Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Navjot Singh Sidhu. Image Credit: X

Whenever India takes on Pakistan in any format of the game, the players’ intensity and the fans’ emotions seem to be on a different level, as former India opener Navjot Singh Sidhu felt that winning against Pakistan offers the feeling of lifting the World Cup.

After a quite buzzing start in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA), American fans have geared up for a high-voltage game between the two neighbouring Asia countries on June 09, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

In the last competition meeting between these two sides at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), it was Virat Kohli’s exceptional knock of unbeaten 82 runs that almost single-handedly carried the team over the line.

‘There is no batting for the Pakistan side’ – Navjot Singh Sidhu

India and Pakistan are coming into the game, on the back of different emotions and resulting in the ongoing competition. The inaugural champions of the tournament started off with a bang against Ireland, as they chased down a small target of 97-runs with seven wickets in hand, and almost eight-overs to spare.

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On the flip of the coin, Pakistan have a huge shocker in the hands of the co-host America, where they lost in the super-over, after failing to chase down 19-runs against the terrific bowling of Saurabh Netravalkar.

Even though most of the India batters looked in good shape and form, as Jasprit Bumrah and co. picked up wickets against Ireland, while captain Rohit Sharma celebrated a fantastic fifty, the concern is on the other dressing room.

The Pakistan captain Babar Azam didn’t have a great outing with the bat, while most of their bowlers struggled with line and lengths, whereas the whole team lacked planning and execution.

The former India player Navjot Singh Sidhu expressed his view on the rivalry that both these teams have shared over the years. He also understood the fact that it becomes so hard for the players and the fans to accept defeat, given how emotionally they get connected with the clash.

‘No one accepts defeat here. It’s the culture of retribution. Defeat is not bitter if you swallow it, but here no one wants to accept the defeat. You lose from anyone; you should not lose against Pakistan. If you win against Pakistan, you have won a World Cup. People equate,” Navjot Singh Sidhu reflected during an interview with ‘India Today.

Both these teams don’t play each other in bilateral series, because of various political reasons, and that’s why the Asia Cups and the ICC tournaments become so vital for them to show their caliber against each other. Sigh put his weight speaking on how things have changed of late.

‘There is always backlash and retribution over loss. No one wants to lose here. However, now things have changed a bit, as the teams do not get to play against each other quite often. It’s the sportsperson who connects, as cricket match is a unifier,” 60-year-old remarked.

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The struggle for the Pakistan bowling line-up was quite surprising even with an experienced bowling attack, while he feels that the team can’t rely on the individuals.

‘On one side there is ascendency and on the other end there is descendance. You lost against England. You are a Test-playing nation, and you lose against the USA. There is no batting for the Pakistan side. You cannot rely on an individual. Meanwhile, India has a well-balanced side in the T20 World Cup,” Navjot Singh Sidhu concluded.

India have an edge over the ‘Men in Green’ having won six of the seven encounters in the tournament since 2007.