INDIA v PAKISTAN
The rivalry between India and Pakistan has a lot of layers. The off-field political tensions, partition and border issues have always had an impact on the 22yards. Even ICC and sponsors give special attention to India-Pakistan matches. So far India and Pakistan have met six times in the World Cup with India winning them all.
The first face-off between India and Pakistan created controversy as Javed Miandad tried to mimic Kiran More’s appeal and took a giant leap in the middle of the field. The tussle between Amir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad resulted in one of the most famous spells by any Indian in a World Cup match. Some of the Pakistani players’ house was damaged post that loss. The match in 1999 had the backdrop of Kargil war. The on-field battle between Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar in 2003 has become a part of cricket folklore. Even this time recent political tensions have already made it a high profile match which will be played on June 16 at the Old Trafford.
AUSTRALIA v INDIA
India was never really a favorite against Australia in the World Cup. Australia, since the 90s, has been unstoppable. In fact, India has a terrible record of losing eight matches out of 11 against Australia. This is by far the worst record for them in the World Cup history. But ironically India emerged as the only cricket team that showed the guts to challenge Australia on the field.
There have been two instances where India lost by just one run against Australia in World Cup- 1987 and 1992. The 2003 World Cup final is arguably one of the cherished moments for a lot of cricket fans. Indians after 20 years were in the finale and expected to lift the Cup. Even though Ricky Ponting’s team was ruthless, fans and experts did expect a close encounter. Such is the magic of India Australia matches that you expect something unusual even after knowing the numbers and facts.
AUSTRALIA v ENGLAND
If there are two countries that cricket history cannot deny, they are Australia and England. They played the first test match in the history of test cricket in 1877. Since then they have become the arch-rivals. Ashes worked as an add-on. The 1882 Oval test match was considered as the birth of the Ashes rivalry when Demon Spofforth’s seven wickets resulted in an English collapse.
In the World Cup, the results are extremely contradictory for the two teams. Australia is a five-time champion whereas England is yet to win it. In fact, England has some terrible record against Australia in the tournament. They registered their lowest score of 93 against the Aussies in 1975 semifinal. The 1987 final saw Australia winning the title for the very first time defeating England in the Eden Gardens. Even the last World Cup started with an Australia-England clash on day one.
AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND
The traditional Trans Tasmanian neighbors Australia and New Zealand have also provided some memorable matches. The results are heavily loaded in favor of Australia (7-3) but New Zealand can cherish some memorable victories as well. A Martin Crow century helped New Zealand taste success against the Aussies in 1992 World Cup. Last World Cup saw a low scoring thriller between these two where New Zealand managed to clinch the victory by one wicket. The magnificent Mitchell Starc took six wickets to defend 151 but Kane Williamson overshadowed everything to win the match for the Kiwis.
WEST INDIES v PAKISTAN
West Indies and Pakistan played quite a few tight matches in the World Cup. In the 1975 World Cup, West Indies snatched a one-wicket win over Pakistan which was later avenged by Pakistan in 1987 by same margin win. However, that match is always remembered for Courtney Walsh’ sporting gesture of not ‘Mankading’ Saleem Jaffar on the last ball of the match. Although West Indies have a 7-3 record over Pakistan in World Cups during the 80s these two were the top two teams in the circuit. No wonder that their meetings still make headlines.
INDIA v ENGLAND
India and England maintain a neck to neck rivalry in World Cup in terms of percentage of win-loss. It began from the very first edition in 1975 when Sunil Gavaskar infamously scored unbeaten 36 of 174 balls. Next time they met in 1983 World Cup semifinal and India beat the host at the Old Trafford. England took the revenge in the next edition as Graham Gooch swept the Indian spinners to score a hundred in the semifinal at Mumbai to take England to the final. After another close loss in the first match in the 1992 edition India won twice in a row in 1999 and 2003. The 2003 match will be forever remembered for Sachin Tendulkar’s attack on Andrew Caddick and Ashish Nehra’s six wickets under Durban lights. Their last meeting in 2011 ended in a thrilling tie.
WEST INDIES v SOUTH AFRICA
In 1996, Brian Lara was quoted saying that a loss to Kenya is better than a loss to South Africa. He was accused of racial discrimination against the South Africans as they are white. This triggered a controversy although Lara denied the claims. He was a key contributor for West Indies win in 1996 quarter final and 2003 opening match with brilliant hundreds. South Africa won the last three matches between the teams including a 257 runs thumping in 2005 when they put up a 400 plus total based on a master class from AB de Villiers.