Pakistan and India Cricket Rivalry in New York

Sun Jun 09 2024
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Shahid Akhtar Hashmi

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When Pakistan and India face off in a cricket match, the whole world watches! It is THE match of a World Cup and is watched by billions of fans around the world. It is THE match which the International Cricket Council fix in a schedule to get a kick-start to a World Cup. It is FIRE Vs FIRE on the field. A win is the ultimate goal for players, teams and fans. The two set of players do not want to lose.  Fans react sharply to a defeat. Players from the losing side get death threats, their families get scared and the cricket board gets chided from high-ups.

All this is because Pakistan vs India is THE rivalry of international cricket.


The New York’s Nassau Stadium will be filled with 34,000 fans which looks a small number to the one which was attended at the iconic Melbourne cricket ground in October 2023. The official attendance was 90.293. It grew in Ahmedabad when India and Pakistan met at the gigantic Narendra Modi stadium in October 2023. The official number was 110,000 fans. The ICC said the live streaming at the peak hour of that match was 35 million viewers. The eyeballs and the bum on the seats prove that it is THE match of a mega event.

Sunday’s game will be a new experience for the India and Pakistan diaspora living in the United States. The locals are neither interested in cricket nor they got the tickets which are mainly bought – at exorbitant prices. There are reports that a ticket for the match is sold at a whopping price of 22K US dollars. Still, fans are ready to buy. The hotels in and around New York have been booked at an overcharged rate and even the BNB outlets are turning down fans. This happens only when there is THE match of cricket!


The family of Mohammad Usman lives in New Jersey which is around two hours drive from New York. The cricket-mad businessman has been travelling from his house to the ground every day to watch Indian team practice, play and roam around the hotel. Now Usman and his family are gearing up to watch the match. They are still optimistic, like most of the Pakistan fans, that Babar Azam-led Team Green will rise to the occasion and stage a comeback in the World Cup after being shamed by the newcomers and part-timers USA team. “We were lucky to get the ticket in the ballot and although a lot of my acquaintances were offering four times the price for these tickets, I resisted and will watch the match with my family. It will be a lifetime experience for my kids who have never watched a match at the ground,” Usman told

What more to say of the insatiable desire to watch a Pakistan-India match. It is THE match of this World Cup.

The New York stadium has been criticized for lacklustre matches in this World Cup. The first match at this stadium saw Sri Lanka shot out for a paltry 77 as their batters found the bounce and seam tough to handle. Even the South African batters, more experienced and formidable than their rivals, found it tough to chase the low total. South Africa lost four wickets and crossed the line only in 16.2 overs. A total of 127 dot balls happened in that match, 74 in Sri Lanka innings and 52 in the second innings. In the next game, involving India and Ireland, the latter were shot out for 96 and India took 12.2 overs to chase that. Several players from both the sides were hit on the body as the up and down deliveries were tough to avoid. The ICC had to come out in the defence of the pitches – prepared by Australian coach Daimen Hough in Florida – and hoped they will improve in the coming matches. A bad pitch in THE biggest match will spoil the whole show and become an anathema for the event.


There were reports of threats as well. The ICC and the NY government have made special arrangements for the match and there will be a heightened security for the match. The NY state governor Kathy Hochul told the media she has ordered special security for THE game.  “I have also directed the New York State Police to engage in elevated security measures, including an increased law enforcement presence, advanced surveillance, and thorough screening processes,” said Hochul. “Public safety is my top priority and we are committed to ensuring the Cricket World Cup is a safe, enjoyable experience.”

 ON-field tussle:

On the field the two uncompromising sets of players are never ready to give an inch to their rivals, for they know about the reaction from the fans. The players involved term it “just another game,” but it is not “just another game.” How can a match which is played by 22 players but watched by millions around the world with emotions involved be “just another game.” It is THE game and players know it from inside and outside.

Pakistan are clearly the underdogs. They have lost all eight of the ODI World Cup matches since 1992. The record in Twenty20 World Cup is also 7-1 in favour of India. Pakistan team will also be low on confidence after being humbled by minnows USA in their first game. One more loss will put them close to the exit door of the mega event. That will multiply the pressure. But it is THE game so Babar and the other ten players on the field will know that they have to lift themselves. They have to remind themselves of the ten-wicket win they achieved in Dubai in 2021.They also have to remind themselves on how not to lose a match from a winning position. That they did at the MCG in 2022, losing from a 48 needed off three overs.


The man who snatched victory from Pakistan’s jaws was none other than Virat Kohli. The maestro has been India’s strength against Pakistan in most of the white ball contests. In the last five Twenty20 World Cup matches, Kohli has won three man-of-the-match awards, with four in winning causes. Kohli scored 78 not out and took a wicket in Colombo in 2012. Then scored 36 not out in another win in Dhaka two years later. Kohli grabbed the man-of-the-match award in Kolkata when India again won, scoring 55 not out. The only time India finished on the losing side was in Dubai in 2021 but he still top-scored with a fighting 57. Kohli played one of the best innings in a T20I or a World Cup when he anchored India’s 160-run chase with a sublime 82 not out off 53 balls.

So Kohli is THE batter to dismiss in this match.

Pakistan will have to show aggression, like the one Pakistan showed in the “TEA WAS FANTASTIC episode in 2019.

So sit and savour this rivalry. The India-Pakistan match is set to ignite this WORLD CUP.

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