There are handful rivalries in sports that have epic repercussions beyond the arena. The moniker of cricket’s most fraught rivalry belongs to India and Pakistan and it crescendos each time the Asian rivals face each other on field. While the two teams are always at loggerheads on field or otherwise, no other team boast the hype and frenzy, when these two Asian neighbours clash in any format of the game.
However, fan fervour peaks to stratospheric proportions in a World Cup tie.
One such occasion was on this day two years ago, when India beat Pakistan by 89 runs (D/L method) in their ICC World Cup 2019 group stage match at the Old Trafford in Manchester. Rohit Sharma’s gutsy 140 runs, and some wonderful bowling from Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya saw India victorious against their arch-rivals on cricket’s biggest stage. However, it was a special one too as the Men in Blue recorded their seventh straight win against Pakistan in a 50-over World Cup.
Earlier in the match, batting first India displayed a clinical performance by posting 336 runs on the board. Rohit started the fireworks by scoring a gutsy 140 off 113 balls. His innings included 14 fours and three maximums. He got solid support from his fellow opening partner KL Rahul, who made a steady 57 off 78. The duo added 136-runs for the opening wicket to set the base. Post Rahul’s departure, skipper Virat Kohli took on the baton and made a comfortable 77 (65 balls). While crossing his half-century, he became the fastest ever to reach 11,000 ODI runs.
Chasing a competitive target, Pakistan faced an early jolt as debutant Vijay Shankar scalped Imam-ul-Haq with a leg-before. They were cruising at 117-1 after 21 overs, before double strikes from Yadav and Pandya reduced them to 129-5. The duo successfully broke the Pakistan’s resistance.
Meanwhile, a lengthy rain interruption at the end of the 35th over shaved 10 overs off the chase. After play resumed, the match was shortened to 40-overs and the target got adjusted to 302 on Duckworth-Lewis basis.
Pakistan needed 136 from 30 balls, with four wickets in hand and the team fell short by 89 runs. They barely showed up, and the much hyped fixture turned into an uninterrupted celebration of Indian excellence.