It was like a rewind to the past. Pitch invasion marked the end of the highly pulsating India-Pakistan match at the ICC Champions Trophy at Centurion where Pakistan emphatically outplayed India in the closing stages of the match.
India could have easily shown how Pakistan had missed a trick by not scoring twenty runs more. Perhaps some of the Indian batsmen could take a leaf out of the Man of the Match Shoaib Mallik’s book. Mallik spoke about the importance of occupying the crease on an uneasy pitch and where India missed once again establishing their dominance over Pakistan in ICC events was in not being patient enough.
Mohammed Aamer fulfilled his personal wish and took Sachin Tendulkar out of the equation. But Gautam Gambhir’s fifty-seven runs would have been reason to celebrate but the manner of his run out left a lot to be desired. There was absolutely no effort to drag the bat in or dive in such a hopeless situation that would have perhaps saved the partnership that looked to be taking India home.
But Gambhir’s run out at 2 for ninety in the fourteeth over left Rahul Dravid lonely with Mahendra Singh Dhoni returning back courtesy Shahid Afridi who earlier took care of Virat Kohli. Yousuf Pathan’s ambitious shot was also perhaps needless given that Suresh Raina had given the innings a huge impetus with forty-one ball forty-six.
But Raina’s wicket was yet another turning point after Gambhir’s in that India were 205 in the thirty-fifth over and positioned comfortably to overhaul Pakistan. But it was not to be. Dravid was left waging a lonely war that only ended in grief on seventy-nine runs.
Pakistan’s win by fifty-four runs in the end as India were bowled out in under forty-five overs for 248 was greeted by hoards of cricket fans who stormed the field, leaving the Pakistan players running for cover.
Jinx broken, Australia next.