India captain Virat Kohli marks a half-century in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh.
India captain Virat Kohli marks a half-century in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final against Bangladesh. Rui Vieira

The long history between cricket's greatest foes

WHEN England meekly exited stage left after their semi-final humiliation, the Champions Trophy lost its favourites, its host and - potentially - its most exciting team.

That failure would've briefly upset organisers keen on generating as much interest in the final as possible.

Only briefly, however.

It wouldn't have taken long until it clicked that instead they would be treated to an encore of the fiercest rivalry in sport: India against Pakistan.

It is impossible to overstate the ferocity of the rivalry between these old foes ahead of Sunday's night's showdown.

India has not played a Test series against Pakistan since 2007-08, although they played an ODI series in 2012-13.

Outside of that, they only meet in ICC competition play these days - with security threats deemed too precarious to risk, and a proposed 2014 bilateral series scrapped following terror attacks and violence on the India-Pakistan border.

This is a rivalry which is based on history, politics, violence and, from time to time, a bit of cricket.

The cricket itself is always high-octane and tends to capture the attention of about one-fifth of the entire planet, with the two countries boasting a combined population of roughly 1.5 billion people.

The last time these two nations played in a knock-out fixture - the 2011 World Cup semi-final at Mohali - a reported 988 million viewers tuned in.

Six years later, and with a Champions Trophy on the line, that number can only be expected to grow.


Pakistan: 72 wins

India: 52

Draw/tie/no result: 4

Since their first match in 1952, Pakistan has the edge. But that counts for little in ICC tournaments, where India has an absolute stranglehold, with six wins from six clashes in World Cups and four from four in World T20 tournaments.

Pakistan has fared better at the Champions Trophy - where it has two wins from four clashes - but India has the current form on the board following their monster 124-run win in the pair's opening clash of this tournament.


World Twenty 20, 2007

The two teams played out a breathless deadlocked group match in Durban, with both notching 141 runs from their 20 overs - India's Robin Uthappa and Pakistan's Misbah-ul-Haq leading their side's cause with half-centuries.

Pakistan had needed one to win from two deliveries, but inexplicably fell to pieces and Misbah was run out off the final ball.

That led to the drama of the now outdated 'bowl-out', where each side had players bowl at an empty crease in an attempt to hit the stumps - in a process not dissimilar to a soccer penalty shootout.

Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Robin Uthappa all struck the stumps for India, while Pakistan's Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat and, lastly, Shahid Afridi, all missed.

India won, and would go on to win a similarly dramatic final a week later when Joginder Sharma defended 13 runs off the last over to crown India the T20 world champions.

Austral-Asia Cup final, 1986

After India set a target of 246, boosted by a classy 90 from Sunil Gavaskar, Pakistan were held together by the maverick Javed Miandad.

Miandad thrashed a magnificent unbeaten 116 from 114 balls to steer his side to victory in the most dramatic of circumstances.

With no other teammate passing 40, Miandad was down to his last partner while still needing five runs to win.

They needn't have worried.

With four runs to win, on the final ball of the innings, Miandad sent one into the stands to secure an extraordinary victory.


Pakistan's players celebrate taking the wicket of England's Moeen Ali during the ICC Champions Trophy semifinal cricket match between England and Pakistan at The Cardiff Stadium in Cardiff, Wales Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Pakistan's players celebrate taking the wicket of England's Moeen Ali during the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final. Kirsty Wigglesworth

World Cup, 1992

Tensions were high during their highly anticipated group clash between the two fierce rivals, with Miandad taking exception to what he felt was over-appealing from Indian wicketkeeper Kiran More.

After one appeal too many, the colourful Pakistani batsman turned and faced his opponent - before jumping up and down on the spot, animatedly mimicking More's appealing.

It was a flashpoint between the two cricketing nations, and India would prevail - winning the match by 43 runs while Miandad scored a sluggish 40.

Pakistan would have their revenge, of course, by reeling off a subsequent unbeaten run to win the World Cup.

World Cup, 1999

Rarely has the hostility between the fierce rivals spilled over onto the field quite like it did at the 1999 World Cup, where the two faced off in Manchester with the unavoidable backdrop of both countries being engaged in a stand-off over the disputed land of Kashmir.

India won the match rather comfortably, with Venkatesh Prasad bagging a five-wicket haul to bowl Pakistan out for 180 in response to India's 227.

But the main talking point were the ugly scenes as fans fought in the stands, burned rival flags and generally created a nasty atmosphere before police stormed the field, made arrests and calmed the scenario.

World Cup, 1996

The match which ended Pakistan's reign as world champions, and the impact was felt in an extraordinary manner on home soil.

India's 39-run victory was inspired by a 93 to Navjot Sidhu and three-wicket hauls to Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble.

The result was seen as a disaster back home in Pakistan, where a fan reportedly shot his television. And then he shot himself.

Effigies of captain Wasim Akram - who missed the match through injury - were burned in the streets.