The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 is all set to host one of the biggest set-pieces of the tournament on this Sunday. India and Pakistan face-off in a mouth-watering clash at Derby and while both the teams have had contrasting fortunes of late, one can be certain that today, there will be no let up in passion from both the sides.
As we wait for the much-awaited clash to begin, here is a look at five things we can expect from the India-Pakistan women’s World Cup match.
Rekindling of the arch-rivalry:
Whatever sport it may be, an India-Pakistan contest will always have an edge to it. The two countries have shared a disturbing history and the emotions often boil down when playing a sport. And when it is an important World Cup clash, things get even more pumped up. The India-Pakistan women’s World Cup match at Derby on the 2nd of July, hence, carries a lot of excitement.
The two teams have squared off against each other on nine instances in ODIs previously and India has emerged the winner on all the nine occasions. Furthermore, Pakistan’s recent form – one victory in five games – as compared to India’s – four wins in five matches – is rather poor. India, hence, is the overwhelming favourite going into the game. However, as history has told us on several occasions, there can never be a true favourite in an India-Pakistan sporting encounter and the arch-rivals would be giving it their all to usurp the other.
India’s batting v Pakistan’s bowling:
Much like what happens with their male counterparts, an India-Pakistan contest in women’s cricket too is often a contest between India’s batting versus Pakistan’s bowling. Yes, Pakistan did get spanked for 377 runs against England recently, but their bowling is a much stronger forte than their batting. This was evident in the Pakistan – South Africa match at the present World Cup where Pakistan’s astute bowling almost choked South Africa down while chasing a small score.
India, meanwhile, has a galaxy of batting stars led by their enigmatic captain Mithali Raj. Their bowling, however, has often been their weak link. Except for the veteran Jhulan Goswami and the talented spinner Deepti Sharma, Indian bowlers have often been inconsistent. It would be interesting to see how they fare against Pakistan.
So, we will have a mouth-watering contest where the likes of Mithali Raj, Poonam Raut and Smriti Mandhana will face-off against Sadia Yousuf, Asmavia Iqbal and Sana Mir.
Crowd and television interest:
One of the biggest banes of women cricket has been that big crowds do not come in to watch games in the stadiums. Countless games are played to empty stands and hence the sport does not get the push it needs. A high-profile India-Pakistan encounter at the World Cup on a Sunday is just what the game needs. While the crowd numbers will definitely not be anywhere close to what we get for a men’s game, it should definitely be more than what we have for normal women’s cricket matches. With a sizeable Indian and Pakistani diaspora living in England, one can expect a lot of cheers and support in big numbers at Derby on the match day.
Then, there will also be a great viewer interest on television as well. A buzz has already been created in the media channels, websites and newspapers and people from both the countries are likely to sticking to their television sets to grab the match in big numbers.
Social media warfare:
There has been a lot of animosity between Indian and Pakistani fans after the end of the recently concluded men’s Champions Trophy which Pakistan won by a thumping margin by beating India. You can expect fans from both the countries thronging the internet through the course of the match and keep trolling each other. The team which wins will provide an impetus of fans of their country to take potshots at the other.
In times like these, where both the countries are on the edge due to the simmering political tensions, a lot of the frustration boils over in social media. Sport, especially cricket between the two nations, allows fans to engage in verbal warfare on the social media. The India-Pakistan women’s World Cup match falls on a Sunday and all social media pages are likely to be filled with Indian and Pakistani fans taking a dig at each other through its length. Although exhausting at times, it can be entertaining to watch too.
A thrilling contest after the dull results at the present World Cup:
Barring the game between Pakistan and South Africa, all the results in the present ICC Women’s World Cup have been drab one-sided contests. A women’s World Cup is essential to bringing interest in the game and such one-sided and dreary contests will serve it no good whatsoever. The India-Pakistan clash in the women’s World Cup is eagerly awaited in the hope that it can finally give us a thrilling and nail-biting game. Although the last few contests between the two hadn’t been too exciting, since this is a World Cup match, it is expected that both the arch-rivals will be at each other’s throats. A solid India-Pakistan ODI game with all the thrills and frills, along with the raucous crowd, can bring this women’s World Cup alive.