The story of the thrill of a cricket match in India-Pakistan
- The 30th of the month of March, the year was 2011.
The movement of all commercial flights was stopped at Chandigarh airport from 6 am. Sukhoi-30 fighter jets were circling in the sky after a short delay.
Apart from the police, security forces were deployed at every crossroads of the city and the Mohali cricket stadium was probably converted into a cantonment for the first time.
The circumstance was so. The semi-final of the ODI Cricket World Cup and that too between India and Pakistan. Pakistani PM Yusuf Gilani was also coming from Islamabad on the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to watch the match and meet Manmohan there.
The memories of the title clash of the two teams in the 2007 T20 World Cup were also fresh as India won the match-winning championship.
There was also an unknown tension on the journalists covering the Mohali match. Such a big match, along with diplomatic activities had to be covered.
India had defeated a strong Australian team in the quarter-finals and Mukesh Sharma, who was covering that match at the Motera Stadium in Gujarat, said over the phone, “Now look, the cycle continues in Mohali.”
The coverage on the BBC Hindi desk was commanded by Pankaj Priyadarshi and Vandana. One said, “Not at all missed in giving updates”, and the other said, “Be in my city, don’t come back empty handed.”
All the top cricket correspondents of the world had reached for this match. This was the last World Cup of Sachin Tendulkar and from Yuvraj Singh to Kohli and Gambhir had said, this time it is for Sachin to win the cup.
Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi had said before the match, “We will also take our lives in the match.”
Batting first, India scored 260 runs for the loss of seven wickets, thanks to Sachin’s 85. Sachin was also lucky as Pakistani fielders missed his catches four times.
The Indian bowlers bowled well and returned the pavilion to Pakistan 29 runs before the target. Zaheer, Nehra, Munaf Patel, Bhajji and Yuvraj took two wickets each.
A month and a half after this defeat, Pakistani captain Afridi was removed from the captaincy and announced his retirement. Sachin also said goodbye to one-day cricket after this World Cup..
- 2012 T20 World Cup – Sri Lanka
The next year after the previous match, both the teams met in the group match of the T20 World Cup held in Sri Lanka.
Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium was so full that the city was jammed in the morning and visitors, journalists could enter only after walking about one and a half kilometer.
A day before the match, the Indian team did net practice at another stadium ‘P Sara Oval’ in Colombo. During practice, there was some tension on the fact that Virender Sehwag did not bat in the net. Many former cricketers had also questioned the fitness of Yuvraj Singh, who returned to the team after being treated for a serious illness.
In the entire tournament, I did not see the same thing inside Team India as it was in the previous World Cup. But the match between India and Pakistan is unique.
The day before the match, all the journalists covering the tournament were invited to dinner at the palace of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Former Pakistani batsman and current PCB chairman Rameez Raja was also present there and said during the conversation, “This time the team will focus on the batting along with the bowling, the match winners are there. Imran Nazir, Captain Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed in this format Big players”.
However, none of these three players could do much in the match and India had completed Pakistan’s target of 128 runs in 17 overs. Virat Kohli was the man of the match by playing a brilliant innings of 78.
- 2015, One Day World Cup – Australia
Cricket organizers also have full faith in the pomp of India-Pakistan matches. Due to this, in the World Cup held in Australia, the first match of both the teams took place among themselves.
Supporters from all over the world arrived in Sir Don Bradman’s city, Adelaide, and there was a prom-like atmosphere. The people of the city’s Central Business District where we stayed had hardly seen people dancing to the song ‘Chak De India’ on the streets at twelve o’clock in the night before.
Supporters of Pakistan had also reached from America to Dubai, and in the atmosphere of celebration, the roadside bar-restaurant used to grow up in the morning.
The fun of covering cricket in Australia is something else. Teams do net practice in different grounds, where players get a special opportunity to know and understand closely and also understand the strategy ahead.
India had probably already thought that in case of winning the toss in this important match, by batting first, to set a big target.
Pakistan got the target of 301 after Virat Kohli’s century and Shikhar Dhawan’s support at the crease.
One has to be commended for the tactful Indian bowling, especially Mohammed Shami, who took four wickets in that match, due to which the Pakistani innings was reduced to 224 runs.
- 2016, T20 World Cup- India
The 20-20 World Cup has never happened in India before, while the origin and popularity of IPL started and grew from this country. Obviously, when the tournament reached here, along with the hope of victory, the fans of India and Pakistan were also waiting for the mutual clash.
In the Group 10 match, both were to meet at the historic Eden Gardens ground. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly had joined the West Bengal cricket administration till now and he himself was responsible for the preparations related to this match.
In the Garden of Eden, ‘Dada’ is the second only one. A day before the match, both the teams were doing net practice in both the corners of the ground and Sourav driving his red colored Mercedes car himself came to the outside part of the stadium, then about 150 spectators watching the nets outside to take selfie with Sourav. Ran.
The people of the commentary team – Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja, Harsha Bhogle etc. also came to the field along with Sourav and met all the players. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma also inspected the pitch with Sourav for a long time.
Before the start of the match, actor Amitabh Bachchan sang the national anthem with one lakh spectators and everyone including Sachin Tendulkar was singing from the stands.
Due to rain, the match was reduced to 18-18 overs and Pakistan, batting first, gave India a target of 119 runs.
This time too, Virat Kohli played a fiery innings – 55 runs in 37 balls – and India completed the target with two overs remaining. Virat then went on to win the man of the match title.