With the last ODI series played between the cricket-mad neighbouring countries was in 2012, India-Pakistan matches still continue to be the highlight when it comes to ICC tournaments. Last time when these two teams played each other was back in the 2015 World Cup in Australia, where India cruised to a 75-run victory. Now after two years, the stage is all set to witness one of the biggest rivalry in world cricket as the two teams come face-to-face in their ICC Champions Trophy opener. Team India come in with massive wins over New Zealand and Bangladesh in their warm-up matches while Pakistan won their first warm-up match against Bangladesh with the other one (vs Australia) abandoned due to rain. In the previous seven editions of Champions Trophy, India and Pakistan have come face-to-face thrice with the latter winning twice.
India vs Pakistan, Birmingham, ICC Champions Trophy 2004
It was the first time when India played their neighbours Pakistan in the history of the tournament. Like the most pundits had predicted that the men in blue will emerge as clear winners, it wasn’t the same result as the then Inzamam-ul-Haq side edged out India by three wickets in a low-scoring encounter to enter the semi-finals.
Batting first, India was off to a disappointing start as Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag were back in the hut for a team score of 28. It was Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Kaif partnership of 45 runs which steadied India’s innings before they were bundled out for 200 in the last over of the innings. Dravid’s 67 and Ajit Agarkar’s 47 were the only positives from their batting. In reply, Pakistan lost their top three order batsmen for just 27 runs. However, Moahammad Yousuf’s 81 and skipper Inzamam’s 41 turned the match and put Pakistan innings on track.
India vs Pakistan, Centurion, ICC Champions Trophy 2006
Two years later, the world was once again ready to witness India take on Pakistan. And with hopes of taking a revenge of their previous defeat, but eventually it ended with a similar result as Pakistan defeated India by 54 runs in their group game at Centurion. It was Shoaib Malik’s century and a wel supported knock of 87 by Mohammad Yousuf that took the game away from India. Chasing a target of 303, India lost Sachin Tendulkar cheaply. But it was Gautam Gambhir (57), Rahul Dravid (76) and Suresh Raina (46) that kept them in the chase. After Raina’s dismissal, India’s ship continued to sink as they were bundled out for 248 in the 45th over. Mohammad Amir, Naved-ul-Hasan, Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi claimed two wickets each.
India vs Pakistan, Birmingham, ICC Champions Trophy 2013
India finally broke their jinx against Pakistan in the history of the ICC tournament as they managed to come out on top over their arch-rivals for the first time in three attempts. After rain played a major role as a spoilsport at Edgbaston, Team India won by eight wickets with the help of Duckworth and Lewis System (D/L).
After winning the toss, MS Dhoni put Pakistan to bat. Indian bowlers produced a stellar performance as they dismissed Pakistan for mere 165 runs in 39.4 overs. Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja all picked up two wickets each while Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan were run-out.
Chasing a target of 166, India was off to a brisk start with Shikhar Dhawan (48) taking the attack to the Pakistani bowlers. Rain interrupted the match twice but Dhawan ensured that India were much ahead of the D/L par score. Virat Kohli and Dinesh Karthik were unbeaten as India achieved their revised target of 102 in the 20th itself.
Under Virat Kohli captaincy, team India will be vying to level scores with Pakistan and start their campaign with a win.