India and Pakistan – the arch rivals have been involved in some of the most memorable cricket matches ever played in the history of cricket. It’s also one of the fiercest rivalries that the cricketing world has witnessed. Talking about the past, we have seen so many nail-biting finishes involving both these giants. The fact that these two mammoth teams play against each other only in the ICC tournaments and the Asia Cup, make the matches even more exciting.

It’s been a never-ending debate for fans – Which team is better? Pakistan has the better overall record against India, whilst India has dominated over the other in ICC tournaments as well as outplaying them in the last ten years. If you dig out the numbers from the past and listen to all the debates, you would come to the conclusion that this has to be the most competitive battle between two nations at present. In fact, it’s the opposite.

Let’s take an example of the previous 4 encounters played between both the nations – two in the Champions Trophy played last year and two in the recent group stages of the Asia Cup 2018. In all of these matches, one team dominated the other and won quite convincingly meaning no competition whatsoever. If you see the Asia Cup group stage games, the India vs Hong Kong encounter was more competitive than the India Pakistan encounter.

This is the reason why the clash becomes massively overhyped. As far as the fans are concerned, it doesn’t matter if the game gets close or not, they’ll cheer as hard as possible, for their respective nations. Just how players of both teams say ‘it’s just like every other match’, this encounter needs to be treated like one. This will negate the expectations and therefore increase the competitiveness of the game.

There’s a reason why it is the best rivalry in cricket and without competitiveness, the rivalry becomes pointless. With the World Cup next year, this game would definitely be the most exciting game to watch out for. But, it would be a match made in heaven, when the game turns out to be a close one!

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