1. The History
–By Rahul Pandey
Big games call for unexpected, unorthodox decisions. And there aren’t many games bigger in the sporting realm than India and Pakistan meeting on a cricket field. With the two meeting for the seventh time in the T20 World Cup on Sunday, The Indian Express looks at some of the unexpected, unorthodox moments that took place in their previous matches. [Read Full Article]
2. Our Early Take
–By Pratyush Raj, Rahul Pandey & Tanishq Vaddi
3. Just-India-Pak! Now, a World Cup to be won
-By Sandeep Dwivedi
Before every India-Pakistan cricket game, a cliche gets played on loop on both sides of the border. “It doesn’t matter if we don’t win the Cup but India / Pakistan shouldn’t lose to Pakistan / India”. The nouns in that line are interchangeable, depending on the geography. Hidden in this casual remark is the essence of a bitter rivalry that overrides rational thought and limits ambitions.
It also brings to mind a charming story that a friend, and fellow cricket reporter, had narrated after his interview with Tiger Pataudi. Still a rookie, he was understandably overwhelmed to sit across his boyhood hero. While leaving, he couldn’t deny himself a fan-boy moment. “Sir, it was my life’s dream to meet you,” he said. The handsome Nawab smiled and after a cinematic pause replied, “Son, have bigger dreams”. [Read Full Article]
4. 360 Focus on SKY
– By Devendra Pandey & Abhishek Purohit
Devisha Shetty had watched Suryakumar Yadav woo cricket, while living it up in his 20s, like most youngsters of that age do. In 2018, Devisha, his wife of five years who’s known him for a decade, watched him finally commit to the game, shrugging off his wild days. The new rising of the sun that Indian cricket is witnessing, and which might reach phenom international star proportions, was the flame Devisha watched grow into the Surya blaze of now. [Read Full Article]
5. Pak Openers – SWAT salvo
-By Sandip G
In the previous edition of the T20 World, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan 303 and 281 runs respectively in Pakistan’s run to the semifinals. The next highest contribution was Fakhar Zaman’s 109. Only other batsman, Shoaib Malik, managed 100 runs, and the underwhelming middle order copped criticism for their middling returns. A year on, the situation remains as grim as it was during the World Cup, so much so that Zaman was recalled into the World Cup squad.Both in the Asia Cup as well the seven-game rubber against England, besides the tri-series in New Zealand, the vulnerabilities of the middle-order was exposed. In the Asia Cup, they were over-reliant on Rizwan, with Babar enduring a rare lean patch (68 runs at 11). [Read Full Article]
6. Ashwin’s Bowling Choices
-By Sriram Veera
Former Pakistan skippers Shoaib Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq have stressed on the big role finger- spinners play in T20 cricket in Australia. Malik spoke of a moment from his Big Bash League days, when his captain George Bailey asked him to bowl at two set batsmen.
“I gave him a stare, as if to say what is he doing,” Malik laughs on A Sports, adding, “Bailey told me ‘no, no, finger spin will help take wickets and check runs here (Australian conditions).” Misbah then rationalised the decision: “It’s difficult to sweep on those tracks with the extra bounce, or even pull. It’s not like Asia where you can rock back and pull a short ball from a spinner easily.” [Read Full Article]
7. The Kohli Prologue
– By Nihal Koshie
When Virat Kohli was 12, he rode with his father on a scooter to buy kites ahead of Independence Day. His father only realised halfway through the journey that Kohli didn’t take the pillion rider’s helmet. A young Kohli convinced him not to turn back. While returning, they stopped to buy watermelon, Kohli’s favourite fruit. The senior Kohli panicked on seeing a few cops strolling about. Worried about being challaned and without realising his son hadn’t got on, he sped off. Kohli says he didn’t talk to his father for two days after that. The father returned to search for his son on realising he hadn’t reached home but Kohli gave him the cold shoulder. [Read Full Article]
8. Tickets (Gone in 10 minutes)
– By Devendra Pandey
“How is it possible for tickets to be sold out in just 10 minutes?” a local Melbourne Radio host wonders. A more rhetorical query wouldn’t have possibly crackled over Melbourne’s airwaves in recent times.
This is a city that regularly hosts the Aussie Open Grand Slam and the Boxing Day Test. It has also witnessed the ODI World Cup finals. But still, Melbourne was surprised by the speed at which tickets for Sunday’s World T20 game between India and Pakistan got snapped up online.[Read Full Article]
9. Haris Rauf’s Ambala buddy
– By Devendra Pandey
Three years ago when Haris Rauf moved to Hobart as part of an exchange programme between Pakistan Super League’s Qalandars and the Hurricanes, the Rawalpindi-born paceman found a friend in Haryana-born Mayank Gupta
A beautiful friendship and lots of kadha chai brewed over the few weeks that Ambala’s Mayank Gupta spent as a roommate with Pakistani pacer Haris Rauf in December 2019 in the Australian city of Hobart, long before the bowler became a big name. When India meets Pakistan in their opening T20 World Cup game in Melbourne Sunday, far away in Ambala (Haryana), Gupta might find himself in two minds on whom to support. He wants India to win, but at the same time he will instinctively hope that his friend Haris Rauf does well. [Read Full Article]
10. Captain Rohit’s Calm on Match Eve
– By Devendra Pandey
Since Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled KL Rahul, trapped Rohit Sharma in front and finished off the job when he had captain Virat Kohli miscue a bouncer to the keeper last October in a Group game of the T20 World Cup, a lot has changed in Indian cricket.
Kohli’s reign as captain ended soon, Rohit Sharma was handed the reins, Rahul Dravid took Ravi Shastri’s place in the coach’s hot seat.A slew of experiments followed, in terms of personnel, batting spots but India have stuck to the tried and tested and the few changes have been brought about because of injury. What has changed though is the Indian team’s batting approach – from keeping wickets in hand and waiting to accelerate towards the second half of an innings to going all out from the word go. Over the past year, what has also changed is the shift in balance of power, ever so slightly in Pakistan’s favour. [Read Full Article]
11.Threat of rains & Time collectors
-By Devendra Pandey
Devendra Pandey, our reporter notes from Melbourne: There have been signs of relief with reports predicting it to be a cloudy evening ahead of the match between India and Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There has been a fear of rain since the past few days and many fans have been praying for the weather gods to take a Sunday off. The stadium is expected to be a full house and all tickets have been sold for the marquee clash at the T20 World Cup.
India is set to play Pakistan in their first game of the 2022 T20 World Cup at a sold-out Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday. But the talk around the game in the recent days have centred around the weather and how Melbourne’s climate could play spoilsport.[Read Full Article]
IND vs PAK: India deploy support staff and extra players across boundary to save time
Just as Australia did in the warm-up games, Indian team management has also deployed their support staff and extra players along the corners of the MCG to save time and avoid the fielding restriction penalty. Even the masseur Rajeev and throw-down specialists were doing the job at the MCG, standing all around outside the fence to get back the ball quickly and save time during the powerplay.
In its efforts to help accelerate the speed of a cricket game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) in January 2022 implemented the slow over rate penalty in T20I cricket. The slow overrate in T20 Internationals results in a fielder less outside of the 30-yard circle for the remaining overs of the innings. It’s an in-match penalty when the bowling team fails to complete the innings by a stipulated time.[Read Full Article]
12.Express Live Blog IND vs PAK
-By Express Sports
India vs Pakistan T20 World Cup 2022 Highlights: Virat Kohli single-handedly powered India to an epic four-wicket win over arch-rivals Pakistan with a magnificent 53-ball 82 not out in their big-ticket T20 World Cup game here on Sunday. Pakistan recovered from a wobbly start to post a fighting 159 for eight. India completed the chase in the last ball, with Kohli and Hardik Pandya (40) doing the bulk of the scoring after a horror start to their innings.
The two revived India with a 113-run stand for the fourth wicket after they were reeling at 31/4 at one stage. Sent in to bat, Pakistan were well served by Iftikhar Ahmed’s 34-ball 51 and Shan Masood’s unbeaten 52 off 42 balls after they lost their first two wickets with just 15 runs on the board in the fourth over.[Read Full Article]
13.The Match Report
-By Devendra Pandey
Virat Kohli produced arguably the finest knock of his T20 career to wrap up a seesawing, and often chaotic, thriller. For its sheer drama and quality, emotions and potential controversy, this would be remembered as one of the most thrilling and fascinating games the two sides have produced in their history. The match would whip a deluge of moments and memories in years to come.
Haris Rauf and Naseem Shah were fast and furious; Arshdeep Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar handed out a swing-and-seam bowling masterclass; Ifthikhar Ahmed struck crisp and clean sixes. But in the end, the most enduring image of the game would remain Kohli sprinting to the direction of the dressing room, holding his bat aloft, screaming “come on” and punching the air in an outpouring of pure joy. [Read Full Article]
14. Anushka relays Home Glee
–By Devendra Pandey
Virat Kohli was on Rohit Sharma’s shoulders, being cradled and swung in celebration, respect, and admiration, with close to 100,000 ecstatic fans screaming their heads off. A moment ago, Kohli was almost in tears, first punching the ground, then taking his helmet off, and raising his index finger to the skies. A release of pent-up emotions after the greatest innings of his career.
It was some sight. Kohli un-bottling, Sharma serenading — two men who aren’t really close friends but have, over the years, acknowledged each other’s greatness. [Read Full Article]
15. Emotional Enormous Rollercoaster
– By Sports Team
Till the start of 19th over, India hadn’t hit a six against the formidable pacers. Against the best bowler on the day, Haris Rauf, it was unlikely that India would change that unusual trend. The first four balls didn’t even see a boundary and then on the final two balls, Virat Kohli smoked two sixes that will be talked about for ages. First was all the muscle he punched Rauf straight behind him next to the sidescreen; the next one was pure timing and class. He helped a ball on the legs over the fineleg boundary. In the next over, Kohli once again had to repeat the miracle. This time India needed 13 from 3 balls.[Read Full Article]
16.The Virat Show
–By Sriram Veera
Did a tear slip out of Virat Kohli’s eyes after his wondrous chase under pressure? There he was down on his knee, punching the ground twice, as all the bottled-up emotions poured out of him. In an already astonishing career, this chase against Pakistan in a world cup might just take the cake.
It’s a format that doesn’t come naturally to him, he had taken a break as he struggled to come to terms with what he perceived as unjust treatment after his captaincy was taken away (“only MS Dhoni called me,” he would say), and he needed that break to rediscover his love for the game. “I think it was meant to be. I would rate this higher (than Mohali chase against Pakistan),” he would say at the end. [Read Full Article]
17. Kohli’s Sixes
-By Sandip G
When Virat Kohli wounds down his remarkable career one day, he would not be remembered for his sixes. Or rather for his sixes alone, for six-hitting is but one facet of his astonishing batsmanship. But the two sixes he struck off Haris Rauf, the death-overs hangman, would live immortally in his own mind as well as those who happened to watch it, on the ground or on television or smartphone, live or deferred, full match or highlights, supporter or not.
Those were not just the most unforgettable sixes he had ever struck in his career, but could also be the most emotional ones too. In days to come, they will be spoken about with the same awe as Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic six when facing Shoiab Akhtar in yet another intense India-Pakistan game of the 2003 World Cup. [Read Full Article]
18. Kohli Swat Flick
-By Sriram Veera
How many World Cup sixes by a modern-day Indian batsman can you call iconic and will remember forever and a day? Sachin Tendulkar’s thump over point of Shoaib Akhtar, for sure. MS Dhoni’s thunderous wallop to cap off a perfect Wankhede night. Yuvraj Singh’s six-orgy off Stuart Broad, perhaps. Anything else? Right on top, alongside Sachin, will sit Virat Kohli’s “freaky” swat-flick of a six against Haris Rauf at MCG.
It’s a variation of a mutant that he had created in the first place from a regular flick. A couple of years ago, Sunil Gavaskar had predicted to this newspaper how Kohli was going to evolve even further with that shot and target newer areas. [Read Full Article]
19.The Greatest ‘Leave’
-By Rahul Pandey
Let’s go back to December 2016. Ravichandran Ashwin had just watched Chennai 28 II, for the first time. Sequel of the 2007 Venkat Prabhu directorial based on friendship set against the backdrop of gully cricket. In awe of it, the all-rounder tweeted, “What a wonderful movie ‘Chennai 28 II’. Completely put my life on rewind mode. Genuinely felt I could have been a part of it.”
Little did he know six years later, he would produce a live sequel of the movie that touched him, almost coaxing Mohammed Nawaz into bowling a wide, and eventually leading India’s finish in the T20 World Cup thriller against Pakistan. [Read Full Article]
20. 8 Shots that helped IND bt PAK
-By Abhishek Purohit
106 needed off 54
Over 11.1 Nawaz to Pandya, 6
The pair of Kohli and Pandya had been in the middle for five overs but India were still crawling at below five runs an over. It was the 12th over bowled by Axar Patel that had gone for 21 and revived the Pakistan innings. Pandya began the 12th of the India innings from Mohammad Nawaz, also a left-arm spinner, with the first six of the partnership. Nawaz began by going wide of the crease and firing it in at Pandya to try and cramp him for room. But the all-rounder created space by moving outside leg stump and swatted the ball over deep midwicket. [Read Full Article]
21. Arshdeep shuts Trolls
–By Nitin Sharma & Pratyush Raj
“Koi aakhda ae lucky, koi tukka lgea aakhde ne. Mehnat kr andekhi saare, kismat nu hi puchkarde ne! Changey sameya ch saare maar baazi lende, Tagde ohi jo time maadeya nu picharhde ne. Vadde jigre valea nu thalle rakhna saukha ni, Maade jehreya vaale hi aaukhiyan ch haarde ne!
The translation of Arshdeep’s poem is this: “For some, I’m lucky, for some, it’s just a fluke. All they ignore is my hard work. All they talk about is fate and destiny. When time is good, anyone can succeed, but the character is tested when one overcomes tough times. Courageous individuals will not back down easily. And a character like me won’t lose hope in tough times.” [Read Full Article]
Ignoring trolls, Arshdeep Singh shows maturity to make impact in maiden T20 World Cup match vs Pakistan
Three hours prior to the clash with Pakistan in the ICC T20 World Cup in Melbourne, India pacer Arshdeep Singh called up his coach Jaswant Rai. It hadn’t been long since Singh was trolled over social media for dropping a catch during a match against the neighbours in the Asia Cup in UAE, but Rai did not dwell on the past.
He would only speak about Singh’s plans to utilise the big grounds in Australia to his advantage. After the left-armer claimed three wickets, including those of Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and power-hitter Asif Ali with bouncers, the coach recalled preparation and practice sessions mastering the short-pitched stuff.[Read Full Article]
22.Devil’s in the Slower Balls
-By Nitin Sharma
With the cricketing world in awe of Virat Kohli for hitting Pakistani pacer Haris Rauf for two consecutive sixes off the last two balls of the 19th over in the chase of 160 runs, former Pakistan captain and pacer Wasim Akram has highlighted the mistakes done by Rauf and other Pakistani bowlers in the match.
With India requiring 28 runs off the last eight balls, Kohli’s two sixes off the last two balls of Rauf’s fourth over meant that India needed 16 runs to win in the last over. India overhauled Pakistan’s total of 159 in the last over by Mohammad Nawaz after much drama and R Ashwin hitting a boundary off the last ball. [Read Full Article]
23. I M Possible: Pandya bro-code
-By Devendra Pandey
What’s the one line said by his brother Krunal that Hardik Pandya will carry with him all his life? “In the word impossible there is the word I-M-Possible.” Pandya recalled how those words spoken by his brother would remain with him till his last breath. Pandya would recall this after walking back from the mixed zone, post India’s sensational four wicket win over Pakistan.
Pandya’s contribution to the win was immense, though his role took a backstage after Virat Kohli’s heroics. Had he not been there, things would have been different. He was pushing Kohli to keep at it and giving hope to the man, who was carrying a billion people’s hopes.[Read Full Article]
24.The Calm after the Storm
–By Devendra Pandey
REACHING THE team hotel well past midnight, the Indian team, unlike their fans around the world, didn’t have time to celebrate the nerve-jangling World T20 win over Pakistan. Scheduled to catch an early morning flight to Sydney, where they play the Netherlands on Thursday, the cricketers, after playing the game of their lives, had to do the most mundane everyday thing – pack their bags and leave them in the hotel lobby for the logistical staff to ferry them to the airport.
After the warm reception to Rohit Sharma & Co. by the hotel staff and the bus ride from the stadium with fans chasing them, chanting “Kohli, Kohli”, the team retired to the rooms. Their phones were clogged with missed calls and messages, answering all of them would have needed an entire day. [Read Full Article]
25. Inzy gush on Virat
-By Nitin Sharma
“The Indian team is dangerous only on one condition: when Virat plays brilliantly. I am telling this clearly. There are many factors and people term other batsmen as dangerous but for me, Virat is zabardast.[magnificient]. If India has to win the World Cup, Virat’s performance like this can win them the World Cup. If they think that they can win the World Cup without Virat, it’s not possible,” Inzamam-ul-Haq piled on the raves on his YouTube channel The Match Winner.
Inzamam made a differentiation between high-scoring batsmen and match-winners in his tribute to Kohli.“Some players cannot win matches despite scoring runs but there are some players who win such matches for their teams single handedly and in pressure. Virat [Kohli] is such a player and has his own class,” Inzamam-ul-Haq said. [Read Full Article]
26. Chup kar diya na sabko?
-By Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri spoke to Sriram Veera a day after the India-Pakistan World T20 game at MCG where Kohli played his best-ever T20 knock.
Perhaps, it’s best to start with a feeling that I didn’t have when I was watching the greatest T20 knock by Virat: I wasn’t surprised. I was waiting for this to happen. I knew this would happen in Australia. Just check his record here – the pitches suit him plus he loves playing on these grounds and in front of the fans here. His record against Pakistan has always been good and it was a big situation: cometh the hour, cometh the stage, cometh the man.[Read Full Article]