When you find less people on the roads and more around TV showrooms, when your cook bunks for the evening all of a sudden, when your boyfriend does not reply to your texts all evening, then you know it's an India-Pakistan face-off in the World Cup. And good luck trying to get a taxi tomorrow evening.
India versus Pakistan is like Batman versus Superman. Millions of fans are glued to their television screens regardless of whether or not they even follow the sport religiously.
With the latest version of the Indo-Pak World Cup edition approaching soon, we at SportsCafe thought of combining superstars from across decades to play the 2016 T20 World Cup instead of the current squad.
Disclaimer – The following fantasy matchup will contain some very outlandish imagination and few sips of borderline insanity from the writer, so readers are suggested to get parental guidance, spouse’s permission or both, before reading this.
India vs Pakistan, 19th March, 2016
Venue – Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Toss – Pakistan win the toss and elect to bat first.
*The players and Umpire make their way to the centre with Navjot Singh Siddhu and Sunil Gavaskar in the commentary box*
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “Sunny bhai, this is THE match. The grand daddy of all. The Mamma Mia of International Cricket. This is what we have been most eagerly waiting for ever since the release of Deadpool, isn’t it?
Sunil Gavaskar : “Well Sherry...”
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “Good one, Sunil Bhai. With Himesh Reshammiya’s new movie ‘Aap ka suroor’ soon to release, this is what will keep us sane. Our knight in shining armour, isn’t it?”
Sunil Gavaskar : “Of cour...”
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “Oh Sunny Bhai wonderfully said. Chak de phatte, napp de killi subha jallandhar, shaam nu Dilli. Sunny Bhai. Brruahhhhh!”
Sunil Gavaskar : “K.”
Start of the 1st Innings
Shahid Afridi and Saaed Anwar open the innings for Pakistan with Zaheer Khan and Bishan Singh Bedi opening the bowling for India.
Pakistan 25/2 after 3 overs
Shahid Afridi : b Zaheer Khan 6 runs (0x4 1x6)
A first-ball sixer followed by the stumps getting shattered in the very next delivery, a classic Lala innings comes to a quick end.
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “Sunny Bhai, the gap between the bat and the pad was so much that I could have driven a tractor through it whilst holding a cold glass of lassi in my right hand.”
Saeed Anwar : st Dhoni b Bedi 18 runs (2x4 0x6)
Bishan Singh Bedi gets the better of Saeed Anwar as Dhoni quickly dislodges the stumps for a trademark MSD lighting-quick stumping.
Pakistan 70/2 after 9 overs
Javed Miandad hits a boundary off Kumble and goes on to celebrate it in front of Virat Kohli. Some unreal level of banter happening between the two hotheads on the field. Would be interesting if Kohli retaliates later in the match.
Ramiz Raja : “These two are the perfect examples of how to do it safely because these two are really playing it safely.”
Pakistan 102/3 after 13 overs
Zaheer Abbas : c Sachin b Kumble 24 runs (2x4 0x6)
Zaheer Abbas flicks one to mid-wicket but Sachin Tendulkar makes no mistake in taking a low catch down to his left. Inzamam-ul-Haq has walked in to bat.
Sunil Gavaskar: “Ramiz bhai, with Inzi coming out to bat, Pakistan will now fail to convert the ones into twos and twos into threes.”
Pakistan 110/4 after 13 overs
Javed Miandad : run-out by Kohli 32 runs (3x4 1x6)
A ridiculous confusion between Inzi and Miandad results in an easy run-out by Virat Kohli who gives a warm send-off to Mr. Javed Miandad sending him back to the pavilion.
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “My friend, when you are dining with a demon, you got to have a long spoon.”
Pakistan 128/7 after 16 overs
Inzamam-ul-Haq : lbw b Ravi Shastri 20 runs (2x4 1x6)
Moin Khan : b Kapil Dev 2 runs (0x4 0x6)
Wasim Akram : c Dhoni b Kapil Dev 1 run (0x4 0x6)
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “The way Pakistan wickets are falling reminds me of the cycle stand in Rajendra Talkies in Patiala... one falls and all other fall following it."
Final score – Pakistan 162/9 after 20 overs
Imran Khan : 51* runs (3x4 2x6)
A valiant effort from captain Imran Khan sees Pakistan put up a respectable total of 162 for the loss of 9 wickets at the end of 20 overs.
Russell Arnold : “In the end, it will all come down to who scores the most runs. The team that does not win will find itself on the losing side.”
Sunny Gavaskar : “...”
Harsha Bhogle : “Sunny bhai is waiting for the world under his feet to open up and him finding a crevice large enough for him to slip through”.
The start of the 2nd innings –
Virender Sehwag and Kris Srikanth step out for the Indians as the deadly duo of Wasim-Waqar will lead Pakistan's bowling attack.
India 46/2 after 6 overs
Virender Sehwag : lbw b Wasim Akram 24 runs (4x4 1x6)
Kris Srikanth : c Zaheer Abbas b Waqar 18 runs (4x4 0x6)
The Pakistani opening bowlers cause havoc in the initial stages of the Indian innings with pace and swing, but some counter-attacking display from the openers gets India off to a respectable start.
Harsha Bhogle :”The Pakistani fast bowlers are so good that at times we wonder why we didn’t just import them across the border”
India 76/3 after 10 overs
Sachin Tendulkar : c Inzamam-ul-haq b Saqlain 14 runs (1x4 0x6)
The ball grips on to the surface of the pitch as Sachin goes early into the shot scooping a simple catch to Inzamam at covers.
Navjot Singh Siddhu : “Oh, guru! Pitches are like wives, you never know what to expect from them”
India 83/4 after 13 overs
Virat Kohli : c Shahid Afridi b Imran Khan 27 runs (3x4 0x6)
A brilliant in-swinger from Imran Khan gets Virat Kohli caught in the deep by Afridi who does his trademark celebration. India in a spot of bother here.
Navjot Singh Siddhu: “The ball went up so high, it could have hit an airhostess”
India 98/5 after 14 overs
Wasim Akram is brought back into the attack, and he torments Yuvraj Singh for an entire over before squaring him up on the final delivery.
Yuvraj Singh : c M Khan b Wasim Akram 6 runs (1x4 0x6)
Harsha Bhogle: "He looked as uncomfortable as a bum on a porcupine”
India 119/6 after 16 overs
Kapil Dev : b Waqar Younis 15 runs (0x4, 2x6)
Kapil Dev tries to accelerate but eventually an in-swinging Yorker by Waqar cleans him up shattering all three stumps.
Ravi Shastri and MS Dhoni have to chase down 43 runs off the last 24 balls.
India 126/6 after 16.3 overs
Typical Pakistan standards of fielding come to surface as M.S Dhoni is dropped by Saeed Anwar in the deep - this could very well have been the end for India. Pakistan may be left to rue this chance.
Navjot Singh Siddhu : ”The ball slipped from this hand like butter off hot Parathas.”
India 140/7 after 18 overs
Ravi Shastri : c Shahid Afridi b Saqlain 14 runs (1x4, 1x6)
The first Indian to hit 6 sixes in an over, Ravi Shastri, starts Saqlain’s over with a six but ends up getting caught later in the over.
India 152/7 after 19 overs
MS Dhoni digs out a Wasim Akram yorker to get a boundary in the short fine-leg region. At the other end, Anil Kumble complements him well with a very awkward dive to reach his crease during a quick single off the last ball.
EQUATION : 11 runs required off 6 balls with MS Dhoni on strike, Waqar Younis with the ball.
Ball 1 : 1 run scored, Anil Kumble run-out!
MS Dhoni hits it down to long-on, Kumble turns around for a second but gets run-out thanks to Shahid Afridi’s good throw.
(10 runs required off 5 balls)
Ball 2 : 2 runs scored
MS Dhoni once again hits it down the ground, but this time Zaheer Khan, who is clearly quicker than Kumble, makes it back safely.
(8 runs required off 4 balls)
Ball 3 : 0 runs
Waqar Younis with a trademark yorker which MSD barely keeps away from his stumps, but they manage two runs off it.
(8 runs required off 3 balls)
Ball 4 : 2 runs
MS Dhoni edges one towards short third-man, but a good diving effort from Javed Miandad saves a boundary and keeps it down to just 2 runs.
(6 required off 2 balls)
Ball 5 : 1 run scored, Zaheer Khan run-out
MS Dhoni drives the ball straight down the ground, but some good fielding in the deep sees Zaheer Khan sacrifice his wicket to keep Dhoni on strike for the last ball.
(5 required off 1 ball)
Waqar Younis is steaming in.
MS Dhoni looks set to swing the hardest he has in his life.
Waqar tries to once again go for his trademark in-swinging yorker.
But the ball lands just in front of MS Dhoni’s feet this time.
Dhoni decides that it is time to take out the helicopter.
MS Dhoni bludgeons it using all the strength he possesses and plays the helicopter shot.
The ball goes up the air. Its going. Its going. And its GONE!
Into the 3 row, all the way for a 108-meter six as the Eden Gardens crowd goes berserk.
Captain Cool has finished it off with his iconic six and picks up the middle stump to take home.
MATCH RESULT :
India win the match off the last ball with 1 wicket remaining.
Man of the Match :
Imran Khan for a brilliant all-round display with the bat, ball and for his captaincy.
(You may also be interested in Combined India-Pakistan All-time XI squad)