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Walk through the history of Asia Cup from 1984

Rituraj Borkakoty
Filed on September 14, 2018 | Last updated on September 14, 2018 at 07.01 am
Walk through the history of Asia Cup from 1984
India's former captain MS Dhoni holds the Champion Trophy after the Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament Final.

It was the dream of Abdul Rahman Bukhatir to put Sharjah in the pantheon of great cricket grounds.


It all started in the UAE in 1984. Virat Kohli, the biggest superstar in cricket today, wasn't even born when the UAE showed the world how big cricket events could be staged in the desert.

It was the dream of Abdul Rahman Bukhatir to put Sharjah in the pantheon of great cricket grounds.

And he did that in style, by hosting the first ever Asia Cup tournament in the new stadium in Sharjah.

"You know when he (Abdul Rahman Bukhatir) built the stadium all those years ago, many people told him that, 'No, this is a desert, you cannot have an international ground in this place'. But he challenged those ideas and proved them wrong. Now the stadium is a world record holder," Waleed Bukhatir, the son of Abdul Rahman Bukhatir, told Khaleej Times in a recent interview.

"Now the Asia Cup will be hosted by the UAE next month. It's a very emotional moment for us because Sharjah hosted the first ever Asia Cup. My father brought the tournament here all those years ago. He is the father of cricket in the UAE!"

The historic Sharjah Cricket Stadium may not host the 2018 Asia Cup games, but it was on this ground that the continent's biggest cricket tournament was born.

That was the start of an unforgettable journey for a tournament that has seen some great matches and some unforgettable performances from some of the greatest players that have ever played the game.

But the hero of the first tournament in 1984 wasn't a household name. 

Surinder Khanna had a formidable first class record, but his international career was unremarkable.   

The wicketkeeper-batsman from Delhi, though, enjoyed his greatest moment in international cricket at the inaugural Asia Cup tournament in Sharjah, winning the man-of-the-tournament trophy as his two half-centuries helped India clinch the title.

But India pulled out of the next Asia Cup in 1986 due to their political disputes with host country Sri Lanka.

The home team bounced back from a demoralising 81-run defeat against Pakistan in the opening game to win their first major trophy in cricket. 

In the final, Arjuna Ranatunga (55) scored a fine half-century to script a memorable five-wicket win over Pakistan.

But the Sri Lankans couldn't prevent India from winning their second Asia Cup two years later in Bangladesh.

Despite losing their group match to Sri Lanka, India were too strong for the islanders in the final.  

Navjot Sidhu (76) played a fine innings as India won the title-decider comfortably by six wickets. 

Sidhu was named the player of the tournament, but it was Pakistan's Ijaz Ahmed (192 runs) who finished the tournament as the top-scorer.

Sri Lanka and India were locked in the title-decider again in the next Asia Cup in 1990-91.

Pakistan boycotted the tournament in India and it was Mohammad Azharuddin's team that showed their batting class in the final at Eden Gardens.

Classy efforts from Sanjay Manjrekar (75), Sachin Tendulkar (53) and Azharuddin (54 not out) gave India a seven-wicket win over Ranatunga's Sri Lanka in the final.

The Asia Cup returned to the UAE in 1995 and it was again won by India.

Azharuddin's team lost the big match against arch-rivals Pakistan by 97 runs in the group stage with Inzamam-ul Haq scoring a majestic 88 and Aaqib Javed taking five wickets for just 19 runs.

But India bounced back in style and beat Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the final. 

Captain Azharuddin was the star of the show with a sublime 90 off just 89 balls.

Sri Lanka and India played another Asia Cup final in 1997 in Colombo. 

Azharuddin's 102-ball 81 in the final wasn't enough for India as the Lankans chased down the 240-run target in the 37th over.

Sanath Jayasuriya (63 off 52 balls) and Marvan Atapattu (84 off 101 balls) scripted the Lankan triumph.

Pakistan finally ended their Asia Cup drought in 2000 on Bangladesh soil when they beat Sri Lanka by 39 runs in the final.

Saeed Anwar's 82 helped Pakistan set a target of 278. Atapattu (100) scored a fine hundred, but Sri Lanka were never in the hunt.

Four years later on home soil, Sri Lanka lifted their third Asia Cup trophy, beating India by 25 runs in the final.

In a low-scoring encounter on a slow pitch, Atapattu's 65 helped the home team set a competitive target of 229.

Despite Tendulkar's 74, India were restricted to 203/9 in 50 overs.

In 2008, Pakistan finally got the chance to host the Asia Cup, but they couldn't reach the final on home soil.

Again, it was the battle between India and Sri Lanka in a title-decider.

Sanath Jayasuriya's 125 and Ajantha Mendis's 6/13 helped Sri Lanka (273) thrash India (173) by 100 runs.

The 2012 Asia Cup in Bangladesh will be remembered for Tendulkar's 100th international century during the group game against Bangladesh. But it was a match India lost and Bangladesh went onto reach their first final in a major tournament. 

In the end, Pakistan (236/9) beat Bangladesh (234/8) in a dramatic title-decider to win their second Asia Cup title.

Pakistan reached the final again in the 2014 edition of the tournament in Bangladesh.

But this time, they lost the big game to Sri Lanka.

Lasith Malinga (5/56) and Lahiru Thirimanne (101 off 108 balls) were the heroes for Sri Lanka (261/5) who beat Pakistan (260/5) by five wickets.

Fawad Alam's unbeaten 114 (134 balls) went in vain.

The 2016 Asia Cup was played in T20 format and India (122/2) won the tournament with a thumping eight-wicket win over Bangladesh (120/5) in a rain-hit final.

Shikhar Dhawan was the hero with a 44-ball 60.

-rituraj@khaleejtimes.com





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