Sunday, March 27, 2011

[Social Eye] The War Without Bloodshed

The Indian subcontinent got partitioned in August 1947 and two nations ideologically polar opposites of one another came into existence on the world map - India and Pakistan.
From day one differences sprouted between the two on varying levels, may it be marking of the border or the division of resources, the two were never content with each others meager efforts for appeasement so much so that they fought three full fledged wars with each other with further bloodshed being narrowly averted on various occasions.
Come the late nineties, and both the countries had nuclear arsenal up their sleeves which lead to a certain Cold War between the two which exists to this date progressing and regressing from various degrees of animosity periodically. The two try to appear saccharine affront but behind the scenes the same sentiment of deep rooted hatred for one another springs up with far-right parties like Shiv Sena constantly adding fuel to the fire.
The advent of sophisticated weapons in the armory of these arch-rivals also to some extent helped maintain a balance of power between the two that lead to less instances of deteriorating diplomatic ties and the battlefield dragged itself from the plains of Punjab and the snow clad peaks of Kargil to the 22-yard, bare patch of cricket and the glistening AstroTurf of field hockey. War got confined to sporting arenas with the intensity still there as it became a matter of salvaging national pride rather than fighting for the ultimate regional superiority. Games between the two are not games anymore and have never been so, they are more like ruthless gladiator battles of the Colosseum, full of ferocity, vehemence, emotion and partisanship.
You see I am biased...there is no point going objective in an Indo-Pak encounter
The game of cricket is the most widely and wildly followed sport in the subcontinent. One can easily infer from this statement that cricket matches between India and Pakistan are no simple business...they are a multidimensional contest culminating into surprising levels of raw emotion so much so that patients suffering from heart and blood-pressure abnormalities in both countries are advised to stay away from these encounters.
These matches are fervently followed and the build-up is normally awe-aspiring which is, lately, compounded by the fact that India and Pakistan haven't played bilateral contests in the subcontinent after the relations between the two hit a new low in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Now the matches are even more closely followed with Masjids and Mandirs reverberating with prayers prior to every match.
One such match is scheduled to be played in Mohali, India on March 30th 2011 with stakes possibly higher than ever before - it is the semifinal of this year's cricket world cup!! Tournament organizers couldn't have asked for anything better.
The match is touted as the final before the final and the path to the anticipated match is littered with an amazing buildup; news bulletins spend half their time on presenting news pieces about the game, sports channels show the promos a zillion times a day, Facebook is dotted with nationalist statuses and DPs and mobile inboxes are inundated with patriotic SMSs. In short, this tie has captured the imagination of the Indians and Pakistanis alike an it lingers over the subcontinent as a dark storm cloud in a scorching summer - the difference being that after roaring along for a few hours it will drench only one of the two sides with the cold, soothing water of victory.

Stats and Trivia
  • Pakistan and India met in four WorldCup clashes prior to this one (1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003) with India standing victorious on all occasions.
  • From 1978-2009, the two teams competed in 119 ODIs with Pakistan winning 69 and India winning 46.
  • In the period of 2000-2010, the rivals faced off in 41 One Day Internationals with Pakistan again leading with 22 wins compared to India's 19.
  • In the 4 Day/Night matches played in India since 2004, Pakistan won 3 and lost 1.
  • Pakistan played India in PCA Stadium, Mohali on 2 occasions and won both times.
  • Sachin Tendulkar is yet to score a century on this Mohali wicket but averages the most among current Indian and Pakistani players in D/N matches at this ground - 69.50 runs per inning with a high score of 99.
  • The leading wicket taker in D/N matches at PCA, Mohali is Harbajhan Singh with 9 scalps but surprisingly so, save for Saqlain Mushtaq, the rest of the top 10 wicket takers are all fast bowlers.

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