Hardly ‘just a game’

India versus Pakistan in the World Twenty20 is one of world sport’s most anticipated games

Will Pakistan emerge triumphant from its World Twenty20 match with India? Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP
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The phrase "It's just a game" is often bandied around in international sport as a reminder that despite the passions invoked and bragging right on offer, the event is still just a recreational activity. We particularly ought to keep this in mind when one of the most anticipated fixtures in modern cricket – India playing Pakistan in the World Twenty20 – takes place tomorrow.

Both teams are former champions but neither has won it since 2009. India, the hosts, were favoured to win the tournament but were beaten by 47 runs in their opening game against New Zealand, lowering their odds dramatically. Pakistan, by comparison, cruised through their first match against Bangladesh, with star man Shahid Afridi playing a captain’s role.

Ultimately, none of that will matter when the two teams square off in Kolkata, and a combination of skill and nerve will determine which side returns to the pavilion victorious. And for the losing side? Bear in mind that it’s just a game.