India vs Pakistan: 5 classic matches in white-ball formats

Photo: File
Photo: File

Dubai - Austral-Asia Cup final in 1986 still sends shivers down the spine of ardent cricket fans in both India and Pakistan



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Sun 24 Oct 2021, 2:18 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Oct 2021, 3:12 PM

As India and Pakistan, cricket’s biggest arch-rivals, gear up for Sunday’s humdinger in the T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, let’s take a look at five classic encounters between the two teams in white-ball cricket.

Miandad’s last-ball six in Sharjah (1986)

Of course, the venue was Sharjah. And it was an India-Pakistan final at the 1986 Austral-Asia Cup final.

The India-Pakistan cricket rivalry had always been intense since the Partition in 1947, but that match between the two teams in Sharjah took this rivalry to an unbelievable level.

Going into that match, India had enjoyed more success against Pakistan in 50 overs cricket.

So, when India made 245 batting first in the final on the back of fine half-centuries from Kris Srikkanth (75), Sunil Gavaskar (92) and Dilip Vengsarkar (50), it seemed another Pakistan defeat was on the cards.

Chasing 240-odd runs was a huge task back then. And the Indian bowlers had the Pakistan batsmen on a tight leash at one end, but one man – Javed Miandad – kept fighting from the other end.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals in their chase, Miandad (116 not out) kept the scoreboard ticking and took the match to the last over. With just one wicket in hand, Pakistan needed four runs off the last ball of the innings.

But Miandad overcame the greatest of odds and hit the last ball from Chetan Sharma out of the park for a six to script the most astonishing victory for any team in one-day internationals (ODIs).

A classic in Bangalore (1996)

After that Miandad classic, Pakistan fortunes changed and they not only began dominating India, but went on to win the 1992 World Cup.

So, when Pakistan arrived in Bangalore for the quarter-final clash in the 1996 World Cup, few gave India a chance, despite Mohammad Azharuddin’s team having Sachin Tendulkar at the peak of his prowess.

But India saw hope when Wasim Akram, Pakistan captain and their talismanic all-rounder, pulled out with an injury hours before the start of the game.

The Indian team pounced on the opportunity and thanks to a brilliant knock from opener Navjot Sindhu (93), the Indian team got off to a fine start.

But it was Ajay Jadeja’s stunning assault on Pakistan bowlers in the slog overs, especially Waqar Younis, which helped India post a massive 287 for the loss of eight wickets.

Jadeja made 45 off just 25 balls. But Pakistan’s response was fantastic as openers Saeed Anwar (48) and Aamer Sohail (55) came out all guns blazing and put on 84 runs for the first wicket partnership in just 10.1 overs.

But a verbal duel with pace bowler Venkatesh Prasad backfired on Sohail, as he lost his concentration and got castled.

The breakthrough sparked a familiar Pakistan collapse and they lost the grudge match by 39 runs.

Tendulkar’s masterclass in South Africa (2003)

India beat Pakistan again in the 1999 World Cup in the midst of the Kargil War. But it was the match between the two teams in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa that still resonates in the cricket world, thanks to a sublime exhibition of stroke play by Sachin Tendulkar.

Pakistan got off to a great start after dashing opener Saeed Anwar (101) scored a ton. Pakistan made 273 for the loss of seven wickets in 50 overs. But Tendulkar made a mockery of the total with a stunning attacking display in the top-order.

The little genius was at his majestic best as he hit all Pakistan bowlers with pure timing.

There was one shot when he hit Shoaib Akhtar over the point boundary despite the Pakistani bowler clocking 150 kmph, that took the breath away.

After Tendulkar (98 off 75 balls) fell to Akhtar, Pakistan had a ray of hope, but Rahul Dravid (44 not out) and Yuvraj Singh (50 not out) shared a 99-run partnership to earn India a memorable six-wicket win over their fierce rivals.

Misbah’s heartbreak in South Africa (2007)

The final of the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa is among the greatest white-ball matches of all time.

It had all the ingredients of a Hollywood classic. Despite Gautam Gambhir’s brilliant half century – 75 off 54 balls – India were never in a position to post a huge total.

The Pakistani bowlers, led by the mesmerising Mohammed Asif, kept taking wickets and India eventually managed to score 157 for the loss of five wickets in 20 overs.

It should have been an easy target to chase for Pakistan. But there was the pressure of an Indian-Pakistan clash in a World Cup final.

Led by the impressive RP Singh, Indian bowlers kept MS Dhoni’s team in the game as they picked up wickets regularly.

But Misbah ul Haq (43 off 38 balls) remained defiant, keeping Pakistan hopes alive until the last over of this nail-biting encounter. Needing 13 off the last over from Joginder Sharma, Misbah hit a six in the second ball.

With Pakistan now needing six off four balls, the stage was set for Misbah to become Pakistan’s hero. But he tried the scoop shot over the fine-short leg only to find S Sreesanth who made no mistake, ending the humdinger in the most dramatic fashion and giving India yet another victory over Pakistan in a World Cup match.

Amir, Fakhar star in Champions Trophy final in England and Wales (2017)

Pakistan had the momentum going into the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India.

But they had never beaten India in an ICC tournament. But Fakhar Zaman (114 off 106 balls), an intrepid left-hander, had no respect for history as he scored a stunning century.

With fine half-centuries from Azhar Ali (59) and Mohammad Haffez (57 not out), Pakistan managed to post an intimidating 338 for four in 50 overs.

It was a good wicket to bat on and despite the big total, few thought Pakistan could defend the total against the world-class batting line-up of India. But Mohammed Amir (3/16) had other ideas.

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The gifted left-arm pacer produced a magical spell of swing and control to dismiss the big three in the Indian batting line-up – Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan – to set the tone for Pakistan’s first victory over their big rivals in an ICC tournament.

India were never in the run chase after the fall of their big guns, despite Hardik Pandya's late assault on their spinners.

Pakistan went on to lift their first big trophy in the 50-over format after their heroic come-from-behind triumph in the 1992 World Cup


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