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When Qadir helped Miandad play the innings of his life in Sharjah

Rituraj Borkakoty/Dubai
Filed on September 8, 2019 | Last updated on September 8, 2019 at 01.58 am
Abdul Qadir scored a brisk 34 off 39 balls, sharing 71 runs for the fifth wicket with Miandad in the Austral-Asia Cup final against India. - KT file

For fans in the UAE, the best Qadir moment came in the iconic 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

For a man who had to overcome mighty obstacles to begin his cricketing journey, Abdul Qadir, the son of a prayer leader in a mosque, ended up reviving the dying art of leg-spin in the 1970s and 1980s.

Qadir, who passed away at the age of 63 on Thursday night, made quite an impact with his fascinating bowling action that unleashed beautiful flight, vicious turn and the deadly wrong 'un, bamboozling the best batsmen of his time and capturing the imagination of a young Shane Warne.

For fans in the UAE, the best Qadir moment came in the iconic 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final between arch-rivals India and Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

That match became famous for Javed Miandad's unforgettable last-ball six off Chetan Sharma that earned Pakistan a dramatic one-wicket win over their bitter rivals.

That Sharjah epic may have made Miandad a cult hero, but without the support of Qadir, the legendary batsman would have failed to script Pakistan's greatest victory over India.

Chasing 246, Pakistan were 110 for four when Saleem Malik was run out for 21, leaving Miandad with a mountain to climb.

And the Pakistani supporters were stunned when Qadir walked in at number 6 instead of captain Imran Khan.

"We came to know later that it was Qadir who insisted on going in at number six," Tariq Butt, a veteran UAE-based Pakistani umpire, told Khaleej Times.

"Imran had very few close friends in the Pakistan team. Qadir was one of them. But even Imran had his doubts about sending Qadir at number six. Qadir didn't give up and Imran reluctantly agreed."

So, it was with a bat in hand that Qadir tormented India, scoring a brisk 34 off 39 balls, sharing 71 runs for the fifth wicket with Miandad and bringing the asking rate under control.

"Qadir's counter-attack stunned the Indians. So, Kapil Dev, the Indian captain, brought himself into the attack and ended Qadir's cameo with substitute fielder Raman Lamba taking the catch at mid-wicket," Butt remembered.

After Qadir's dismissal, India clawed their way back only for Miandad (116 not out, 114 balls, three fours, three sixes) to waltz into the history books with that last-ball six.

"That was Miandad's greatest one-day knock. He deserved all the accolades. But even now, Madan Lal, the former India all-rounder who bowled Imran for seven in that match, tells me that Qadir's innings gave Miandad the chance to become a hero," Butt said.

In the previous match (the semifinal against New Zealand), Qadir (10-4-9-4) was at his magical best with the ball as the Kiwis were bundled out for 64.

"The Kiwis had no answer to Qadir's turn and guile that day," said Butt.

Qadir's overall record in Sharjah (21 ODIs, 20 wickets at 37.10) may not look formidable, but the man who inspired Warne to bowl leg-spin played a part in Pakistan's most famous victory in the desert.

rituraj@khaleejtimes.com


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