New Delhi, Oct 11: The Delhi Commonwealth Games, marred by low international participation and dull public interest, probably saw its highest point on Sunday, Oct 11 when long-standing rivals India and Pakistan clashed on the hockey field.
The Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, which hosted the crucial win-or-leave match between India and Pakistan, attracted a huge crowd. The tickets were sold out way ahead of time and people came in thousands.
An air of excitement and anxiety filled the stadium and spread across the country. All the build-up was not in vain as the match lived up to its expectations - it ended up being something that would be etched in the country's collective-memory for decades.
The Indian hockey fans were greeted with top class performance from the team. The players had the energy, the right amount of aggression and at the same time they managed to stay calm despite the emotions flying off the spectators at the stadium.
India thrashed Pakistan 7-4 in 70 minutes match that was rather one-sided. The host country took an early 2-0 lead on penalty corners - courtesy Sandeep Singh.
Sandeep Singh also helped Shivendra Singh score the third goal, followed by Saravanjit Singh tapping in the fourth goal.
At this juncture, there was complete frenzy in the stadium, as the Indian fans danced with certainty that India would win.
As the Indians relaxed a bit, Pakistan scored two to claw their way up on the scoreline. However, this relief did not last that long as the Indian team answered with two more by 45th minute to make the score 6-2. Even though Pakistan did not give in and continued to play with all its might, India wrapped up the match with a seventh goal by 59th minute.
With this victory, India ensured a semifinals berth at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.