India vs Pakistan is a rivalry that gets plenty of attention irrespective of the sports in which the contest is taking place.
At the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, the two rivals met in multiple disciplines with India majorly coming out on top. From the demolition in hockey to the thrilling finale in men’s squash team event, here are five times when India beat Pakistan at Asiad 2023:
Men’s Hockey: India 10-2 Pakistan (Group Stage)
It was billed as the clash of arch-rivals but ended up being a one-sided display of pure excellence and dominance as eventual champion India thrashed Pakistan 10-2 in the Pool A match.
This is the highest ever margin of victory for India against Pakistan and the first time the ‘Men in Blue’ scored more than seven goals in 180 face-offs so far.
India dominated from the beginning and broke ahead early, Mandeep Singh deflecting in a pass from Abhishek in the 8th minute. There was wave after wave of Indian attack as the young and inexperienced Pakistan side struggled to keep pace with the Indians’ speed. The Indians simply ran away with the ball at will, took shots at the goal that more often than not were on target and then fell back in numbers to defend before the Pakistan forwards had a chance to break through.
So completely was India over the opposition that defender Varun Kumar, lurking inside the Pakistan circle, scored a field goal in the 41st minute, deflecting in Sukhjeet Singh’s pass. By then, India was already six goals up.
Captain Harmanpreet Singh was the top scorer with four goals – two penalty corners and two strokes.
Squash (Men’s Team): India 2-1 Pakistan (Gold Medal Match)
At 10-8 in the 5th game with the gold medal on the line, it would have been natural for most Indians to assume the match was as good as over.
Except that no one told Abhay Singh about it. The 25-year-old held his nerves, took off four straight points against Noor Zaman and then let out a huge roar, throwing his racket into the stands as the Indian men’s team reclaimed the Asian Games gold in style, defeating Pakistan 2-1 in the decider of the final match.
India had lost the opening tie 3-0 with Mahesh Mangaokar going down to Nasir Iqbal for the second time in three days. The match was interrupted often but not as ill-tempered as the previous one where Pakistan had beaten India 2-1 in the group stage.
Saurav Ghosal got one back with a clinical 3-0 win against Mohd. Asim Khan as everything boiled down to the final match that lasted longer than the previous two combined.
Having lost to 19-year-old Noor in the group tie, it was a grudge match for Abhay, but unlike before, he kept a lid on his feelings and hunkered down for the job at hand. The scoreline – 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9, 12-10 – reflects that it was not an easy match at any point.
Men’s Kabaddi: India 61-14 Pakistan (Semifinal)
The totally perfunctory acknowledgement of its victory highlighted the ease with which the Indian men’s kabaddi team advanced to the final, even a 61-14 scoreline in the semifinal against Pakistan not being an accurate representation of India’s dominance on the mat.
It started with four points to Pakistan in its first two raids and then one with 12 minutes remaining in the first half — but those were to be its only points in the period.
Captain Pawan Sehrawat, Naveen Kumar and Aslam Inamdar took turns to walk over, take out a couple of opponents along with the occasional bonus points and casually strolled back into their half even as Pakistan struggled in both attack and defence. At half time, India led 30-5.
India added another 31 points in the second half while Pakistan got nine including three bonus points. The fact that both Pawan and Naveen barely played in the second period made no difference to India’s scoring rate as Akash Shinde and Sachin stepped in as substitutes and continued the job. And even though Sachin and Surjeet were impressive in defence, they were barely called upon to step up.
Shooting (Women’s 10m Air Pistol)
Palak Gulia was one of only two Indian shooters to clinch gold in an individual event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The 17-year-old Palak, the youngest Indian shooter in the contingent, claimed gold in 10m Air Pistol.
Palak, who had only started shooting after the Jakarta Asiad, jumped straight to the top of the leaderboard during the final eight. She never lost her place en route to a Games record total of 242.1 in the final.
Esha Singh, Palak’s compatriot, finished 2.4 points behind her to clinch silver and complete a historic one-two for India.
Esha was involved in an exciting battle with Pakistan’s Talat Kishmala as the two shooters were separated by 0.1 point heading into the second-last round of elimination in the final. However, the Indian shot a 9.5 and a 10.2 to comfortably beat Kishmala who could only manage a 9.3 and a 9.0.
Tennis (Mixed Doubles): India beat Pakistan 6-0, 6-0
The top-seeded Indian pair of Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Raina scored a quick win over Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan and Sarah Ibrahim Khan in the second round.
The Indian pair won 6-0, 6-0 in just 43 minutes.