India’s 1983 world cup win worked as a catalyst to increase the popularity of the game in India as well as in the sub-continent. As a result, the newly formed Asian Cricket Council organized a tournament involving the three Asian nations India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and called it the Asia cup.
As a venue, Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates was selected for the first time to utilize the huge expat fan base from all the three nations present in UAE. Due to sponsorship reason the tournament was called the Rothman’s Asia cup and involved only three matches, one match each between the three teams.
India was the strongest but Pakistan also had some great players. Although Sri Lanka still did not have the test status yet they were expected to provide a good fight for the two powerhouses. One big blow for India was the unavailability of their captain Kapil Dev due to a knee injury and Sunil Gavaskar stepped in as the captain. For Pakistan also, the team did not include Imran Khan.
The tournament started in a sensational manner when Sri Lanka shocked the Pakistan team to beat them by 5 wickets. Indians were much careful and delivered a professional performance to get a 10-wicket win in the next match. Interestingly, for India, it was the young brigade who shone. First, it was Chetan Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar (making his debut) with the ball and then the wicketkeeper Surinder Khanna in a dual role as an opener who controlled the chase with an unbeaten fifty.
Then it was all about the final match on 13th April 1984 between India and Pakistan. India needed a win to secure the trophy whereas Pakistan had to win and also lift their net run rate to take it above India and Sri Lanka.
In a 46 over match, Khanna again gave a great start to India with his second fifty of the tournament. All the Indian batsmen contributed; Sandip Patil and Gavaskar, coming at number four and five respectively, provided a good finish and took them to 188/4 in the allocated overs.
Pakistan’s chase was on track till Qasim Umar and Zaheer Abbas were at the crease. But at 125 for four, Roger Binny got Qasim and the following two balls saw two runouts resulting in three wickets in three consecutive deliveries. At 125 for 7, the match was almost done. Whatever formalities were left, they were finished by 40th over after Pakistan got allout for 134. India got the win they wanted and also the Asia Cup trophy for the first time to prove their superiority in the regional battle.