India-Pakistan on a cricket field is as big as it can get in the sphere of sports rivalries. Though Pakistan has had the edge over India when it comes to matches won between the two, India has an enviable record in the World Cup’s where they haven’t lost even a single game to their arch rivals across formats.
The “Mauka Mauka” Fever
So when the 2015 World Cup was round the corner, Pakistan had a new hope given the faster tracks in Australia, Star Sports found a new ad campaign: ‘Mauka Mauka’. The entire concept circled around Pakistan though lost last 5 ODI World Cup encounters, the hope is still strong to claim a victory over the Indians. It was the Sunday morning of the 15th of February in 2015. It didn’t like anywhere close to a normal Sunday. A day which usually starts on a lazy note and late, started early that day and high on energy at that. To no one’s surprise, India were kicking-off their title defence of the ODI World Cup against noisy neighbours Pakistan.
This was India’s 6th meeting with Pakistan in the ODI World Cup and 9th in total. India had won all their previous matches and clearly held the edge on what was a slow Adelaide wicket by Australian standards. India had always kept their nerves really well and that put them in good stead going into the crucial game for starting off on the right note and early momentum always comes handy.
The Pain strikes again
India won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first. Pakistan began well and were rewarded for some tight bowling as Rohit Sharma went back early. But what was to come, spelt doom for the Pakistanis. Virat Kohli was next to come into bat.
The two Delhi lads played some fine, attacking cricket and put India on top with a fine 129 run partnership. Dhawan was run out and went back to the hut and with fewer overs to go, Raina got the promotion. The outgoing southpaw was replaced by an even more aggressive southpaw who along with Kohli took the game away from the Pakistan side.
In five World Cup matches against Pakistan, between 1992 and 2011, Sachin Tendulkar was the man of the match on three occasions. But such was the pressure on the players of those games that not one Indian batsman – not even Tendulkar, who made a masterful 98 at Centurion in 2003 – could stroke a century. That statistic however changed on Sunday afternoon at the Adelaide Oval as Virat Kohli struck a masterful 107.
India put 300 on the board and it was now up to Pakistan to produce something miraculous to turn the ‘mauka mauka’ ad in their favour and get the monkey off their back.
Things couldn’t have started worse for the chasers as they lost their stalwart Younis Khan quite early. Harris Sohail and Ahmed Shahzad did stitch a mini partnership but was soon broken. After that, watching Pakistan was a little like watching an old movie on loop. India kept on picking up wickets at regular intervals to keep Pakistan left far behind the asking rate and eventually see them 76 runs short of what India managed.
As the common standout name in the India-Pakistan game for the latter, one could only feel for the magnificent Misbah-ul-Haq, who fought till the end with a valiant 84-ball 76 but in vain.
As one of the former Pakistani players had explained Pakistan’s disastrous form against India in the World Cup’s, “they make the same mistakes: get too emotional, try to do things in a hurry, shut their brain off.”
A large chunk of the over one billion viewers stitched to their TV sets felt unparalleled happiness and excitement while the others had a moment of déjà vu as they headed towards a period of momentary sadness.
In what was Pakistan’s 6th defeat against India in the ODI World Cup, this was the biggest in terms of the runs won by. This win rounded up the triumphs in 1992 at Sydney, 1996 at Bangalore, 1999 at Manchester, 2003 at Centurion and 2011 at Mohali.
So as we celebrate the second anniversary of the famous day, let’s relive and savour the moment!
Chak Diya India!
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