How England reunited the sub-continent for a day

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England's Liam Plunkett celebrates with teammates after the dismissal of Hardik Pandya. Photo: PTI

How often have we heard, “padosi he padosi ke kaam aata hai” (in the hour of need, the neighbour steps up).

India while playing against England on Sunday (June 30), was the ‘padosi’, the ray of hope for its neighbours – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – for reviving their chances to once again dream of the coveted World cup.

An Indian win would have eased the pressure on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. All three are sitting at the bottom of the points’ table and were hoping against hope to make the cut for the semi-final race.

Their ray of hope was stamped out, rather ruthlessly by Eoin Morgan and his men when India lost by 31 runs. But some good did come of it eventually.

The match saw the South-Asian region coming together to cheer for the men in orange (in this case) like never before. And what a support it was.

Twitter and Facebook were flooded with support messages, memes with a good dose of humour and self-criticism from cricket enthusiasts of India’s neighbours.

In a response to former England skipper Nasser Hussain’s tweet there was outpouring of love from arch-rival Pakistan.

While nothing brings people together as cricket does, the wish for a common enemy –England- to lose was the factor that bound people across nations yesterday.

Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani cricketer, now commentator pointed out in his video that he tweeted, that Pakistan for the first time after partition has supported India.

“It was for the first time that Pakistani fans were praying for India to win against England. However, it feels like the prayers couldn’t reach India as they lost the match,” said Akhtar on his Youtube channel.

“It was for the first time since Partition that we were supporting India. I am sure India must have tried their best but their best could not help Pakistan and leave us with a hope,” he added.

Once again coming together of these nations  reminded Twitterati of undivided India and  England as the long hated enemy.

“Divided by England in 1947, united by England in 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup” was the phrase doing rounds, aptly conveying the mood of the masses.

There might have been vested interests in these nations to support India, either to climb up the points table or to see England beaten.  Notwithstanding this, the match will always be remembered for the astounding love that India received and the coming together, albeit briefly, of these divided nations.