England White-Ball World Champions! And What of Pakistan and India?


After being crowned with the ODI World Champions title in 2019 England today has completed the global white-ball supremacy by defeating Pakistan by 5 wickets in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Final in Melbourne. Pakistan has almost done an India just managing to post a meagre target of 138 and consuming 15 overs to score 100 runs after being put into bat by England like in the semi-final against India; but the target came to be even less than India's 169 thanks to Hardik Pandya. However, their famous pace bowlers gave England a hard time and but for the resurgent Shaheen Afridi's injury who was unable to fully bowl the last two overs of his quota the match could've gone down the wire at the death. 


Like India, Pakistan openers failed once again to build the momentum and other Pak batsmen stumbled along, scoring a pitiful 18 runs in the last four death overs. But again, unlike India, they attacked England batsmen from the first over putting up two slips and not at all asking their wicketkeeper to come up to the stumps as if, in India's case, Bhuvneshwar Kumar got converted into a spinner. Like in the semi-final against India the magic-spinner Adil Rashid of England cast a spell over the  Pak batsmen, taking vital wickets and not giving away too many runs. The supposed countries of the legendary spinners and masterclass-strokers of spin have failed miserably to do the needful in the respective matches. 


Thanks to the Pak diehards we at least had a worthwhile Final keeping us glued till the last moments. Both the semi-finals were more agonizing in terms being extremely one-sided rather than only disappointing the respective fans: in the first it was kind of a cricketing enigma as to why New Zealand were so intimidated, not able to play even their usual in all departments of the game; and in the second the Indian scoring strategy, the bowling tactics and changes and the overall defense system were eye-opening examples about how not to play cricket. 


The once-upon-a-time colonial masters of both countries, mercifully, were not much discriminatory in dealing with them: defeating one by 10 wickets and the other by 5 wickets; and not at all resorting to the famous divide-and-rule policy which, unfortunately, continues to dominate politics of both countries. 


Any solace for the two Asian cricket giants? Well, first of all they must realise the fact that none of them looked the Champion stuff from the beginning of the tournament: Pakistan were on the brink thanks to their incredible defeats to India and Zimbabwe and finally they l made it to the semi-final due to another cricketing enigma of the Champion-looking-stuff South Africa losing to the Netherlands, and in a historical perspective, Pakistan always seem to make it big at the sole expense of New Zealand; and riding on their freaky wins over Pakistan and Bangladesh India only needed to defeat the Netherlands and Zimbabwe which they did convincingly after being rendered clueless by the Protea pacers to notch up 8 points-- the only team in the tournament to do so. However, in Pakistan's favor we must say that they tried very hard, winning three successive do or die matches convincingly and then only doing the waiting for the miracles, sort of. 


Secondly and as a corollary to the first both countries must feel contented that one made it to the semi-final which was the best possible result for their 'playing' team and the other made it to the Final against all odds and fighting it out very well too. 


Last but not the least, both countries do have their special areas of country-specific solace: Pakistan performing excellent in the shortest format despite not being a part of the 'empowering' IPL; and India having the solace of being able to defeat Pakistan, however incredibly. The biggest fools are those cricket mandarins and those crazy fans who expected and prayed vociferously for a India-Pakistan Final: pure business considerations for the former and the sheer frolic of the usual but rare subcontinental rivalry for the latter. 

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