Like all sports, cricket has those games that have a little more edge than most. Here is a look at the biggest rivalries in cricket.
Which is the Biggest Rivalry in Cricket?
While there is plenty of debate, the majority would probably say that the biggest rivalry in cricket is between India and Pakistan.
The teams have played some thrilling games in the past and have taken each other on in some memorable one day finals.
Rivalries in International Cricket
India vs Pakistan
As we’ve seen, the majority view is that India v Pakistan is the biggest rivalry in cricket. It’s a debatable theory but one that is understandable. While we would all like to keep politics out of sport, it’s not always possible, and the ill-feeling between these two countries extends beyond the cricket pitch.
The socio-political climate that exists helps to make this the biggest rivalry. While England and Australia fans don’t particularly like each other, that’s nothing compared to the feeling between supporters of India and Pakistan.
England vs Australia – The Ashes
This is where the debate will lie. Is the Ashes contest between England and Australia a bigger rivalry than India v Pakistan? It’s open to conjecture, but the Ashes is certainly the oldest rivalry in the game.
The teams played the first ever official test match when they met at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1877. The Ashes came along as the official trophy a few years later and this remains the oldest established rivalry in cricket history.
England and Australia continue to compete every two years for the most iconic trophy in the game.
Australia vs India
The rivalry between Australia and India has always been a factor, but the ill-feeling between the two sides came to a head in a feisty series. The 2001 encounter was hard fought and it produced some thrilling cricket as India won 2-1.
Sledging started to cross a line and we saw the infamous spat between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. The two teams are among the strongest in world cricket and they always produce entertaining series but, in the modern day, there is extra edge whenever Australia and India take to the field.
Australia vs New Zealand
Their close proximity to each other means that there will always be a great rivalry between Australia and New Zealand. The two take trips across the Tasman Sea on a regular basis and they produce some of the most thrilling contests in world cricket.
For many years, New Zealand have had to live in Australia’s shadow. The Aussies have simply been much better and that has only helped to add to the rivalry. The Kiwis are far more competitive in the 2000s. They have enjoyed greater success, but Australia still seem to get over the line when it matters – as they did in the 2015 ODI World Cup final.
England vs South Africa
South Africa became the third test playing nation when they made their international debut in 1889. This means that England v South Africa is the second oldest fixture in the history of the game.
When South Africa were readmitted to international cricket in the early 1990s, the rivalry was stirred again following an infamous game at the 1992 World Cup. Rain intervened and left South Africa needing 22 off one ball when they had been in a good position to win. This match also led to the introduction of the Duckworth Lewis method as it reignited one of cricket’s oldest rivalries.
West Indies vs England
West Indies’ first ever test match was also against England as the two teams met at Lord’s in 1928. It’s an old rivalry and one that is partly stirred by politics. That rivalry intensified in 1976 when the West Indies toured England with their battery of fast bowlers.
England skipper Tony Greig made an ill-advised comment about making the Windies grovel. The tourists responded and the quicks blew the hosts away. The teams continue to produce entertaining and close fought series and, even when the West Indies aren’t performing well, they always seem to raise their game when England are in town.
Biggest Rivalries in IPL
Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians
They are the two most successful teams in the history of the competition and that’s one reason why the rivalry between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians is so intense. Between them, CSK and Mumbai have won nine titles between 2008 and 2022 and that statistic outlines their dominance.
Moving forward, Chennai will want to match the record of five wins, while Mumbai will want to stay one step ahead. The desire to be the best overall team fuels this rivalry.
Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Fans of Royal Challengers Bangalore will feel that they should be enjoying the type of success that CSK have achieved. RCB usually go into the tournament with the best playing squad, yet they have yet to convert that strength and claim an IPL trophy.
Perhaps that’s why there is always a much greater sense of rivalry when these teams meet. They are evenly matched in the group stages, but Royal Challengers just can’t seem to get over the line when the playoffs start.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians
The rivalry between these two teams stems from a time when they were dominating the Indian Premier League. Kolkata Knight Riders won the trophy in 2012 and 2014 while Mumbai Indians claimed the title in alternate years – 2013 and 2015.
Mumbai have been more successful since that point, but there’s always a little extra edge when the teams meet in the regular IPL season.
A healthy dose of rivalry will always add a little extra edge to any sporting fixture. If you’re a neutral, you can just sit back and enjoy it in the knowledge that there is more riding on the game.
As I’ve said many times in this round up, the question of cricket’s biggest rivalry is open to debate. Along with most English supporters, I would have argued for the Ashes series, but I can see that the rivalry between India and Pakistan extends beyond cricket.
While there is that debate, all of the match ups on this list will always produce hard fought and entertaining cricket.