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Champions Trophy: In old rivalry, only India breathe fire

cricket Updated: Jun 16, 2013 03:35 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
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When India plays Pakistan tension often boils over. Remember Javed Miandad mocking Kiran More with his famous kangaroo hop in the 1992 World Cup, or Venkatesh Prasad's expletive-laden send-off to Aamer Sohail at Bangalore four years later.

More recently, we’ve seen Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh have a go at each other, or the fiery Gautam Gambhir turning red on seeing anyone dressed in green.

The ICC Champions Trophy match between the two nations was technically a dead rubber with India already through to the semis and Pakistan already out, but when in the pre-match presser MS Dhoni said that the action had mellowed down in recent years, one didn't just need to take the statement with a pinch of salt but the entire saltshaker!

Changing times

“Well, I think an India Pakistan game is always a big game, doesn't really matter where you are playing, and if you see both the teams, if you compare it to the ’80s or the early ’90s, you can say it has mellowed down a bit for the good of cricket. You don't really see the same kind of action when it comes to the cricketing skills and the verbal skills, which I feel is good. At the same time the intensity is still there,” said the India skipper on the eve of the match.

If there were any doubts over the verbal jousting that goes on in a match like this, they were laid to rest early on.

Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed was always going to be the danger man. Last year, he hit three successive ODI centuries against India, and would again hold the key to his team's fortunes.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar got one to move away from the left-hander, who was poking outside off-stump. The ball got an edge and flew to second slip.

Suresh Raina grabbed a tough catch and let out a war cry, using an expletive that one would normally see Virat Kohli mouthing.

Loud roars

Although things never boiled over, there was an unwavering intensity in the India team. Each wicket was celebrated with a huge roar, every fielding stop greeted with a pat on the back from the nearest fielder.

The weird bit was the timid body language of Pakistan. The kinesics betrayed a distinct lack of belief, especially among the batters. Shoulders drooping, head bowed.