Why does an India-Pakistan match excite fans?

India Pakistan Rivalry Cricket

India Pakistan Rivalry Cricket

Certain sporting encounters always have some edge to them that may be lacking in others. For example in football, the rivalry between Argentina and Brazil is renowned across the world. The standard of soccer on display in this game is much better than what you see in other encounters. Similarly in cricket, the rivalries between Australia and England, and Australia and New Zealand are legendary but none of them rival what happens between India and Pakistan. A match involving both these teams is watched by Indians and Pakistanis all around the world along with cricket-lovers from other parts of the world as well. The question that one needs to ask is why it is so, why are these games so special compared to others of their ilk?

The reasons

One of the first reason for the excellent matches that one gets to see when these two are involved is the standard of cricketing talent on display. Over the years, both India and Pakistan have produced some of the legends of the game. For India, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar are some names that immediately come to mind. For Pakistan these names should be Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, and Wasim Akram. Now, Virat Kohli and Mohammad Amir are well on their way to achieving that level of excellence. All these players, and others who have not been mentioned over here, have played their part in elevating the standards of contests involving these teams.

The second important reason in this case is the shared history of both these teams. Both India and Pakistan were part of British India before they were born as independent countries in 1947. The relations between the neighbours have never really been brotherly. At best, it has been cordial and at worst they have bickered at over every possible issue. The situation in both countries is such that winning a game against the other one is more important than winning the tournament itself and defeat can have some serious consequences, especially as has been seen by the frequent leadership changes in Pakistan cricket whenever they have lost a game against India in a global event or even a bilateral series.

T20 rivalry

It needs to be noted that in this case too both these countries share some history. T20 is the newest format of the game and is played at a very limited level on the international arena. This also means that these countries have not faced each other in this format as much as they may have done in tests or one-dayers. However, whenever they have played each other there have been plenty of moments to remember. The first T20 World Cup final saw both these countries compete with India coming out on top against Pakistan in a memorable game that basically kick-started the captaincy career of MS Dhoni. Incidentally, Pakistan followed suit in the next edition, held in 2009 in England, by clinching the final in a game against Sri Lanka. India holds a major edge over Pakistan in terms of head-to-head win-loss ratio. Till date, six T20 internationals have been played between both teams with India winning four among them, Pakistan winning one, and one game being tied.

Some memorable contests

As has been already said India and Pakistan have given their fans a lot to cheer about. One classic match that immediately comes to mind is the enthralling game that both the sides had in the recently-concluded Asia Cup, held in Bangladesh. India shot Pakistan out for 80 odd and then Mohammed Amir, the returning prodigal, had India at a poor spot before Virat Kohli rescued India. Following is a list of some memorable moments from the encounters held between the two teams:

  • India winning the T20 World Cup in 2007 – the first ever world championship tournament in this format
  • MS Dhoni scoring 148 at Vishakhapatnam, 2005
  • Sachin’s 98 at Centurion, 2003
  • Saeed Anwar’s 194 at Chennai, 1997
  • Kumble’s ten-for at Delhi, 1999
  • Sachin’s 136 at Chennai
  • Prasad dismissing Aamer Sohail at Bengaluru, 1996
  • Miandad apes Kiran More at Sydney, 1992
  • Miandad hits the last ball six at Sharjah, 1986
  • Ganguly’s exploits at Toronto, 1996
  • India wins the World Cup game in 1999
  • Shoaib Akhtar dismisses Tendulkar and Dravid successively, 1998-99
  • Vinoo Mankad takes 13 wickets at Delhi, 1952
  • Imran and Miandad win a test match, Karachi, 1978
  • Imran takes 40 wickets in a three test series, 1982
  • Salim Malik wins it at Kolkata, 1987
  • Sachin hammers Qadir, Peshawar, 1989
  • Jadeja blasts Pakistan, Bengaluru, 1996
  • Saqlain dismisses Sachin, Chennai, 1998