India vs Pakistan Rivalry

You could go with Albert Einstein reminding you madness is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You could try a variant of Richard Feynman's famous quote about quantum theory and apply it to Pakistan cricket: if you think you understand it, you probably don't.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

But it doesn't take a genius of any sort to figure out that at present, India's dominant record over Pakistan stems no longer from voodoo, superstition, jinxes, or even spooky quantum mechanical equations.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

When Virat Kohli's men walk out against Babar Azam's on Sunday, they're heavily fancied to maintain their perfect World Cup record because of the rather boring, plain fact that they possess the better players.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

It's worth acknowledging the elephant in the room: a Pakistan win tomorrow would be good for cricket. The longer India's streak continues, the weaker this fixture's claim to being an elite, top-tier contest becomes.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

Worryingly, games between these sides at ICC tournament level of late haven't produced engaging, high-quality cricket for the best part of the last decade.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

The contest has owed its jeopardy for the most part to the historical rivalry between the Indian and Pakistan camps - on and off the field - rather than to finely poised matches between two evenly matched sides.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

For India, there seems to be little to worry about. Their two warm-up games against England and Australia tells the story of a side in complete control of their preparations, settled despite the various combinations and personnel they can choose to deploy on any given day.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

Their T20 record against Pakistan reads seven wins in eight games. On paper, there's little to worry them, and for all of the drama and theatre of an India-Pakistan fixture, no World Cup game has ever been quite as predictable as this.

India vs Pakistan Rivalry

If all of that seems confronting for Pakistan, that's because it is. That Pakistan go into their opener such heavy underdogs isn't captain Babar's fault, but it is his problem to try and solve.