The jinx in India-Pakistan matches

Note: This was written before the start of the 2017 Champions Trophy.

It is often said that India dominates Pakistan in ICC tournaments. Hence the “Mauka Mauka” ads which aired at the beginning of the 2015 World Cup.

Let us see take a closer look at the history of these encounters. First, the World Cup:

I v P World Cup

India and Pakistan never met in the World Cups of 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1987. They were somehow always drawn in different groups so they could have met only in the semi-finals or finals. It was not until 1992 that they met in the World Cup. In that tournament all teams played each other in the knockout stage.

They met in the quarter-finals in 1996, Super Six in 1999, and a pool match in 2003. India won all these matches so the feeling of a jinx over Pakistan kept growing.

In 2007, both India and Pakistan were jinxed and failed to proceed beyond the pool stage, being displaced by Bangladesh and Ireland respectively.

In 2011, India won in the semi-final and repeated this in a pool match in 2015. So India have won all 6 encounters.

If you want to see the scorecards, open this link and click on the blue square on the extreme right.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=12;type=team;view=results

Now we go to the T20 World Championship. We will come back to the Champions Trophy at the end.

I v P T20

The teams met twice in the inaugural championship in 2007. Though the match in the pool stage was a tie, India got the winner’s points as they won in the bowl-out which was then the method used to determine the winner of a tied match.

Then India won against Pakistan in the final. The teams did not meet in 2009 and 2010. India won the next three encounters in 2012, 2014 and 2016. All of these were in the group stages and not the semi-final or final. Thus India leads 5-0 (including the tie) in the World T20 Championship.

You can see the scorecards from this link:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=3;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=89;type=team;view=results

For details of the bowl-out in the first match in 2007, see the commentary section rather than the scorecard.

But the story in the Champions Trophy is somewhat different:

I v P Chamions

India and Pakistan did not meet in 1998, 2000 or 2002 (when India shared the trophy with Sri Lanka). Pakistan won the first encounter in 2004 in the group stage. They did not meet in 2006. Pakistan won in 2009, also in the group stage. India finally won in 2013, in a group match on their way to the trophy.

So the jinx on Pakistan in ICC tournaments does not apply to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, where they lead India 2-1. Let us see what happens when they meet on June 4. India currently has a higher ranking than Pakistan, but that has no bearing in high-tension encounters like these.

See the scorecards here:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=44;type=team;view=results

 

 

Yuvraj Singh’s ups and downs

Most sportsmen see ups and downs in quick succession. Yuvraj Singh is no exception. In this case the low was quickly followed by a high, and the low was quickly forgotten. We take up the story in 2007, meeting his adversaries along the way.

We begin on September 5, 2007 when India faced England in the 6th of 7 ODIs (yawn!) Going into this match, England led 3-2 with 2 to go.

England batted steadily and reached 286/6 at the end of 49 overs. For some reason captain Dravid chose to have Yuvraj bowl the last over. He had taken 0-29 off 4 overs prior to this. The 48th over had been bowled by Tendulkar for 12 runs.

Dimitri Mascarenhas, whose name is largely forgotten now, faced the first ball. He had one of the weirdest-sounding life histories of any international cricketer. He was born in England to Sri Lankan parents, spent most of his life in Australia but did end up playing for England in ODIs and T20Is and was usually regarded as an useful bits-and-pieces player. Then he had a Russian-sounding first name (don’t ask why) and a Portuguese-sounding surname (though in Sri Lanka and India, a Portuguese-sounding surname does not necessarily mean European ancestry). Finally, he was born in the same obscure suburb of London as this writer, though a generation later.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/engvind/content/player/16932.html

Commentary for the 50th over:

yuvraj-dimitri

The final scorecard : http://www.espncricinfo.com/engvind/engine/match/258476.html

And the current list of most expensive ODI overs:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/278847.html

As you can see, the Sachin and Saurav show got going, Yuvraj scored 18 and was one of Dimitri’s two wickets, and India finally won to tie the series 3-3. Ultimately they lost 4-3.

Later that month, India was in South Africa playing the first World Championship. Nothing much was expected from this team as they were the least experienced, having played precisely one T20I till them.They had won that match against SA less than a year earlier. And the IPL was not even a gleam in somebody’s eye.

Along the way, they ran into England again at Durban on September 19, exactly 2 weeks after the match mentioned earlier. This was a second stage match, with England already eliminated and India still in the running but without great expectations. Both Yuvraj and Dimitri were playing. The latter bowled one over for 15 runs. We now take up the start of Yuvraj’s innings:

yuvraj-1

Now for the 19th over by Stuart Broad which passed into history:

yuvraj-2

And the wrap-up:

yuvraj-3

As usually happens with some of the Cricinfo commentators, once they hit on an idea for PJs, they keep exploiting it throughout the match. This match’s emphasis on pirates and seafarers may have been inspired by Dimitri’s appearance!

T20I debutant Rohit Sharma did not get to bat, while Joginder Sharma (who remembers him now?) also debuted.

The final scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/twenty20wc/engine/match/287873.html

India won by 18 runs, so we can see how critical Yuvraj’s innings was. Dimitri was there at the close, but only faced one ball.

Also see the records: Most runs off an over, where Yuvraj’s record still stands:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284226.html

He also still holds the record for the fastest T20I ODI:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284094.html

The rest is history, where Misbah, Joginder and Sreesanth were there at the climax.

Many things were still in store for Yuvraj: man of the tournament in WC 2011, cancer and prolonged treatment and a brave but not too successful comeback. But September 2007 had more than enough ups and downs for him.

Meanwhile, Dimitri faded away after 2009 and Broad continues to open the bowling for England.

An afterthought: You would have heard of Malcolm Nash who conceded six sixes in an over in a FC match with Gary Sobers batting against him. Some years later he scored a century in another FC match. An Indian newspaper had this small headline on the sports page: “A bowler, once humiliated, shows how to bat”.