The India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup fixture is one of the most anticipated matches in the world.
It is one of the fiercest rivalries in sports, attracting hundreds of millions of people tuning in every time the two countries meet on the field. However, the game is often overshadowed by the turbulent relations between the two neighbours who have fought several wars with one another over a period of 75 years.
According to Eman, who is half-Indian and half-Pakistani, says, “Pakistan vs India is that one match that drives every desi person to their screens the second it goes live. The rivalry has been going on for years keeping the thrill alive like it’s the first competition every time.”
It was on Saturday, the 14th of October. The two cricket rivals played against each other in the men’s Cricket World Cup in India, where team India won with a very comfortable margin leaving the score 8-0 against Pakistan.
“The game was a no-brainer to begin with. From the beginning our team was playing immaculately. Team Pakistan did give us a scare in the beginning but were able to catch up to them in no time. Our bowler Bumrah was just a breath of fresh air to watch while taking wickets, and all in all I’m hopeful and more optimistic for our journey ahead in the world cup now,” says Rishi, a 20-year-old Indian.
As a true Pakistani cricket fan, I had watched the match until the very end, hoping we might be able to break the streak, cheering for my boys in green while feeling the pressure. Although the match was evidently favouring India’s win, what made the atmosphere exciting was watching the match at home with my friends, who were in equal in numbers from both sides. As taunts and banters continued at each across the room, there was one point where I tried to control my sensitivity as one of the Indian guys remarked “losers will always be losers.”
There is no doubt that it was disheartening for Pakistani cricket fans to see their team collapse so quickly after losing their Captain’s wicket who made half century against India in the game.
Umer, who is a 22-year-old and is on his way to becoming a professional cricket player, says, “As a Pakistani fan I thought it was a shambolic effort considering how well we had played against Netherlands and Sri Lanka. I understand the pressure of playing in front of such a large Indian dominated aged crowd but we needed not lose our focus. India throughout showed consistency in their batting and bowling, which was brilliant. All I can hope is for Pakistan to come back stronger and bring the trophy home. We miss it.”
The fans of both teams are passionate and emotionally invested in their team’s performance, but knowing it’s yet again a one-sided match for the eighth time, it becomes embarrassing to even watch. But one must not show humiliation to the opposition team, be it on the field or behind a large TV screen, as it may come across a sign of being negative towards your team.
“As someone who loves their boys in green and would support them in their lowest performance, I thought the team this time had extra pressure on them considering they were playing in their rival’s ground, with the largest crowd of Indian supporters, so wasn’t really hopeful but did expect them to play with their blood and sweat, which I feel they didn’t so it was very disappointing for me,” Malaika, 23-year-old cricket enthusiast.
Dia, who is Indian, had much to say about the match: “I was extremely excited for the match even though going into it I knew we would win, especially after the first innings it felt like a waste of time to watch, but nonetheless I wanted to see my team win as they give Pakistan a big blow by seven wickets. Watching videos from the stadium it felt like a proud moment to be Indian as the crowd celebrated the country as a whole. However, I did feel sad for Pakistan as my best friends are Pakistanis, but at the same time I couldn’t really control my excitement.”
That’s the beauty of cricket. One side has it all and the other is left with nothing this time, but all while giving the us the thrill of wanting to see improved performances.
An India-Pakistan match is more than just a game of cricket. It is a clash of cultures, a battle for national pride and honour, as well as an emotional rollercoaster for both teams and their supporters, making it a more highly anticipated match of the tournament than the final.
Featured image by Wonker via Flickr CC