Arch-rivals India and Pakistan renew their rivalry in T20 Cricket as the two teams are set to collide in a rip-roaring fixture in ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday.
India head into the match enjoying a period of dominance over Pakistan in the shortest form of the sport. Ever since the two teams met for the first time in a T20 match in a group game of the ICC World Twenty20 in Durban, the Men in Blue have lost only a single fixture against the Men in Green and won six other contests.
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It is a streak that India would love to keep intact once the last delivery of the match is bowled at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
One man who will shoulder the responsibility of keeping India's streak alive is India's opener Rohit Sharma. The 34-year-old batter has established himself as a destructive batsman in white-ball cricket. Rohit has shattered and created numerous records in ODIs and T20s winning trophies on the way.
Records and trophies aside, but do you know that Rohit is the only Indian cricketer who has been part of every Indian squad that has faced Pakistan in the T20I matches over the past 14 years.
From Durban to Dubai, via Johannesburg, Colombo, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Dhaka and Kolkata Rohit has travelled with all those Indian teams that have faced Pakistan in T20 matches. Rohit has seen all the India-Pakistan T20 clashes at close quarters.
It is then justified to recall Rohit's contributions in the matches gone by.
1. India vs Pakistan, 2007, ICC World Twenty20
Rohit Sharma celebrates with his teammates(Image: Reuters)
India and Pakistan first met in a T20I match in a group fixture of 2007, ICC World Twenty20. As stated above, Rohit has been part of every Indian 'squad' and not the team that has faced Pakistan. It is because for this match India's then skipper MS Dhoni consigned Rohit to the bench. The epic drama that unfolded in this match is well documented. Although Rohit did not have to contribute, but the then 20-year-old did have a blast with his teammates as he enjoyed India's 3-0 'bowl-out' win over Pakistan after the match had ended in a tie.
Rohit had to wait patiently for his T20I debut which he eventually made two matches later in the match against England, the match fondly remembered for Yuvraj Singh's six sixes. Yuvraj's batting exploits ensured that Rohit was not needed to bat on his T20I debut.
In his first T20I innings against South Africa, batting at no.5, Rohit smashed a 40-ball 50 to confirm his spot in India's playing XI for the remainder of the tournament, including the final against Pakistan.
2. India vs Pakistan, 2007, ICC World Twenty20 Final
India's Rohit Sharma (L) and Gautam Gambhir run between the wickets during their ICC World Twenty20 cricket final match against Pakistan in Johannesburg on September 24, 2007 (Image: Reuters)
Rohit's consistent show with the bat ensured that Dhoni started Rohit in India's playing XI for the final.
In the final, Rohit walked out to bat at No.6 when Dhoni had got out in the 15th over and with Gautam Gambhir batting at the other end. India's score read 111/4 when Rohit got ready to bat.
Rohit played a brave cameo of 30 from mere 16 deliveries hitting two fours and one six and supported Gambhir from the other end. Gambhir got out on the last delivery of the 18th over. But Rohit remained not-out as India finished with 157/5, which was enough to be crowned as the first 'T-T' champions.
3. India vs Pakistan, 2012, ICC World Twenty 20
India's Virat Kohli (R) celebrates after dismissing Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez during the ICC World Twenty20 Super 8 cricket match at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on September 30, 2012. (Image: Reuters)
India and Pakistan next met in a T20 match five years later in a group game of 2012, ICC World Twenty20.
Rohit started in the playing XI but did not have to sweat hard. Rohit was involved in the dismissal of Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik in the 16th over. Malik had scored 28 from 21 balls before Ravichandran Ashwin got Malik caught at mid-wicket by Rohit. Mailk's wicket proved decisive as Pakistan was stopped on 128.
Virat Kohli was the star of the show as he had picked a wicket and scored an unbeaten 78 to steer India's chase.
But Rohit's catch was important as it helped in dismissing Malik who had played a fluent innings until then.
4. India vs Pakistan, 2012, 1st T20I, Pakistan tour of India
A few months later Shoaib Malik got his revenge as he ran out Rohit Sharma on just 2 in the 1st T20I match on Pakistan's 2012 tour of India. India could manage only 133 and Pakistan chased the total down in 19.4 overs. This remains Pakistan's only win over India in a T20I match.
5. India vs Pakistan, 2012, 2nd, T20I, Pakistan tour of India
Three days later the two teams met for the second T20I match of the series. Like the previous match, Rohit batted as low as no.7 and came out to bat only towards the fag end of the innings. But then Yuvraj Singh had already destroyed Pakistan bowling attack smashing 72 from 36 balls. Rohit remained not out on 4 as India posted a mammoth 192/5. In Pakistan's innings, Rohit took a catch of Shaid Afridioff the bowling of Bhuvneshward Kumar.
6. India vs Pakistan, 2014, ICC World T20
India's Rohit Sharma celebrates the dismissal of Pakistan's Kamran Akmal during their match of 2014 ICC Twenty20 World Cup at the Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka (Image: Reuters)
India and Pakistan next renewed their rivalry in T20 cricket during the group phase of the 2014 World T20. Batting first Pakistan had posted 130/7. Rohit walked out to open the innings along with Shikhar Dhawan. Rohit scored a breezy 24 from 21 deliveries hitting one four and two sixes in a 50-run opening partnership with Dhawan. Rohit was clean-bowled by Saeed Ajmal in the 10th over, but his brisk runs and partnership with Dhawan had set the platform for India's successful chase.
7. India vs Pakistan, 2016 Asia Cup
Rohit Sharma dismissed by Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir during India's T20 match against Pakistan in the Asia Cup (Image: AP)
The 2016 Asia Cup was played in Twenty20 format and India faced Pakistan in the 4th match of the tournament. Batting first, Pakistan were bowled out on just 83 thanks to the bowling exploits of Hardik Pandya (3/8) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/11). Rohit marched to the middle to open the innings alongside Ajinkya Rahane. Rohit's stay in the middle lasted only 2 deliveries as he has trapped LBW by Pakistan speedster Mohammad Amir on 0. Rohit's early dismissal did not affect India as the team cruised home in 15.3 overs.
8. India vs Pakistan, 2016 World T20
Rohit Sharma plays a shot during India's T20 match against Pakistan in the 2016 World T20 (Image: AP)
The last time India and Pakistan had locked horns in a T20 game was during a 2016 World T20 match in Kolkata. Batting first Pakistan managed only 118/5 in 20 overs. Yet again, Rohit opened the innings with Dhawan. Rohit smashed two fours and scored 10 runs from 11 balls. But Mohammad Amir yet again got the better of the Indian opener as he got Rohit caught by Shoaib Malik on the first delivery on the third over. Rohit's early wicket did not dent India's prospects as India reached the target in 15.5 overs with the loss of just 4 wickets.
First Published: IST