Mohali showdown: Do we put our faith in history?
Can Pakistan win against India in India, that too in a World Cup?
If one is to go down the memory lane, the answer would be that it is not likely to happen. After all, history is known to repeat itself, and it has already done so a few times in the 2011 World Cup as well.
For instance, Pakistan had never lost to Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium before, and history played true. The ever-unpredictable Pakistan managed to beat the consistent and highly-talented Sri Lanka once again, and quite easily as it appeared in the end.
And how can we forget South Africa and their chokers tag. It was a game that they should have won easily against New Zealand. The 222-run target was well within the abilities of one of the strongest batting line-ups in the tournament, including Hashim Amla, one of the leading One-Day International (ODI) batsmen right now. And they looked well set as they approached the modest total with wickets in hand. But then disaster (read panic) struck in the form of pacer Jacob Oram and spinner Nathan McCullum. Between them, they bowled out South Africa for 172 after the Proteas were well-set at 108 for two. So history maintains itself and South Africans, whether they like it or not, are still the chokers.
And then there was the famous 34-match unbeaten streak by the Aussies that started in 1999 when they were last defeated by Pakistan. And keeping true to form, it was Pakistan again who outclassed the defending champions in a World Cup match. And like 1999, it was a group match.
So how will history play out here? How do we want it to play out? Because if we want history to stick to its habits then India will beat Pakistan.
Pakistan have never managed to beat their archrivals in any of the four occasions the two sides have met in cricket’s showpiece event.
On the other hand, once again, if history is to be the decider, then India cannot win the World Cup either because no team has managed to lift the trophy on home turf so far.
New Zealand have never made it to a final before, even though they have been one of the most consistent performers in the ODI format. Sri Lanka have been an almost-permanent presence in the last-four since 1996, the year they won the trophy in Lahore. And they are a very strong side. Thus, history seems to suggest that India will beat Pakistan and then go down to Sri Lanka in the final.
But Pakistan have always been the gate-crasher. We did so in 1992, and I think there are a lot of people who think that Pakistan intend to do it once again.
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