Yes you read it right! Despite having 6-0 record at ICC World Cup and 4-0 at World T20 (1 match being tied and India won it by bowl out), India still trails 2-1 when it comes to ICC Champions Trophy (earlier ICC KnockOut or Mini World Cup).
Though India is in tremendous form in limited over cricket, Pakistan is all set to make it count 3-1 when they somehow manage to qualify this Champions’ World Cup. Pakistan started their campaign with victory over Asian mate Bangladesh chasing towering total of 342, thanks to Fahim Ashraf’s unbeaten 30 balls 64 at the end. Their bowling unit is all set to upset Indian toughest batting unit when they take on arch-rivals on June 4 at Birmingham, the same venue where India won their previous encounter against Pakistan at Champions Trophy in 2013.
Let’s take a look at those three games between the teams at the Champions Trophy.
2004: Scripted Win by Pakistan
After three mixed attempt of mini World Cup, finally it was India vs Pakistan for the first time in Champions Trophy. Also an ICC tournament back in England after 1999 World Cup. India, the defending champions of Champions Trophy (shared with Sri Lanka after successive washout final at 2002 tournament) without Sachin Tendulkar asked to bat first by Inzamam-ul-Haq at Birmingham. Meticulous Pakistani pace attack bowled out India in the final over for just 200, a total that India could hardly defend on such surface. Thanks to Shoaib Akthar (4-36) and Naved Rana (4-25) for the furious spells.
In the ICC tournaments, India is far better than Pakistan even it comes to defend a low total. India had done such low score defense twice before that game at ICC tournament (defended 227 at 1999 WC and 216 at 1992 WC). Even Irfan Pathan produced much needed spell for India with Pakistan’s top-three down for 27 in 11th over. But classy innings by Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana (then) scripted a stunning victory over India and they beat them for the first time in ICC tournament. Youhana with his unbeaten 81 was the star of the match.
2009: A vintage Pakistan Show
It all started with traditional formula in ODI cricket for Pakistan to double the 30 overs score at the end of the innings. From 131 for 3 after 31 overs, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Yousuf accelerated Pakistan innings to finish 302 for 9. Yet again Mohammad Yousuf played another innings of his class (87 off 88) with the help of Shoaib Malik’s 128 off 126. At that time, 300 chases were not that difficult as T20 cricket was emerging rapidly all over the world.
Chasing 300-plus, Gautam Gambhir gave India’s innings a sensational start. At other end Tendulkar keeping eye on ball could not produce the start Gambhir wanted. Before running out on Dravid’s yes-no call, his 46-ball 57 had taken India to 90 for 1 in the 14th over. India’s middle order failure gave Pakistan the momentum to come back in the game. Raina’s 46 off 41 which guided 72 run fifth-wicket partnership with Dravid was halted by Saeed Ajmal followed by Pathan and Harbhan Singh and India losing momentum from here swinging the match finally the Pakistan’s way.
2013: India’s show this time
Trailing 2-0 in the Champions Trophy, India won both the Group B games against South Africa and West Indies by fair margin. This time it was Pakistan who was out of the tournament and they had nothing to lose against table topper India. Opting bowl first after winning the toss, MS Dhoni’s young army came exceptionally well with their young bowling unit. A dead pitch which suited best for Asian bowlers in overcast condition, where Indian spinners won the battle against Pakistan pace attack. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowled against their natural game but resulted two-wickets each at the end. Pakistan bowled out for 165 in less than 40 overs, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvaneshwar also bagged two-wickets each alongside Ashwin-Jadeja duo.
India was asked to chase 167 because of the rain break during Pakistan’s innings and Indian openers started fearlessly as they did in both the previous games. It mattered most when rain further reduced the target for India to 102 from 22 overs which India managed in 19.1 overs losing just 2 wickets and beat Pakistan for the first and only time in Champions Trophy.
Now it’s Virat Kohli who will be leading from the front for India for the first time in any ICC tournament alongside his well experienced ex-captain MS Dhoni. Obviously the pressure game will test Kohli’s characteristics at away conditions and a short-span ICC tournament which he will be focusing from game one.