It was more than just a game - India vs Pakistan
“Today Adelaide is in Australia just on the map,” said Harsha Bhogle to Shane Warne while commentating in the India-Pakistan 2015 World Cup match at the Adelaide Oval. He was referring to the sea of Indians and Pakistanis who were in the capital city of South Australia also known as the ‘City of Churches’. Talking about churches, there were thousands of Indians and Pakistani supporters praying for the victory of their respective teams in the city of church and millions praying back home. It was patriotism at its very best.
Build up to the match
There was tremendous build up to the game. Indians had come up with an ad reminding the Pakistanis of their dismal world cup record against the Indians. Pakistanis replied back with an ad reminding the Indians of Javed Miandad’s last ball six off the bowling of Chetan Sharma at Sharjah. The contest had already begun before a ball being bowled at the Adelaide Oval. Social media was buzzing with Indo-Pak jokes and who’s who of both the teams. It has been almost a day since the match began, but “#IndvsPak” is still trending on Twitter.
The match however, did not live up to the expectations of the build up and ended up being a one-sided contest. India defeated Pakistan comprehensively by 76 runs and kept their unbeaten run in World Cup matches against their arch-rivals intact. Riding on a century by batting sensation Virat Kohli, India notched up 300 in 50 overs. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s 76 was not enough to take Pakistan home as they bundled out for 224 in 47 overs.
“Not just a game” for the fans
It did not matter to the Indian fans if it was a one-sided contest. For them, the only thing of importance was the result which was in their favour. For millions of Indians or for that matter the Pakistanis it was more than just a game of cricket. It is not just the fans, even cricketers acknowledge the importance of India Pakistan matches. Sachin Tendulkar in a recent interview had said that the Pakistan game in the 2011 World Cup was the most high-pressured game he has been involved in.
People who normally never follow cricket were glued to their television sets since the start of the match. The official match report will tell you that this was just a league match between the two arch-rivals. But try telling this to a Jawaan manning the border in below zero temperatures in Kargil and he will give you a different answer. He fights it out, day and night in inhuman conditions to protect his motherland from the army of our estranged neighbour.
So, when India came out on top in Sunday’s cricketing encounter, it would have definitely brought a smile to his face. Similarly, the Borders Security Force (BSF) soldier performing the “Beating the Retreat ceremony” at the Wagah border would have had his head held high today in comparison to his counterpart from the Pakistani Rangers.
This reminds me of a program broadcasted on All India Radio called “Fauji bhaiyon ki Jaimala” where song requests from defence personnels were played on radio. I wonder if the Fauji bhai would have just requested an Indian victory in this match.
A long way to for the Indian team in the World Cup
Come Monday it will be business-as-usual in India and people will get back to work after the weekend satisfied that their team defeated Pakistan. Be it in crowded local trains of Mumbai or the busy streets of Kolkata, there would be endless discussions about how people celebrated the Indian victory and how they knew that Virat Kohli was going to score a century.
Like all the other World Cup victories over Pakistan, this too will find a special place in India’s cricketing history. Result of the remaining matches will hardly matter now to many Indians. I remember in the 2007 World Cup how many Indians had taken solace in the fact that Pakistan had also been knocked out of the tournament.
As far as the Indian team is concerned, their moral would have been lifted by leaps and bounds. But captain MS Dhoni knows that this is just the beginning and there is a long way to go as far as retaining the World Cup is concerned.