Zimbabwe were blessed with a "heaven-sent" point in the World Cup 1999 on Monday.Their Super Six league match against New Zealand at Headingley could not be completed despite extending the game to the second day. Rain interrupted twice on Sunday and eventually bad light postponed the match to Monday, when more rains put an end to the contest. At that juncture, the score stood at: Zimbabwe 175; New Zealand 70 for three in 50 overs.
The two teams got a point each. The two teams had come to the Super Six through some brave act in the preliminary round and their clash in the super six carried the 'clash of the courageous' tag. The cricket fraternity must have cerntainly been disappointed that such an encounter had to be decided by the fickleness of weather. Who would have won had the game continued?.
A difficult question indeed. Such was the spirit with which the two teams, with their elevated status, had fought this contest till that stage when the match had to be abandoned. Incidentally this was the first match that had to remain unfinished in this three-week old World Cup. And what a jolt it was to India whose fortunes, to certain extent, depended on the result of this match.
Now, with today's split of points by Zimbabwe and New Zealand, India's mental agony has increased as never before. India were thus pushed to a spot in the points table where all others are occupying higher positions to go to the next round of this league with greater confidence. Zimbabwe are heading the table with five points followed by South Africa (4), Pakistan (4), New Zealand (3), Australia (2) and India (nil). On Tuesday, India will take on their famous foe, Pakistan.
A clash of the two sub-continent giants on a cricket field always makes the cricket world to sit up and watch some classical individual performances. A great or a gallant display in an India-Paksitan match is considered as a route to glory by the cricketers of these two countries. Naturally, a poor, spineless performance in an Indo-Pak tie would send even the most worshipped cricketing hero belonging to either side tumbling down from the pedestal.
Such is the demand of an Indo-Pak cricket match played in any type of scenario. This is World Cup and so the degree of sentiments and emotion of the rival players need no elaboration. "Whether you win the Cup or not, you must win THIS match"--must be the line of thinking of the players concerned. That is the aspect that makes an Indo-Pak cricket match a sell-out whereever it was played.