There are some sports rivalries that excite the world. And India vs. Pakistan definitely ranks right on the top. Even though any possibility of bilateral series has been ruled out, the upcoming World T20 early next year is where these two nations will be locking horns again.
Though cricket is a team sport, it is the individual battles that people really look forward to. We have had a few in the past-Kiran More vs. Miandad, Harbhajan vs. Shahid Afridi, GautamGambhir vs. Umar Akmal, Sachin Tendulkar vs. Shoaib Akhtar and many more.
Let’s look at some of the best Indo-Pak matches:
1. April 18, 1986-Sharjah:
This is undoubtedly an unforgettable match in the history cricket. It was with this match that Chetan Sharma became a part of the folklore—thanks to the last ball six that Javed Miandad hit to hand Pakistan a memorable 1 wicket win.
2. March 1, 2003-Centurion:
Both the rivals were playing amatch after a long time. Pakistan had put up a big score thanks to Saeed Anwar. But Indian openers had other plans—as first Sachin Tendulkar, and then Virender Sehwag tore into Pakistan’s bowling attack. Though Sachin fell just short of a century (98), he did enough to script a memorable win for India—with Dravid sealing the win with a boundary.
3. September 24, 2007-Johannesburg:
It was the first T20 world cup ever hosted and the rivals surprisingly made it to the finals. India was at the mercy of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq—who had brought his team right to the door of victory. But it wasn’t to be as he perished to a rather peculiar shot to Joginder Sharma and got caught by Sreesanth—hence, giving India their maiden T20 WC win!
Let us take a look at players to look out for in 2016:
1. Revived & Recharged:
From the Indian team, comeback men Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh seemed to be the ones holding most promise. They must prove themselves in the Australia tour though to make the cut. A lot will ride on Ishant Sharma and Ashwin as well to strengthen Indian bowling attack.
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2. In Full Form:
Pakistan too boasts of in-form Hafiz, Misbah and Asad in the batting department and Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar in bowling. The seasoned warrior Shoaib Malik would play a very important role—being the most experienced player and their in-form all-rounder.
But all the tactics would go out of the window, given how ruthlessly teams play these days. Dharamshala would be the next battle ground—as this is where the two teams next meet. Lots of buzz has already started to float. Watch out!