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India vs Pakistan in World Cups : A Tradition of India’s Dominance

February 16, 2015


Some myths in the game of cricket have always stood tall. In the process, the teams that have been in the receiving end of it have always flattened. There is hardly any explanation or logic behind it, but the facts like South Africa never win a big tournament have been holding true for more than 2 decades now. We can’t really say that all these happen almost without any reason or simply due to the curse of fate. It’s something like England’s failure in getting through the tiebreakers in soccer. Until the myth gets broken it keeps affecting the players and their teams enormously. The same has happened with Pakistan over the past 23 years whenever it is an Indo-Pak showdown in an ICC World Cup.

Cricket is a mind game more than anything else where the psychological things have always left so many footprints on its history. The stats, numbers and records have always had their influence intact. Sometimes they can inspire you and lift you up in your bad times as we have seen with the men in blues in Adelaide. But on the other hand, like Newton’s 3rd Law the reaction acts equally opposite to their arch rivals.

As the India-Pakistan match is a much discussed and anticipated match in the context of the world cup, many things keep happening irrespective of the time and place. As I said it is a mind game so even before the coin is tossed the game unofficially gets underway. I have witnessed the 5 victories out of the 6 that India have managed to bag in against Pakistan during the ICC World Cups. However before anything else I must say that I am only accounting the 50-over games, otherwise the number would have been 3 more. But what I always notice is that many people starts saying, “This time Pakistan can beat India in a world cup match”. Some people say that India may get over complacent with their previous record and underestimate Pakistan, so Pakistan should capitalize on that and they will!

The story has however remained the same. If you see the overall head to head record between the two countries, Pakistan is ahead by a good distance. But when it comes to the World Cup encounters, India have always enjoyed an extra bit of edge against their arch rivals. If there is any reason behind this, it is that they have focused well in their game. Irrespective of what people said the Indians concentrated on their game and played their part. In addition to this, what they have done well the most is that they have exploited the weak link of Pakistan very effectively. Building up pressure on Pakistan always helped India in the crunch games like World Cup fixtures. It is almost as if while under pressure, Pakistan always got reminded of the previous history every time. As a result they committed themselves into mistakes. We have seen this so many times that fall of a set Pakistani batsman have allowed India to pick up a couple of more and tighten their grips into the contest. They get themselves into trouble more often than they are forced into it. The same has happened in Adelaide. Since batting has not been their strength, their batsman seldom looked good in dealing with their nerves. But if you see India on the other hand, bowling is not their strength either. Yet their bowlers have always done a decent job to work out the weakness of the Pakistani side. Forecast of any India-Pakistan match has always been Indian batting vs Pakistani bowling. But sometimes you got to think the other way, that is how the Indian bowlers bowl against the Pakistani batsman. Whether you talk about Anil Kumble’s figures in 1996, that of Vengkatesh Prasad in 1999; or the 2011 epic semifinal where it was more than a team effort – the bowlers have always delivered when it mattered. This is exactly the reason why India have been able to claim the overall upper hand.

We got to see in many occasions Pakistani batsmen not been able to get the bite of the Indian bowling, and at times doing stupid stuffs to get themselves out. But in recent times, if someone has been the lone warrior in the Pakistani batting line up, he is none other than Misbah-ul-Haq. There are so many things to praise about him and so many things for his teammates to learn from their captain. Age looks just a number for him and he is scoring runs for his team wherever he is playing. He has been a selfless cricketer, batted at different positions for his team when required. He is the man with the best batting technique and temperament in the team, can play in as many ways as possible from anchoring an innings to switch gear and slogging. He has the best batting average among all the Pakistani batsmen. And when it comes to scoring outside his continent, he owns the best average among all the Asian players in the history of the game. It is hard to imagine that a player of this class not having a single ODI hundred under his belt due to the lack of support from the other end. It has now happened atleast 3 times in a World Cup in an Indo-Pak fixture that Misbah had been their till the end, but nobody else was there to support him at the other end. Still he continued to play his way and did not give up till the last ball. He has always showed his character as a batsman, as a team-man and as a true leader. But unfortunately at the end of the day the game remains 11-men’s, and the of Pakistan’s score against India in World Cups remains a duck.

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