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The day when one of the greatest one-day knocks in India-Pakistan rivalry was played

21st May 1997 was the day when one of the greatest one-day knocks in India-Pakistan rivalry was played in Chennai. Saeed Anwar played a knock of 194 runs on this day.

Last updated: 21.05.2019
Saeed Anwar 194 | Sports Social Blog

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21st May 1997 was the day when one of the greatest one-day knocks in India-Pakistan rivalry was played in Chennai. India was celebrating the 50th year of their independence and a four-nation tournament, Pepsi Independence Cup was organized involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and host India. India was not a favourite as the young team was still trying to find their footing with players like Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in their first year of regular international cricket and senior player Mohammad Azharuddin was dropped. With Javagal Srinath missing out due to injury, the bowling also looked inexperienced with Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble leading the attack. Pakistan also missed out on their three premier bowlers Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed due to county commitments. The Sri Lankan team was the world champion and looked the strongest under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga.

On this day, India and Pakistan met on a virtual semi-final and Sri Lanka already qualified with two wins. Pakistan captain Rameez Raja won the toss and elected to bat. The young Shahid Afridi came to bat with experienced Saeed Anwar. Although Afridi was gone with just 8 runs on board, Anwar was looking for a big score and he batted brilliantly. It was sensible batting which mixed caution with aggression and any bad delivery was punished mercilessly. The Chennai heat took its toll and by the 19th over, Afridi came out again as a runner for Anwar. Anwar used this as his advantage and focussed only on playing shots. He completed his century and then hit Anil Kumble for three consecutive sixes in one over. Soon after, 150 was crossed and Anwar kept moving towards the elusive ODI 200 at that time. Viv Richards’ 189 was the highest ODI score back then and Anwar broke the record. For India, captain Tendulkar tried many option and forced to bowl himself at the death. At 194, he tried pulling Tendulkar and the mistimed shot went very high and Sourav Ganguly took a well judged catch running behind in the fine leg region. Anwar could not score the 200 but remained the owner of the highest score in an India-Pakistan match.

Pakistan posted 327 which was virtually not out of reach in those days. Still India fought bravely. Ganguly gave a good start with 28-ball 33, Rahul Dravid scored his maiden ODI hundred and Vinod Kambli scored a fifty but finally the lower order could not provide the support and India were all out for 292 in the 50th over as Aaqib Javed took 5 wickets for 61 runs.


India were eliminated as Pakistan qualified for best-of-three final against Sri Lanka which they lost by losing first two matches in Mohali and Eden Gardens.

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