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Most memorable India – Pakistan matches of all time

Amogh Patnaik

As India thrashed Bangladesh by 9 wickets at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, in Birmingham, they set up a mouth-watering final clash against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Oval on Sunday. In what is sure to be a high voltage match, let us look at some of the most memorable India – Pakistan matches of all time.

Pakistan came into the tournament ranked 8th. Their squad felt lacking in star quality or any notable match winners. Their attack was led by a bowler who averaged 58 over the past years and their fielding unit was arguably the worst in the competition. Yet, against all odds, they reached the final of the ICC Champions trophy, convincingly beating hosts and tournament favourites England in the 1st semi-final.

India, on the other hand, came into the tournament off the back of a strong year in International cricket and started their defence of the trophy they won four years ago with a thumping victory over this very Pakistan side by 124 runs. With their openers being the top two run-getters of the tournament, a strong and fierce fast bowling unit and a top-notch fielding unit, there is no doubt India go into the final as favourites.

So here are the top 5 memorable India-Pakistan clashes over the years.

5) 2004 Champions Trophy; Pakistan won by 3 wicket

This was the first time Pakistan beat India in an ICC tournament. India, Pakistan and Kenya were all pitted in the same group. Both the teams beat Kenya and faced each other in a do-or-die clash.

Batting first, India put an underwhelming display, putting up a mere 200 runs on the board with Rahul Dravid (67) being the highest scorer.

Pakistan seemed to be trudging weakly in the early stages, having been reduced to 27-3 after an impressive start by left arm pacer Irfan Pathan. However, Yousuf Youhana (now Mohammad Yousuf), with an unbeaten 81, helped by a late cameo by Shahid Afridi (25 off 12 balls), took Pakistan home with 4 balls to spare.

4) 1996 Wills World Cup; India won by 39 runs

The difference in the final scores would suggest that this was a relatively easy victory for India. But that could not further from the truth. This was the biggest match of the tournament, as it pitted arch rivals India and Pakistan against  each other in a World Cup quarterfinal. Pakistan were the defending champions while India were the hosts, as the jam packed Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore witnessed some incredible action.

Wasim Akram could not play due to injury, which meant Aamir Sohail led the side. India batted first and set a huge target of 289 for Pakistan. The innings will be remembered for Ajay Jadeja’s brutal assault on Waqar Younis in the last few overs.

Pakistan began their run chase in fine style. But then Aamir Sohail got caught up in the moment and started a verbal between himself and Venkatesh Prasad. Prasad bowled Sohail of the very next ball, and Pakistan never recovered after that.

 3) 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup; India won by 6 wickets

Playing their final group game against Pakistan, India came into this match with just one loss in the league stages, against the mighty Australians.

After winning the toss, the Men in Blue put Pakistan in to bat first. A gritty innings from Saeed Anwar of 101 runs steadied the ship for Pakistan after they lost early wickets, and they put up a challenging total of 273/7.

Against a Pakistani bowling side comprising of Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, this looked like a challenging total to chase. Although India too lost two crucial wickets early, a 100-run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Kaif, and contributions from Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid ensured India won the match in the 46th over by 6 wickets. Sachin won the MOTM award for his innings of 98 off 75 balls.

India then went on to reach the finals of the World Cup, only to lose again to Australia, but the victory over Pakistan and an overall stellar display in the tournament ensured they came back from the World Cup with their heads held high.

2) 2011 ICC World Cup Semi Final; India won by 29 runs

India came into the World Cup as clear favourites, as it was taking place on home turf. After a convincing display against the defending champions Australia in the quarter final at the Motera Stadium, it was time to face Pakistan in the semi final at Mohali.

With celebrities, diplomats, and PM’s of both countries in attendance, this was more than just a cricket match. The Men in Blue won the toss and chose to bat first. India got off to a flying start, kudos to Virender Sehwag’s sizzling innings. Sachin Tendulkar then went on to score 85 runs, albeit assisted by 4 dropped catches and surviving 2 very close LBW decisions.

India put on a total of 260 in 50 overs. The bowlers, then, did a fine job, bowling out the Pakistan side for 231 and booking their berth in the final.

India then went on to win the coveted trophy after 28 years, beating Sri Lanka in the finals at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai by 6 wickets.

1) 1986 Austral-Asia Cup; Pakistan won by 1 wicket

The inaugural edition of the Australasia Cup saw the two arch-rivals go head-to-head in the finals in Sharjah on April 18.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to field, and did well to restrict India to 245/7 in 50 overs after India had gotten off to a brilliant start with the openers K Srikkanth(75) and Sunil Gavaskar(92) getting runs on the board.

Pakistan’s chase, however, got off to a faltering start, losing three key batsmen with only 61 on the board. But it only set up what was then remembered as a “Javed Miandad special”.

Chetan Sharma was handed the final over, who back then, had a reputation of delivering under pressure. But up against Miandad’s will and doggedness, Sharma was no match. With 4 required off the last delivery, Miandad smashed a waist-high full toss over the ropes.

And they rest, as they say, is history.      

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