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Pakistan ‘no match’ for Kohli’s team, Indian media boast

Indian and Pakistani fans pose for a picture before the start of the Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan at Old Trafford in Manchester, England on June 16. (AP)

‘No one should be allowed to call it a rivalry anymore’

MUMBAI, June 17, (RTRS): ‘No Match’ crowed the front page of an Indian newspaper on Monday as local media celebrated the national cricket team’s one-sided World Cup victory over arch-rivals Pakistan.

India extended their unblemished World Cup record against their neighbours to 7-0 after Virat Kohli’s men secured an 89-run victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method on Sunday in a stop-start match that drew a massive global audience.

“Bragging rights intact as India make it 7-0 vs Pak,” the Hindustan Times newspaper said in a front page headline.

“Another World Cup, same old story,” was the headline used by The Times of India, the country’s biggest selling English newspaper.

Organisers received nearly 800,000 applications for tickets at the 23,000-capacity Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester to watch the former champions, who only play each other in global tournaments because of their soured political relations.

The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours have gone to war three times since independence in 1947 and cricket matches between the two countries are considered among the most intense sporting rivalries on the planet.

Another conflict nearly erupted earlier this year after a suicide car bombing by Pakistan-based militants in Indian-controlled Kashmir killed 40 Indian paramilitary police.

In retaliation, India launched air strikes on what it said was a militant base in Pakistani territory.

Amit Shah, India’s home affairs minister, termed Sunday’s win as “another strike”.

“Another strike on Pakistan by #TeamIndia and the result is same,” the 54-year-old Shah, also the president of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said on Twitter.

“Congratulations to the entire team for this superb performance. Every Indian is feeling proud and celebrating this impressive win,” added Shah, who heads the cricket association of his state.

 Meanwhile Pakistan fans mocked their cricket team’s underwhelming performance on social media after Sarfaraz Ahmed’s men suffered an 89-run defeat against arch rivals India at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday.

While India extended their perfect record over their neighbours in the 50-over World Cup to 7-0, fans across Pakistan turned to the internet.

One widely circulated meme, captioned “Indian captain vs Pakistani captain”, showed Indian skipper Virat Kohli doing dead lifts at the gym while his Pakistani counterpart Sarfaraz danced in a candy commercial.

“The only thing that keeps me sane is Pakistani Twitter’s meme game,” cricket journalist Hassan Cheema said on Twitter.

“We don’t need any domestic (cricket) structure, nor any development, just the ability to laugh at ourselves.” Fans who had gathered at a local park to watch the game on a large screen in Islamabad began leaving halfway through Pakistan’s innings.

“Everybody is really disappointed … I think we were not well prepared,” cricket fan Mohammad Aurangzeb told Reuters.

Cricket matches between the two countries are among the most intense rivalries in global sport.

The nuclear-armed neighbours have gone to war three times since independence in the mid-20th century – and another conflict nearly erupted earlier this year, giving an even spicier-than-usual geopolitical backdrop to Sunday’s contest.

Pakistan boast a superior head-to-head record against India in one-day internationals overall but Kohli’s team has dominated the most recent encounters.

“No one should be allowed to call it a rivalry anymore,” cricket writer Ahmer Naqvi tweeted.

Another image doing the rounds on Twitter showed Sarfaraz yawning on the field during the match – and the picture superimposed on to a pillow on a bed.

“How do you win when your captain has a plan to go to bed and have a better sleep instead of winning the match,” one Twitter user wrote.

The defeat left Pakistan ninth in the 10-team standings with just three points from five matches. Their only win at the tournament was against hosts England while their match against Sri Lanka was washed out.

Pakistan must win all four of their remaining group games to have any chance of reaching the World Cup semi-finals. They face South Africa at Lord’s on Sunday before taking on New Zealand, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

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