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ICC World Cup 2019: How A Game of Cricket Overcame India-Pakistan Misgivings

As India locked horns with England on Sunday, arch-rivals Pakistan backed their neighbours, although the final result left both disappointed.

Rohan Gopakumar | News18.com

Updated:July 1, 2019, 12:30 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019: How A Game of Cricket Overcame India-Pakistan Misgivings
(Photo credit: Twitter) Sunday's match against England became a rare occasion where bitter political rivals India and Pakistan could look eye to eye.

Team India was taken off-guard on Sunday and yes, it was partly because Virat Kohli's team, undefeated thus far, was forced to kneel before a determined English team, powered by Johnny Bairstow's ton. And yet, it was also partly because India found support in unexpected places.

Long-time arch-rival Pakistan were backing India's bid against England, which should not come as much of surprise from a practical perspective, since Pakistan's chance for a semi-final berth would climb with India overpowering England. In the event of Eoin Morgan's team losing on Sunday, England would have been booted out from the top four, dimming their chances of a semi-final berth. Plus Pakistan would have qualified for the semis with eleven points. A two-birds-with-one-stone kind of thing. Notwithstanding the obvious reasons for supporting India, the wide outpouring of encouragement was unexpected in itself.

On June 26th, former English skipper Nasser Hussain put forth a query for all Pakistan fans, asking which team they would lend support to in Sunday's encounter. Although he later admitted in the comments section that the tweet had been intended to be a cheeky ode to India-Pakistan animosity but that he was genuinely taken aback by the amount of love offered instead. A look at the comments section would make it apparent that while some consider their support for India in a purely pragmatic sense, some reactions were genuine while still others made Twitter a battleground to fight out political rivalries, as usual.

Some even brought old colonial passions into the equation.

Post Sunday's match, with Pakistani hopes dashed, Indian fans took to Twitter to reanimate India-Pak enmity.

Others were plain humorous.

Jokes and hostilities aside, Indian skipper Virat Kohli and legendary Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar welcomed the developments with the former calling such unison a rare thing and the latter hailing the occasion as the first time Pakistan has stood by India since Partition. Whatever the bottom line might be, it is certain that the two nations huddled together for Sunday's game, though the result did come as a downer.

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