‘Pressure builds up’: How India and Pakistan cricket fans see their rivalry

When the Cricket World Cup schedule was announced in June, Indian fans were most excited about one fixture: India vs Pakistan, the biggest rivalry in the sport.

Cricket matches between those neighbouring countries are known for their intensity, with the rivalry going well beyond the field.The nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours share a fraught relationship and have fought three wars since 1947 when India was partitioned after independence and Pakistan was created.

There has been a sharp deterioration in relationships between the two countries since the 2008 attacks in India’s western city of Mumbai, where more than 160 people were killed and a Pakistan-based armed group was named as the suspected mastermind, as well as over Kashmir.

Due to political tensions, crossing the border for cricket is a rarity for both teams. Neither team has travelled to the other’s country for a bilateral series since Pakistan’s trip to India for an ODI series in 2012-13.

Saturday’s World Cup clash in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium – the world’s largest cricket venue, boasting a 130,000-plus capacity – has thus been billed as the biggest match in recent history as India: the number one ranked ODI team hosting second-ranked Pakistan.

Both India and Pakistan head into the match with two World Cup wins in two games.

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