistanis attitude should change that this is just a game…not war….When the “mauka” ad was launched in a facebook video..there were lots of Pakistanis complaining that India was taunting them unsportively..but today there was another ad where South Africans taunt Indians by gifting a firecracker box…..Thats how sports rivalry must be…Be aggressive on the pitch not off it….

    Just when Pakistanis were about to lose,twitter was flooded with “match fixing” conspiracy theories,RAW,Mossad angle….Honestly,I dont know Pakistani players have the heart to play when they are stamped with “gaddar” title everytime they lose….

    As Bill Shankly said “If you didnt support when we lose,dont support when we win”….

    Lastly I saw a tweet which I wish to share…Pakistanis know 4 results for their matches
    1.Pakistan won
    2.Washed off
    3.Tie
    4.Match fixing…Recommend

  • Prashant

    I cannot understand what good are players like Afridi doing? I wanted to see a match of the kind that happened at Chinnaswamy in 1996, the knocks of Jadeja and Aamir will never be forgotten, this one is just for the stats and not for memory.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    Relax. Its just a game.
    Dhoni said it right when he said India will not have this record forever. Pakistan will correct it.Recommend

  • Feroz

    Winning and losing is a part of every Sport, why make it a larger than life issue.Recommend

  • Rakib

    The tweet reproduced by you is most apt. Pak psyche is baffling. A Pakistani would not bat an eye lid in suspecting his very own people from the Prime Minister (Modi called him, you see) to purchasable players, of being part of game-fixing rather than accept that the players were not good enough on the given day.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    This isn’t directed at the blogger but people need to relax about the commercial. It was excellent and didn’t hit below the belt. Take a chill pill.Recommend

  • Javed Iqbal

    Don’t know when will we accept that we are having a weak team where we are not sure of our opening, middle order, keeping or even bowling combination now, Not sure when did we last win ODI series and against which team. We are still experimenting in WC even so result will remain the same.Recommend

  • glassyman

    @columnist is it difficult to acknowledge the fact that the other team played well…… that’s too much to ask huhRecommend

  • Vilander

    At 6-0 ( 10-0 with wt20 added) it starts to become interesting, honestly i think pak can beat ind any day, just that if its a World cup or world t20 game they seem to be under too much pressure to play well. India is a bit more chilled about cricket than Pak thats the reason they do better when it matters.Recommend

  • Milind A

    Honestly, it was Pakistan or Pakistanis like Imran Khan, Majid Khan, Miandad etc who raised up the stakes in India-Pak clashes, through jingoism, bravado or religious fever (Majid Khan said playing with India was jihad), in their heydays. The Pakistan fans were no less jingoistic and anti-Indian during the Sharjah matches, with their jibes & taunts to Indian cricketers.
    This has come back to bite Pakistan and the later & current team bears the burden of the baggage (outsized expectations, high stakes) etc.Recommend