Opinion: Can we Finally Have an India-Pakistan Final in a World Cup?
There have been eleven ODI world cups played so far. But there has not been a single instance of the two great rivals – India and Pakistan - fighting for the coveted trophy so far. Could this all change this time in the 2019 World Cup?
The World Cup is being hosted by England this time and in the mini World Cup that goes by the name Champions Trophy, the two sub-continental rivals met in the final. The frenzy and excitement it generated not just in the subcontinent, but the entire cricketing world is something unparalleled when any two other countries meet.
Even the rivalry between Australia and England that far predates the Indo-Pak one, does not garner as much interest. But they too have faced each other in a final – in the 1987 World cup.
Perhaps it was this 1987 world cup hosted by India and Pakistan that the two countries, who were the pre-tournament favourites, missed the only realistic opportunity of facing each other in the final. India lost to England in Mumbai and Pakistan lost out to Australia in Lahore. This was a golden opportunity missed.
The two countries have met each other in the finals of some other multi-national ICC tournaments, such as the inaugural T20 World cup, but somehow they have never managed to face other in the ODI world cup final.
There are only about 8 cricketing nations that have been playing in all the eleven world cups so far; India and Pakistan have been two of the best sides in the world, at least in the 50-over format. So, if one goes by the logic of probability, they should have met each other at least once so far, if not more.
Miraculously, certainly by chance and not design, they have been able to both qualify for the finals at the same time, even though they have played six finals between them.
India right now is ranked two in the world and Pakistan fifth. Under Virat Kohli, and with some of the best limited over batsmen and bowlers, India is a force to reckon with.
Pakistan may not have the quality or consistency of the Indian team. But as they showed in the Champions trophy, they have the passion and when some of their young players get going, they can put it past any other opposition.
So, after many near misses, we may finally see an India – Pakistan Final in the World Cup next year. It’s possible and certainly quite probable.