Call it whatever you want, but the rivalry between India and Pakistan is something not even conflicts like the Battle of Thermopylae, the Hundred Years War or the World War can eclipse. The rivalry, which can even give the Cold War a run for its money, extends to not just warfare and politics, but also domains like literature and sports.
Whenever the teams of India and Pakistan lock horns for the top honors, irrespective of the sport, the tension is bound to rise. A win for India would just be the icing on the cake, and no matter how some folks try to downplay it, nothing tastes better than India defeating Pakistan by a handsome margin.
Two recent games played between India and Pakistan, not only demonstrate the high octane action that is involved in a match between the two, but also proved who the boss of the trade is. Not only did India win both the games, they also whitewashed their rivals to the extent that the consecutive defeats cannot be erased by the Pakistanis that easily.
Game 1 : 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters
On the lines of ICC Champions Trophy/FIH Champions Trophy, the top brass managing the sport of Kabaddi decided to launch their own Champions Trophy, titled ‘Kabaddi Masters’, which is being held in Dubai. The chief guest for the inaugural match was none other than our present Sports minister and ex Olympic medalist, Colonel (Retd.) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. What better way to start the tournament than having India and Pakistan as competitors for the opening match, held on Friday, 22nd June 2018.
The Indians, who are close to invincible in Kabaddi, with 3 consecutive World Championships and 7 consecutive Asian Games gold medals in their kitty, didn’t disappoint anyone, and outfoxed Pakistan on every single move. By the time the match was coming to a close, India had already taken an unassailable lead of 25-9, including more than one ‘all out’, where almost all the players are tackled effectively.
Star raiders Ajay Thakur, who is also the skipper of the Kabaddi team, Manjeet Chillar and Rohit Kumar starred as they denied Pakistan any reprieve. Even though the Pakistanis tried to stage a desperate comeback in the dying minutes of the game, it was still not enough to save the match, as India won by a handsome margin of 36-20. Not the one to let this go, Virender Sehwag took a dig at the results with this hilarious tweet:
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) June 22, 2018
Game 2 : 2018 FIH Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy
Given that the world body for field Hockey, FIH, had made up their minds to reform the hockey scenario once again with FIH Hockey Pro League and Hockey Series Open, the current edition of FIH Hockey Champions Trophy would be the last edition ever. Held in Breda, Netherlands, the tournament organizers decided to give this trophy a fitting tribute by organizing the opening match between two nations who once ruled field hockey like the ultimate bosses: India and Pakistan.
India were certainly not the favorites for this opening match, given that they’d finished out of the medal bracket at the Commonwealth Games and their coach had been changed within weeks. To add further salt to their wounds, the rivals had the same man who had led India to the finals in the 2016 edition as their coach: Roelant Oltmans.
However, as the match began, the equations changed drastically. Gone was the Team India which used to buckle under the pressure. Instead, the spectators witnessed the rise of a new Indian team, aggressive to the core and refusing to give an inch to their rivals. In the 24th minute, Ramandeep Singh brought smiles to the Indian corner by opening the Indian account with a crisp field goal. However, none of the spectators realized the surprise that was to come later.
For the next one quarter, none of the teams were able to make a serious dent on their rival’s goalposts. However, once again Team India surprised everybody with their superb defense against the Pakistani team, not letting a single penalty corner or direct hit get even close to the striking circle. Ironically, the defense is something India hasn’t been able to rectify and it has cost them dearly at Rio Olympics. But yesterday, it was that very defense which gave India a reason to smile.
The icing on the cake came in the last 6 minutes. Normally, India is infamous for buckling down in the final 5-6 minutes. But this time, Team India performed in contrast to that norm, scoring three goals in the last six minutes. Funnily enough, even their ex coach Oltmans had contributed in the same, by removing the Pakistani goalkeeper for the last 5 minutes! I guess he had blended well with Pakistani culture by that time! The cherry on the icing was provided by star drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh, who also displayed dark humor of the Indian hockey team as he replied to Virender Sehwag’s kabaddi tweet:
— Rupinder Pal Singh (@rupinderbob3) June 23, 2018
The best part about this match was that none of the goals came from either penalty corners or penalty strokes. All were crisp, direct hits, taken by four of the five forwards. With that, India proved to Pakistan who the boss was. I’m just worried about the fate of those who’re still trying to infiltrate the international border for their terror fest.