India-Pakistan encounters have always been special! History has seen many epic battles. While the Indian team has been dominant over their arch-rivals in recent times, there was a time in the late 1980s when Pakistan brought out their best against India. Beating a Pakistan side with superstars like Imran Khan, Javed Miandad Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mustaq was well nigh impossible.
However, with the beginning of 1990s decade, that began to change. Barring Sharjah, where Pakistan was still a dominant force, the Indian team recorded some unforgettable victories over the Men-in-Green in that decade.
Here is a rewind to some of them.
The Sydney Thunder – Where it all began
The first ever World Cup encounter in 1992 between the arch-rivals took place at Sydney. Batting first, India posted 7/216 in 49 overs. A young genius by the name of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 54 off 62 balls.
Chasing this score, Pakistan were on the road to victory at 2/105 around the 30th over. Javed Mianadad, the man who was often the difference between victory and defeat for India was around and looked all set to carry his team to a win again. However some inspired bowling by Tendulkar saw the back of a dangerous looking Aamer Sohail for 62. The pacers then took over as the Indian side triggered a massive Pakistan collapse, bowling them out for 173 to record the first of 13 wins in ICC tournaments against their arch-rivals.
The Bangalore blues
The two teams faced-off in the quarter final of the 1996 Cricket World Cup at Bangalore. In this high octane encounter, India posted 287 thanks to Navjot Singh Sidhu’s 93 and Ajay Jadeja’s blitzkrieg 45 off 25 balls. Smashing the corner to all parts of the ground, Jadeja made great bowlers like Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed look pedestrian.
Despite chasing this stiff target in only, the dynamic duo of Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar smashed more than 80 runs in the first 10 overs and put the Men-in-Green on the road to victory. However, in a moment of sheer madness, Sohail lost his cool and threw his wicket away to Venkatesh Prasad. The Indian team did not look back after this and restricted their neighbours to 9/248 to record a 39-run victory and book their place in the semi final.
Mount 300 eclipsed
Sharjah has witnessed many unforgettable matches between the two countries. This one was no different. Just a few days after the memorable Bangalore win, the rivals faced off again in the desert.
Having been beaten soundly by South Africa and Pakistan in the first leg, the Indian team had to win this game to stay alive in the tri-series. Batting first, Navjot Singh Sidhu once again rose to the occasion, smashing a 100. Sachin Tendulkar too came into his own with a century as the duo stitched a then Indian record stand of 231 runs for the second wicket. The final impetus was provided by skipper Mohammad Azharuddin as he smashed Ata-ur-Rehman for 24 runs in an over to help India cross the landmark of 300 runs for the first time in an ODI.
Chasing 306 for victory, Aamer Sohail and pinch-hitter Rashid Latif ensured Pakistan were ahead till of the required run-rate till the 25th over. But just like they did in Bangalore, a resilient Indian team did not give up, striking at regular intervals to bowl out the opposition for 277 in the 47th over and record a memorable 28-run victory.
The Karachi Blockbuster
The Indian team visited Pakistan for a short three-match ODI series in September-October 1997. Still high on the back a 4-1 Sahara Cup series triumph in Toronto against Pakistan, the Indian team was brought down to earth by the same opponent in the first ODI at Hyderabad (Pakistan).
Needing a win to stay alive in the series, India were set a target of 266 in 47 overs at Karachi. Sourav Ganguly (89) continued his Man-of-the-Series exploits from Toronto and got able support from Vinod Kambli (53). It all boiled down to the last over, with Rajesh Chauhan hoicking Saqlain Mushtaq into the stands for a six to help the Indian team record their first ODI victory on Pakistan soil in more than 15 years.
The Independence Cup miracle at Dhaka
At a time when chasing down totals in excess of 300 was thought of as impossible tasks, how about a target of 315 in 48 overs!
In the deciding third final of the Independence Cup at a bitter cold 1998 January day in Dhaka, Saeed Anwar (140) and Ijaz Ahmed (117) did what they did best and ensured that Pakistan’s dominance over India continued as the Men-in-Green posted a mammoth 5/314 in 48 overs.
However, the Men-in-Blue were not going to cave in so easily this time around. Sachin Tendulkar, in majestic touch, smashed 41 in 26 balls to give the chase some impetus. Sourav Ganguly (124) and Robin Singh (82) then put India on the doorstep to victory with a 179-run second wicket stand. When Robin Singh departed in 39th over, victory seemed more or less assured for the Indian team with 64 required in 59 balls. But the game of glorious uncertainties continued as Pakistan fought back.
With the floodlights not being upto the required standards, the umpires were confused on whether to carry on. Skipper Mohammad Azharuddin insisted that the team will carry on. With 9 runs required off the last over, Pakistan were favourites as Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Javagal Srinath were at the crease. It came down to 3 runs required off 2 balls when Kanitkar slog swept a Saqlain delivery to the deep mid wicket fence to help India win the game and bring in a new era of Indian dominance in India-Pakistan games.
Scorecard Credits: CricInfo