This Sunday morning, alarms rang at 8:30 am all across the country, in one single sound, as though a rooster was announcing the start of the day. People rose from their beds in unison for they knew that today was a big day. One would have thought they all had somewhere to go, but the roads were completely empty.
What they did, was switch on the television. Very honestly, on this day, it was more important for a restaurant to have a television than to serve food. TV because tickets were sold out in 20 minutes flat.
What was it? Election day? Republic Day? Independence Day? No. The India vs Pakistan match in the Cricket World Cup, of course.
A previous World Cup encounter in 2003
Each of 1.2 billion souls was glued to its TV, from the toss of the coin to that final Pakistani dismissal (I would have warned “spoiler alert”, but this isn’t like a new show, and I’m pretty sure everyone would have watched it). Cricket is a religion in India and in India, people take their religion pretty seriously.
In the anticipation of this match, there had been an overload of statistics; “India has never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup match”; “But, Tendulkar has played in all of those matches”. But the thing is, that on that day, the past doesn’t matter and neither does anything else (except superstitions maybe).
From the very first delivery, India looked very much in control and very much in the game. Although they lost Rohit Sharma fairly early, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were quick to do damage control and built the strong foundation of the Indian innings. With every over they kept taking the match away from their opponents.
When Dhawan was run out (an unfortunate end to his innings, for he was in top form), Suresh Raina joined the party and went berserk, firing shots in every part of the ground. Kohli played well to score his century, and India finished with 300 on the board.
When Pakistan came to chase, Mohammed Shami struck as early as in the 4th over. Although the batsmen steadied things for a while, they failed to consolidate the innings like their Indian counterparts had.
Wickets fell at regular intervals and before they knew it, Pakistan were in trouble. Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma, along with Mohammed Shami, took wickets at regular intervals, to produce a domino effect and dismiss Pakistan for 224.
A rare and subtle smile could be see on Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s face as Pakistan fell short of their target and India won by a mammoth 76 runs.
So with all the tension and drama over, Indians will be pretty relieved today; rejoicing and celebrating with fireworks and all that. Just across the border, however, the story will be quite different.
As for the statistics now, India vs Pakistan head-to-head in World Cups is: 6-0: a tennis score line.
Not only did India achieve a thumping victory against arch-rivals Pakistan, but also, with this win, the team started their World Cup campaign on a much-needed high. India have announced themselves as one of the contenders for the Cup, and one thing is for sure; the defending champions are not going out without a fight.
So as every Indian all over the world choruses WontGiveItBack, keep at those superstitions, cross those fingers, don’t jinx it, and most importantly, Bleed Blue.