Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

India and Pakistan are set to resume their cricket rivalry when they meet in their T20 World Cup opener in Melbourne on Sunday.

It will be the 12th time that both teams will face each other in cricket’s shortest format.

India hold a clear lead in the head-to-head record, with nine wins against Pakistan’s three.

However, Pakistan have won two of the last three matches between the two sides.

Here is a look at five of the most thrilling T20 matches between these two.

Final, World T20 2007 (Johannesburg)

A World Cup final between India and Pakistan, a last-over finish, an improvised shot gone wrong.

It was as good as a cricket final could get.

The match brought unbridled joy to India and heartbreak to Pakistan, this encounter from the first ever T20 World Cup in South Africa is arguably their most epic match in the shortest format of the game.

MS Dhoni chose to bat first against Pakistan’s much-fancied bowling lineup. His team ended up setting a target of 158, thanks to a 54-ball 75 from Gautam Gambhir and a late blitz by Rohit Sharma. Pakistan’s chase was staggered with a regular loss of wickets before Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq managed to put it back on track.

With six needed off the last four balls, Misbah scooped Joginder Sharma but was caught at short fine-leg. It resulted in one of the most iconic images in cricket history: Misbah crouched on the pitch in disbelief as Indian players erupt in joy around him.

It was the match that endeared the T20 format to millions of Indian cricket fans and subsequently bankrolled millions of dollars into the game in the form of the Indian Premier League in 2008.

India’s players celebrate their victory as Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq walks off the field after the World Twenty20 cricket final [Mike Hutchings/Reuters]

Group match, T20 World Cup 2021 (Dubai)

Pakistan went into this game with the ignominious record of having never beaten India in a World Cup match.

The pre-match analysis placed India as favourites based on this record and India’s ranking.

With a strong bowling lineup led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, Babar Azam chose to field first.

Afridi, who has a knack for picking up wickets in his first over, got rid of KL Rahul off the fourth delivery and Rohit Sharma in his second over. India managed to reach 157.

Pakistan’s batting boasted the top T20-opening pair of Babar and Mohammad Rizwan. The openers lived up to their reputation and took Pakistan home for an astonishing 10-wicket win that left the fans and pundits befuddled.

Pakistan had finally broken the World Cup curse against India.

Shaheen Afridi
Shaheen Afridi ran rampage against the Indian top order in their 2021 T20 World Cup [Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters]

Group match, T20 World Cup 2007 (Durban)

The inaugural T20 World Cup produced two thrilling finishes in cricket’s most intense rivalry. While the final took the limelight, India and Pakistan played another closely fought match in the group stages. In fact, it was as close as it could get – a tie.

India’s total of 141 was built around Robin Uthappa’s half-century, and contributions from captain MS Dhoni and all-rounder Irfan Pathan. Mohammad Asif, Pakistan’s wily fast-bowler, took four wickets for 18 runs.

For Pakistan, most of the runs came from Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Shoaib Malik. Pakistan drew level on runs with two balls to go, when Misbah was runout.

Instead of a super over, the rules then stipulated that a tie be broken with a bowl-out – cricket’s version of penalties. India’s bowlers hit the stumps on their first three attempts while Pakistan missed all three, handing India a rare bowl-out win of 3-0.

India beat Pakistan 3-0 in a five-ball bowl-out to decide their match after the match had finished in a tie [Rogan Ward/Reuters]

Super Four, Asia Cup 2022 (Dubai)

This was the teams’ second meeting in the Asia Cup 2022, with India recording a five-wicket win in the group stages.

Both teams advanced to the Super Fours, where they had to win two matches to have a chance of qualifying for the final.

In the 2021 World Cup win, Pakistan were aided by the brilliance of Shaheen Shah Afridi’s bowling, and the unbreakable Babar-Rizwan partnership. This time around Afridi was injured and Babar was facing a dip in form.

India looked comfortable against Pakistan’s pace attack until Haris Rauf dismissed Rohit Sharma. It was then down to Pakistan’s spinners to restrict India, who finished at 181-7.

Pakistan had to rely on their lower-order lineup of all-rounders and big hitters in order to avenge their group-stage loss in the tournament. Mohammad Nawaz came to the rescue with a 20-ball 41 as Pakistan got home with one ball to spare in a tense finish.

Pakistan’s Mohammad Nawaz’s rear guard action took Pakistan home [Satish Kumar/Reuters]

Asia Cup 2016 (Mirpur)

India came into this match as favourites with a star-studded lineup and good recent form.

When MS Dhoni put Pakistan into bat, he wouldn’t have predicted his opponents to fold as quickly as they did. Apart from Khurram Manzoor’s 10 and Sarfaraz Ahmed’s 25, none of the Pakistan batters reached double figures.

India had a seemingly easy task in front of them, chasing Pakistan’s 83. But Mohammad Amir, the left-arm fast bowler making his international return after serving his spot-fixing ban, had other plans. He dismissed both Indian openers in his first over and then Suresh Raina in his second, to leave India at 8-3 in three overs.

This was when Virat Kohli took over the job of rebuilding India’s chase and saw out Amir. Kohli was dismissed on 49, but he had taken India within eight runs of the total. India ended up winning by five wickets.

India won the 2016 Asia Cup match by five wickets [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

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By Joy

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