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EDITORIAL: As destiny would have it, Shaheen Afridi's very first over decided the match in favour of Pakistan against India in Dubai on Sunday - his express delivery swung in to trap Rohit Sharma, 'the big wicket', leg before the wicket. He then set about denting the Indian dream to return home with World Cup. India did recover, albeit modestly, with skipper Kohli hitting the half century, but the end was not far. India was restricted to 151 for 7, a score big enough for a T20 match, but not big enough to cope with what was on the way. The Babar-Rizwan duo stood their ground like rocks blunting India's repeated attacks and secured for their country a 10-wicket victory. Of the seven T20 World Cup matches the two sides played, this was Pakistan's first win, and what a win the nation celebrated as if it has won a war against the perennial foe. Of course the way forward remains unpredictable since cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and New Zealand is another formidable contender in the group. But certainly there is light at the end of the tunnel. Australian legend Shane Warne says Pakistan are favourites to win the T20 World Cup. This very encounter in Dubai may indeed prove to be a game-changer. Skipper Babar Azam says the team will not look back when Pakistan lost all seven World Cup (50-over matches) and five games in T20. "To be honest, what has passed is beyond us. We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result". As for the past, "records are meant to be broken".

The two South Indian rivals have only played in international events like the World Cups and the Champion Trophies, and no bilateral matches since 2007. Will they ever agree to play bilateral matches? Unfortunately, however, this question has no clear answer. It is interesting to note that Virat Kohli did not lose his composure; he openly conceded defeat but promised to equalize the score in days to come. Cricket is a sport, and in it both sides cannot be the winner. There is always a winner and a loser. If to someone defeat in the game is an unacceptable proposition he would be well-advised not to get into it. It may earn one the charge of being unpatriotic but it must be said that the sport should not be treated as war between two armed groups. However, there is no denying that the cricket competitions between India and Pakistan are strongly characterized by deeper political and diplomatic overtones. The India-Pakistan cricket match was one such contest.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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