Why can't Pakistan beat India in the Cricket World Cup?

This question was originally answered on Quora. Answer below by Quora user Akshay Kanitkar. 

Short answer: Superior temperament, better captaincy, handling pressure in tricky situations, fielding (which got better & better over the years) & attitude of Indian cricketers than their Pakistani counterparts.

Long answer: Let us see all the World Cup matches between the 2 teams one by one (in brief)

1. 1992 World Cup: 4 March 1992, Sydney. India won by 43 runs

Pakistan India world cup encounters

As we all know, India batted first and made 216/7 in 49 overs. In those days, teams used to have higher chances of winning, if they can make 200+ runs. Pakistan, being a shaky chaser, lost 2 quick wickets, but then had a brilliant partnership. India was getting desperate & hence, Kiran More started sledging Jawed Miandad. Here, temperament came into play. Miandad got distracted, hence he couldn't score runs quickly & gave away his wicket, which started the collapse of Pakistani innings.

2. 1996 World Cup: 9 March 1996, Bangalore. India won by 39 runs

It was a big stage, as it was World Cup Quarter finals, which meant, the winners would make their way to the Semi Finals & the loser is out of the tournament. India started off well, with Navjot Sidhu's 93 & other batsmen making reasonable contributions. In the end, Ajay Jadeja played a flashy innings of 45 off just 25 balls. He was brutal, especially on Waqar Younis. Pakistan started brilliantly with Aamir Sohail & Saeed Anwar in majestic touch. But then, all of a sudden, Aamir lost his cool & challenged Venkatesh Prasad to hit his balls for fours to extra cover boundary. What happened next? Aamir's off stump went flying the next ball & Pakistan lost momentum. They were playing at nearly 8 runs per over & suddenly Indian bowlers took control. Pakistan took so much pressure on themselves that they couldn't score runs, even on part timers like Sachin Tendulkar & Ajay Jadeja. Result - India made it 2-0 in World Cups against Pakistan.

3. 1999 World Cup: 8 June 1999, Manchester. India won by 47 runs

It was the summers of 1999 & simultaneously, both the countries were in between the Kargil War, hence both were motivated to win the contest at any cost. India batted first & scored a mere 227. This was a small score by any standard & Pakistan should've win this one with ease. The ball was swinging both ways & Pakistani batsmen had no answer to Javagal Srinath's in swingers & Venkatesh Prasad's out swingers. They got into their shell & were never able to came out of it.

4. 2003 World Cup: 1 March 2003, Centurion. India won by 6 wickets

It was a contest which was more hyped as Sachin Tendulkar vs Shoaib Akhtar, rather than India vs Pakistan. Sachin was in superb form & eventually became the highest scorer in that World Cup. Pakistan batted first & scored 273. Only Saeed Anwar scored a century (101), but other batsmen made sure that the score reaches outside India's reach. Given Pakistan's bowling line up, IT WAS INDEED TOUGH.Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, with Abdur Razzaq's reverse swing with the older ball means, Pakistan could register their 1st victory against India in World Cups. But, India started off brilliantly & crossed 50 in less than 5 overs. Both, Sachin & Sehwag were hitting Pakistani bowlers out of the park, including that iconic upper cut of Sachin off Shoaib Akhtar. Wasim Akram later revealed in an interview that Shoaib didn't want to bowl another over, after being hit for 18 in his first over. This shows the temperament & attitude of Shoaib Akhtar. If it was 1990s, Indian innings might have collapsed after Sachin's dismissal, but it was an Indian team under Saurav Ganguly's captaincy, who didn't learn to give up & Mohd Kaif, Rahul Dravid & Yuvraj Singh completed the chase & made it 4-0.

I must say, after this victory, the gap (not the margin of victory, but quality of team & temperament) between the 2 teams started getting wider with every match

5. 2007 World T20: 14 September 2007, Durban. India won by bowl out

It was the 1st ever World T20 & to be honest, no one knew, how to approach in this format. India batted first & lost Gambhir & Sehwag early & were tottering at 9/2. Robin Uthappa came to rescue & late surge by Dhoni, Irfan Pathan & Ajit Agarkar took India to a fighting total of 141. Pakistan started a tad better than Indians, but lost their way & were reduced to 47/4. Then, Misbah came to Pak's rescue & took Pak closer to the Indian score. It was 1 required off last ball, but Misbah (like his predecessors), lost his nerves & got run out. IT WAS A TIE! No one had idea about the bowl out, but here India's newly appointed captain, MS Dhoni showed smartness & brought his slower bowlers Virendra Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh & Robin Uthappa. All of them hit the stumps, where as Pakistan went into the bowl out with Umar Gul, Yasir Arafat & eventually, a spinner - Shahid Afridi. Both Gul & Arafat missed the stumps & after it went 2-0, Afridi too couldn't handle the pressure & missed his chance. India showed smartness & made it 5-0 in World Cups.

6. 2007 World T20: 24 September 2007, Johannesburg. India won by 5 runs

At the start of the tournament (like all other ICC Events), everyone dreamt of India - Pakistan final & guess what, it happened. India batted first & with Gautam Gambhir's 75 & Rohit Sharma's quickfire 30, they scored 157, which could've proved a challenging total, as it was the finals of the World Cup & it seemed big, because the team that was chasing it was Pakistan, who, as I mentioned above were not the best of the chasers. Every alternate Pakistani batsmen made runs & it was again Misbah, who took them close to victory. It was a typical pressure game between India & Pakistan, where it was a see-saw situation after every over. Pakistan needed 13 off last over & trust me, the way Misbah was batting, even 20 runs were easy to get. Even though, Harbhajan Singh gave 36 runs in his 3 overs, everyone was hoping that he'll come out to bowl the last over. After all, he was our best spinner & only 'quality' bowler with one over left. But hey, MS Dhoni - India's newly appointed captain had other plans. To everyone's surprise, he called Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over. Misbah hit him for a six & all Indians got a near heart attack. But then, Misbah, who was hitting the ball cleanly till now, tried getting cheeky & to every Pakistani's horror, played a scoop shot. The ball went up in the air & Sreesanth, who was strategically placed at short fine leg, completed the catch & made it 6-0 against Pakistan in World Cups. Once again, Pakistan lost to their nerves, rather than Indian bowling.

7. 2011 World Cup: 30 March 2011, Mohali. India won by 29 runs

Another World Cup knockout match between India & Pakistan, again India knocked out Pakistan comfortably. Sachin Tendulkar was on 99 Hundreds & everyone wished it to come in this match, as it was against Pakistan. Sachin delivered, scored 85 after getting lucky for 5 times. Pakistani spinners restricted India to just 260, which looked like at least 40 runs short. Pakistanis started briskly & the lowest score among the Top 6 was 13, but that was it. No one could score more than 56 & the Pakistan faltered once again, chasing a score in a World Cup knockout game. India entered into the finals & eventually won the World Cup after 28 years.

8. 2012 World T 20: 30 September 2012, Colombo. India won by 8 wickets

Pakistan batted first & honestly, in Imran Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Kamran & Umar Akmal, everyone was considering a good score by them. But, Indian spinners came to party & between Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin & Virat Kohli, they bowled 10 overs, gave 53 runs & took 5 wickets. The tailenders were cleaned by Balaji & he was the most successful Indian bowler with 3 wickets. Indians lost Gambhir early, but Sehwag & Kohli made sure that they don't get into trouble. Kohli was hitting spinners & pacers with equal disdain. India lost Sehwag, but Yuvraj & Kohli sailed India to home & registered one of the easiest victories against Pakistan in World Cups.

9. 2014 World T20: 21 March 2014, Dhaka. India won by 7 wickets

India again outshone Pakistan here, I would say, by captaincy. Dhoni knew about Dhaka pitch would be a turner, hence included an extra spinner in Amit Mishra, apart from Ashwin & Jadeja; Yuvraj was also used, which made it 4 spinners bowling on a turning track. Mishra took 2 for 22 in his 4, Jadeja took 1 for 18 in his four & Ashwin, though was wicketless, but gave only 23 runs in his four overs & that too, in the powerplay, opening the bowling. Result - Pakistan could only score 130 in their 20 overs, which India chased easily, losing just 3 wickets. Once again, it was Virat Kohli who remained not out & was the highest scorer for India. Pakistan played 3 seamers in Junaid Khan, Umar Gul & Bilawal Bhatti. Here, they lost only because of Dhoni's smart captaincy.

10. 2015 World Cup, 15 February 2015, Adelaide. India won by 76 runs

Just like the previous two occasions, Virat Kohli chose this occasion to score a World Cup 100 & showed how solid is his temperament. Apart from Kohli, Raina made 74 & Dhawan made 73 & India scored 300. Trust me, Pakistan could have never chased this. Top 3 out of 4 from Pakistan scored 47, 36 & 76, but other 8 batsmen could only score 53 runs between them. India kept the pressure on the Pakistani batsmen for full 50 overs, & true to their characteristics, Pakistani batsmen were never able to come out of it. Once again, it was Virat Kohli who was the Man of the Match. Because of his splendid hundred, India extend their World Cup winning streak against Pakistan to 10-0

11. 2016 World T 20, 19 March 2016, Kolkata. India won by 6 wickets

Going by the team composition & even after India losing to New Zealand, I was more than 100% sure that the streak would extend to 11-0. Not only because I'm an Indian, but it was the team composition, mental strength of both the teams, bowling (India is a unit & Pakistan = Mohd Amir), Batting & fielding (India is miles ahead in both the areas). Even a Pakistani fan would agree that Sharjeel Khan & Ahmed Shehzad is no where close to their best ever opening partnership ever - Saeed Anwar & Aamir Sohail. Mohd Aamir could be Wasim Akram in making, but where are Waqar Younis or Shoaib Akhtars or Saqlain Mushtaqs of new generation. Seriously, this was one the weakest Pakistani bowling units, I've ever witnessed. Coming on the match, Pakistan started cautiously, but they continued in the same manner & were actually never able to break free. Result - they could only manage 118. India was a little uncertain in the beginning by losing Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan & Suresh Raina by 23 on the board, but Yuvraj Singh made sure that he, along with the 3rd time Man of the match in India - Pakistan World Cup matches, Virat Kohli take India home. Yuvraj fall just before the victory, but Dhoni finished it in style & made it 11-0

Conclusion: What Pakistan needs is a mental & a fielding coach. Their players are talented, they know how to hit the ball, how to get reverse swing, but they don't know, what to do in pressure situations. It's a process & might even take 5-6 years, if they start now. Also, they need players like Virat Kohli, who can stay calm in pressure situations (remember Asia Cup 2016?). What they also need is a captain cool, which (I'm sorry Pakistani friends, but it's a harsh reality) is not someone like Afridi. Appoint a young gun as your captain. One, who is calm, understands the game, knows strengths & weaknesses of his colleagues. I can either think of Sarfaraz Ahmed from the current lot or no one. You need to tell me.

Also, invest in a fielding coach. Remember Hardik Pandya's catch in the last match? India's ground fielding these days is at par (or even better than) with South Africa, Australia & New Zealand. Look at fielders like Ravinder Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma - the list is endless. Fielding gets you wickets from no where & good fielders can save 20 - 25 runs, which is equivalent to a batsman's runs in a T20. 
Why can't Pakistan beat India in the Cricket World Cup? Why can't Pakistan beat India in the Cricket World Cup? Reviewed by Unknown on March 25, 2016 Rating: 5

No comments