'The reception made me realise that playing against India is not ordinary': Rizwan opens up on famous T20 World Cup win
- Months after Pakistan defeated India in the 2021 T20 World Cup, wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan opened up on the love and reception they received after the match.
India vs Pakistan is not like any other cricket match; at least for the fans. While the cricketers continue to maintain that they all treat it like a normal game, fans from either sides of the border make it a point to ensure their screams are heard on the other side. The latest cricketer to reiterate this point of view Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan.
Since the two countries only meet in ICC tournaments, their battle becomes all the more exciting. TV ratings tend to touch a new high and ticket sales at the venue become a happening event.
The last time these sides met, the ‘Men in Green’ cruised to a brutal 10-wicket win in their group stage match of the 2021 T20 World Cup in Dubai. Until then, India had never lost to their “arch-rivals” in an ICC World Cup game but as they say, there's a first time for everything.
Rizwan was one of the stars of the show, scoring 79 off 55 balls to help his side chase down a timid target of 152 in just 17.5 overs. His fellow opener and skipper Babar Azam remained unbeaten on 68.
While speaking to Cricket Pakistan in an interview on their YouTube channel, Rizwan iterated that he didn't feel any different playing India before the match but the reception after the win made him realise the magnitude of the win.
"Honestly, it felt like a normal match, like any other game. We felt the hype of the World Cup after getting there (in UAE). Before the match, I had an interview with Indian media and they asked if I was nervous. I told them that I don't feel any different as of now but if and when I do, I will let you know (chuckles).
“But the response and love we received from the fans and the country cannot be explained in words. When we got home from the Bangladesh tour after the World Cup, the reception made me realise that playing against India is not ordinary because there's much more at stake than playing against any other opposition,” he explained.
Eventually, while India exited post the culmination of the group stage, Pakistan were knocked out by champions Australia in the semifinal.