However, it will be for the first time since the two teams first met in the World Cup in 1992 that legendary Sachin Tendulkar will not be a part of the Indian team.
Out of the five World Cup matches against Pakistan, the most prolific batsman ever, Tendulkar has been ‘Man of the Match’ on three occasions!
When Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992, it had already tasted a bitter 43-run defeat at Sydney Cricket Ground when they for the first time met traditional rival India in a World Cup match. Tendulkar played pivotal role with an unbeaten 54 and a wicket and was later adjudged ‘Man of the Match’.
In 1996 quarterfinal match in Bangalore, Tendulkar stood with Navjot Sidhu against a dangerous bowling line establishing a 90-run first wicket partnership to give India a good beginning. He scored 31, the third highest score for India behind top scorer Sidhu (93 runs) and swashbuckling all-rounder Ajay Jadeja (45 runs). India won that match by 39 runs.
The two teams again clashed in 1999 edition of the World Cup in Manchester. Tendulkar again gave India a fine start scoring 45 against Pakistan bowling line, spearheaded by Wasim Akram which also had pace king Shoaib Akhtar and spin maestro Saqlain Mushtaq. He remained the third highest scorer after Rahul Dravid (61 runs) and captain Mohammad Azharuddin (59 not out). Venkatesh Prasad was adjudged ‘Man of the Match’ following his impressive bowling figures of 5-27.
In 2003 World Cup edition, Tendulkar almost single handedly scripted Indian triumph scoring a whirlwind 75-ball 98 releasing pressure from his teammates while approaching a competitive total of 273 runs in Centurion. Pakistan bowling line was laced with perhaps its best ever bowlers Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar.
The two teams didn’t met in the 2007 edition after making early exit from the tournament.
In World 2011 semifinal match in Mohali, Tendulkar scored important 85 runs as Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz was ripping through the Indian batting line. Wahab took five wickets. India won the match by 29 runs and went on to beat Sri Lanka in the final as Tendulkar for the first in his comprehensive career, which included six World Cups, lifted the trophy.
On February 15 at Adelaide Oval, Pakistan will face India for the sixth time but for the first time Tendulkar will not be a part of it. However, the cricket prodigy would be at the ground watching the match as ICC Ambassador for the World Cup. Tendulkar retired from ODIs in 2012.
Pakistan should go all out to win the match as India will not have its lucky-against Pakistan Tendulkar. Tendulkar in all matches had played important role with the bat. And with Tendulkar no more a part of the Indian outfit, Pakistan may have better chances, at least psychologically when the two sides clash next month at Adelaide Oval.