Ever since the draw for the Group I Asia/Oceania came out, it was clear how tough it would be to stage the tie between Pakistan and India. In some other times, two neighbor countries with a rough history played against each other in a regular home and away ties between 1962-70 before 1973 when they had to travel to Malaysia and compete on the neutral ground.
It was their last duel before 2006 when India hosted Pakistan in Mumbai, with Pakistan as the host of this year's encounter. The Indians had refused to travel to Pakistan, forcing the ITF to set the tie for the neutral venue and postponing the action a couple of times.
In the end, the capital of Kazakhstan Nur-Sultan hosted the tie on an indoor hard court this weekend, with India scoring a convincing 4-0 triumph against the crippled Pakistan team that lacked their best players who refused to play outside their country.
Thus, India is the last country to secure the Davis Cup Qualifiers berth, facing Croatia between March 5-7, 2020, and hoping to reach the Davis Cup Finals for the first time. In the first rubber, Ramkumar Ramanathan destroyed the 17-year-old Muhammad Shoaib 6-0, 6-0 in 42 minutes, serving at only 45% but dropping seven points behind the initial shot to mount the pressure on the youngster all the time.
Shoaib couldn't do anything in his service games, facing 12 break chances and suffering six breaks to propel Ramanathan over the finish line in no time at all. In the second rubber, Huzaiha Abdul Rehman managed to win two games against Sumit Nagal who moved India 2-0 in front with a 6-0, 6-2 triumph in 64 minutes.
Rehman just turned 17 a day before this match and will not remember this encounter for good, barely winning a point on the return and getting broken five times, barely escaping a double bagel after holding in games three and five of the second set.
The doubles rubber saw no drama as well, with Leander Paes and a debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan defeating the mentioned youngsters 6-1, 6-3 in 53 minutes to seal the deal and send India over the top. The Pakistan squad couldn't earn break chances and the Indians delivered four breaks to control the pace and advance into the Davis Cup Qualifiers.