It doesn’t get bigger than this. The mother of all battles, it’s India vs Pakistan at Birmingham on the 4th of June. The cricketing ties between the two countries are at a standstill as the Indian government has taken a firm stand that they will not play cricket with their neighbors until the cross-border terrorism is completely stopped. In the wake of this decision, the only time the cricket lovers gets a taste of the biggest rivalry in cricket is when the two countries meet in multi-nation tournaments. The extent of how much this game means to fans all over the world and to ICC if you consider the revenue part can be gauged from the fact that the groups were tweaked to make this clash happen.
India has never been beaten by Pakistan in ICC world cup tournaments be it 50 over format or the shortest 20 over format. The champions trophy or the mini world cup as many people address it is a completely different affair. Pakistan holds the upper hand here with a 2-1 lead. India and Pakistan have met thrice in ICC Champions Trophy and India have only been able to beat them once.
Here is a brief glimpse of those three matches.
1. Champions Trophy 2004 – Match 12, Birmingham: Pakistan Beat India by 3 Wickets.
India missed the services of their talisman Sachin Tendulkar in this match due to tennis elbow and that showed when India slumped to 28 for 3 after Pakistan won the toss and choose to field. Dravid and Kaif tried to resurrect the Indian innings but once Kaif fell for 28 at the score of 73 it became quite clear that India will not be able to pile up a big score. Dravid played a brilliant inning of 67 ably supported by 47 run innings from Agarkar lower down the order which took Indian total to 200.
A total of 200 was never going to be enough but Irfan Pathan made initial breakthroughs and had Pakistan reeling at 27 for 3. There was a little glimmer of hope but it was soon shelved by the experienced duo of Inzamam and ever stylish Yousuf Youhana. Their stand of 75 for the fourth wicket banished any hope of an Indian win. In the end, Shahid Afridi played a brilliant cameo of 25 from 12 balls to put it beyond India. Youhana remained not out with a score of 81 and India tasted defeat in their very first encounter against Pakistan in Champions Trophy. Yousuf Youhana was the man of the match.
2. Champions Trophy 2006 – Match 6, Centurion: Pakistan Beat India by 54 Runs
Cut to 2006 and Pakistan again won the toss but this time they decided to bat on a beautiful Centurion wicket. Nehra and RP Singh made early inroads and reduced Pakistan to 65 for 3. You count on your big match players to come good in these big encounters and that’s what Shoaib Malik and Yousuf Youhana did, they turned up and flayed the Indian attack all over the park in a record stand of 206 for the fourth wicket. Malik scored 128 at better than run a ball and Youhana who became Mohammad Yousuf now after he changed his religion to Islam made a brilliant 87 from 88. The Pakistani lower order didn’t contribute much but still, Pakistan ended up with 302.
It was a chase that needed a rollicking start but India lost Sachin at the score of 23 to Mohammad Amir. Dravid and Gambhir took the attack to Pakistan in a partnership of 67 but Gambhir got run out with a score of 57 and India lost momentum. Raina played a lone hand of 46 down the order but it was a task too uphill for the Indian team and they ended up losing the game by 54 runs. Malik was the man of the match for his hundred.
3. Champions Trophy 2006 – Match 10, Birmingham: India Beat Pakistan by 8 Wickets (D/L)
India finally broke their jinx against Pakistan in Champions Trophy in 2013. It was a rain-curtailed affair of 40 overs. Indian bowlers made an instant impact after the game got underway. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar nipped out Nasir Jamshed for 2 at the score of 4. Kamran Akmal and Hafeez got together for a stand of 46 runs before Hafeez was brilliantly caught by Dhoni behind the wicket. The Pakistan innings never got going after that and eventually folded for 165 runs in 39.4 overs.
Rain gods again interrupted the match and India’s target was revised to 102. Shikhar Dhawan played a blinder at the top of the order with a 41 ball 48 run innings that put any hopes of Pakistan coming back in the match to rest. Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik remained not out on 22 and 11 respectively to take India home. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 19 for 2 bowling effort.