Bengaluru, July 1: India's 31-run loss to England in a league game at Edgbaston in ICC World Cup 2019 gave birth to a great many reactions. While there were allegations that the match was fixed, the Indian chase of a steep target of 338 also came under the scanner.
Pakistani fans and experts also came up with angry reactions for their own team's fortune rested on the outcome of this game. With just one game in hand, Pakistan can now reach 11 points at the most while England can still make it to 12 points to pack the Men in Green home.
Former Pakistan speedster Waqar Younis even went to the extent of saying that "What do you do in life defines who you are..." taking a sharp dig at Virat Kohli's men.
The bitterness of the rivalry, which was buried under peace and bonhomie for a day, was out again. Basit Ali might be feeling even more vindicated as he was blasted for remarking that India would play badly against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to ensure that Pakistan are kept out of the fray.
This is not the first time, however, that India and Pakistan faced a point imbroglio in a multi-side tournament. In the Asia Cup of 2004, too, something similar had happened. In a crucial Super Four game in Colombo, Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat and riding Shoaib Malik's 143, Pakistan reached 300 for 9 in 50 overs. In reply, India had a poor start as Virender Sehwag returned early and Sachin Tendulkar and captain Sourav Ganguly led the chase thereafter. But the departure of Ganguly (39), Rahul Dravid (5) and Yuvraj Singh (28) saw India at 139 for 4 in the 25th over. Mohammad Kaif was also back soon and at 151 for 5, India clearly had little chances to win.
Now, here the game became interesting. That Asia Cup had a unique bonus point system. Under this rule, teams could fetch a bonus point had they succeeded to reach the target before a minimum point or even if they reached a certain total and not the target. For the defending side, restricting the opponents to a minimum score could also earn them the bonus.
When India sensed that reaching 301 was too difficult with only the lower order and tail left to accompany Tendulkar, they changed their plans and settled for the target of 240 which would earn them the bonus point. Under the bizarre rule where a team could get a point even by losing, India started a game of survival and scored only 90 runs between the 29th and 50th over. Tendulkar made 78 off 103 balls while Irfan Pathan scored 38 off 75 balls. The duo added only 63 runs in as many as 14 overs and India ended up at 241 for 8 in 5o overs and despite losing by 59 runs, that bonus point took them to the final. Pakistan lost out despite having a better net run-rate than India because they had no bonus points.
The average Indian supporter was unhappy to see India losing the game because of slow batting but it was a strategic win for the Men in Blue. Even a loss to Pakistan was deemed secondary in India's mission to make the finals.