Pakistan's sixth straight loss to India in the World Cup which comes every four years is perceived to be a threat now by the team's supporters and not just a bad luck. [Scorecard of India-Pakistan match at Adelaide Oval]
World Cup Special; India-Pakistan match photos
But why it is that the men in green fail to beat their arch-rivals at the highest stage of cricket when they have a better overall record of 72-51? [India make it 6-0 against Pakistan in WC]
Many say it's pressure that the Pakistanis are failing to overcome or that they do not have good players now or the toss factor go against them almost every time.
Each of these reasons are partially true. But none of them is the actual reason why Pakistan is losing every time.
Every India-Pakistan game is a pressure and Pakistan have a better overall one-day record
Speaking of pressure, an India-Pakistan game is always a pressure match, whether it happens in the World Cup or not. And history shows Pakistan have handled the pressure better than India.
Till the first World Cup encounter between India and Pakistan in 1992, the latter had won 24 matches against the former's 11. Yet they fell short of India's modest score of 216 at the Sydney Cricket Ground in that World Cup edition.
Pakistan's legendary players also couldn't manage a WC win against India
Speaking about good players, the current Pakistani team might not be as good as the ones that played in the previous World Cups, but one must remember that even the greats like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq could not make the dream of winning a World Cup match against India a reality.
Pakistan had lost WC matches closely even while chasing; in 2003, they couldn't win after batting first
And about the toss factor, it is not that Pakistan were never in the match even after India batted first and set a target for them to chase. In the 1992, 1996 and 1999 World Cups for example, Pakistan were chasing the targets against India well before losing their way suddenly.
And even after winning the toss and posting a challenging total of 273 at Centurion in 2003, a formidable Pakistani bowling trio of Wasim Akram-Waqar Younis-Shaoib Akhtar couldn't stop India from reaching the target comfortably.
In the Adelaide match also, Pakistan did an excellent job in containing India at 300 when they were looking set to reach 320. But their batsmen certainly looked less prepared to face Indian bowlers who have received a tough training in Australia over the past few months.
So it's not that Pakistan gave up the hope every time they played against India in a World Cup match without having their share of moments.
Pakistan lack an individual brilliance like those of Miandad or Tendulkar
One feels Pakistan lacked an individual brilliance in any of these matches to script an unexpected turn of events. Although cricket is a team game but it is an individual performance that affects not only a game's outcome but the team's fortune in the days to come.
Such example so exists in the history of India-Pakistan cricket rivalry.
Miandad's last-ball 6 off Chetan Sharma had changed the pattern of India-Pakistan one-day rivalry for years; till then India had a 8-7 advantage after that Pak took a 24-11 lead
Till the Australasia Cup final held in Sharjah in April 1986, India and Pakistan had played 15 matches of which India had won 8 and Pakistan 7. In that match, as we all know, Javed Miandad had hit a last-ball six off Chetan Sharma to give his team a historic victory.
In the next 20 matches before India won their first World Cup game against Pakistan in 1992, Pakistan had won 16 while India could win just three (one was without a result).
India had taken five years to register their first Non-World Cup victory against Pakistan in the post-sixer period
India's next victory against Pakistan came in the next World Cup in 1996 while Pakistan went on winning the non-World Cup games. India, in fact, took six years to win their first non-World Cup game against Pakistan.
Same happened to Pakistan in World Cup matches against India
So one can see a clear pattern in India-Pakistan encounters. While a thrilling six from Miandad set up a momentum for Pakistan in non-World Cup games for years to come, India's win against Pakistan in two consecutive World Cup games set up their own momentum against the arch-rivals.
India enjoy a 6-0 advantage in WC, Pak registered several consecutive wins in non-WC matches
If India have set up a 6-0 record against Pakistan in the World Cup, there are several instances in the history of the non-World Cup games where Pakistan have won consecutive 5 matches or more against India (5 matches between 1985-87), (5 matches between '87-'88), (6 matches between '89-'90), (8 matches between '98-'99) and (5 matches between 2005-06).
India broke Pak's domination in non-WC games after 4 straight victories in Pak in 2006
India's best winning streak against Pakistan in non-World Cup matches is 4 matches in 2006. These wins by India on Pakistan's soil has in a way arrested the domination of Pakistan in one-day matches against India.
In the 21 matches played between the two teams since India's fourth consecutive victory in 2006, Pakistan have won nine matches against India's 12.
Pakistan need to do something similar in World Cup games against India
Just like Miandad had once set up a pattern in India-Pakistan non-World Cup matches and Tendulkar had in the World Cup matches (he had won 3 man of the match awards against Pakistan in the World Cup till he played for the national team), Pakistan today require a Miandad-like performance from somebody, even if it is a miraculous 50 from the No. 11 batsman to snatch a shocking victory from the arch-rivals to bring a change in the World Cup pattern that is getting increasingly predictable.
But Pak's problem is that the WC comes once in four years and one loss makes it more painful
But the problem with the World Cup matches is that they come at a minimum distance of four years and hence the pain of losing one of them refuses to die down for a long time.
We can hope Pakistan can test their fortunes once again provided the schedule helps them in England in 2019.