Tickets for the February 15 India-Pakistan contest at Adelaide were reportedly sold out in 20 minutes flat. Why does the world love watching the two nations across the 22-yard pitch?
* The Unblemished Record: They may have beaten all the other teams in the universe, but Pakistan has never managed to beat India in a World Cup encounter. The team has lost to us at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in 1996, at Old Trafford in 1999, the Centurion in 2003 and at Mohali in 2011. Heck, they couldn’t even beat us in 1992, when they went on to capture the world title. Remember Bhajji’s gladiatorial roar after the Mohali victory? Nothing can come close to that sweet feeling!
* The Slanging Matches:
The possibility of high-tension personal duels such as the spat between Javed Miandad and Kiran More where the former began jumping up and down during a match in 1992 and the Aamir Sohail – Venkatesh Prasad episode in 1996 which ended with Prasad clean bowling Sohail after he had hit him for a four and pointed his bat towards the boundary.
* The Big-Match Players: A few good players from both sides of the border appear to have that something extra in the tank when facing each other and bring out their best games: Ask Sachin Tendulkar, Abdul Razzaq, Aaqib Javed and Venkatesh Prasad.
* The Bloody History: If the tragic Partition wasn’t enough, the ensuing wars in 1965 and 1971 and the Kargil hostilities in 1999, ensured that there were enough fuel for a grudge-fest. As senior sports journalist Pradeep Magazine puts it in his cover story: it is ‘War minus the shooting’.
* The Frenzy:
With Amitabh Bachchan lending his voice in the commentary box, the anticipation is reaching a crescendo. For us at HT Brunch, the real World Cup begins today
From HT Brunch, February 15
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