The match between India and Pakistan in the ongoing ICC World T20 will go down as one of the most memorable ever. Of course, Indian fans are jubilant and the ones on the other side of the border aren’t. But if looked from a neutral point of view, such games eventually help in making a sport even popular.
This game brings back memories of the 2007 World Cup final between both the nations. Despite it being 15 years, the match still remains a tense and high-octane clash between both the teams. It eventually saw India win by 5 runs after they scored 157 for 5 in their allotted 20 overs, electing to bat first.
Apart from the fact that it was a match that went all the way down to the wire, the 2007 match also had a similar situation during its ending moments.
Pakistan struggled mostly while chasing India’s modest target. But Misbah-ul-Haq turned the match around singlehandedly by changing gears in a couple of overs before the last one. Similarly, India too struggled today during their chase but Virat Kohli had other plans. He brought India back in the game in a similar way. His 2 sixes off against the crafty Haris Rauf announced India’s fightback.
In the 2007 final, Pakistan needed 12 off the last over. After a lot of deliberation, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to hand over the ball to the inexperienced Joginder Sharma, over the experienced Harbhajhan Singh, who also had one over left. The obvious reason was that the latter was smashed around by Haq in his previous over.
The move initially looked like a mistake as Sharma bowled a wide and, worse, was hit for a 6. But, as we all know, Haq played that infamous scoop shot and was caught at short fine leg by S Sreesanth.
In this match, Mohammad Nawaz had given 20 runs in his previous over after letting the opposition hit 3 sixes off that one. But Pakistani captain Babar Azam still decided to go with him. He had the option of giving him the 19th or the 18th over but he decided to give him the last one. The move, obviously, didn’t work, with the extras proving it to be worse.
This is not to say that if Rauf or some other fast bowler had bowled the last over, India had no chance of winning. It’s just an interesting similarity in both the matches between the same nations with different batting order as well as the result.