On 25th March 1992, Imran Khan’s long-standing dream of winning a cricket world cup came true. It was an outstanding achievement for a young team which looked down and out of the tournament in the midway. They did not have a great start and lost to West Indies. On 1st March they were bowled out for just 74 against England in the group league match. A certain defeat converted to a no result due to rain and gave them the vital one point which was useful at the final calculation.
Still, they faced New Zealand in the semi-final. Arguably the best team of the tournament New Zealand was playing at their home with huge crowd support but a tricky chase was completed as the young Inzamam-ul-Haq announced himself in the world stage.
Along with the seasoned duo of Imran and Javed Miandad, the squad had some good players like Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed, Aamer Sohail, Rameez Raza, and Saleem Malik. A bunch of good players but none yet got the legendary status. They were also missing the pace sensation Waqar Younis due to injury.
As the luck would have it, Pakistan’s opponent in the big final was England who was playing their 3rd final in last four versions of the tournament and keen to win. England had a good start as they removed both the openers Sohail and Rameez with only 24 on board. Imran wanted to control the proceedings and came to bat at number 3 and he along with Miandad slowly built a partnership. Pakistan scored just 70 runs in first 25 overs and things did not look good. The acceleration came soon after both Imran and Miandad scored the fifties. Once Miandad was gone Inzamam came and played another gem of an innings to add 42 of 35 runs. Akram also contributed with an 18-ball 33 and Pakistan somehow managed to reach 249.
The target was probably reachable for England. However, they lost Botham for zero and Alec Stewart also gone cheaply. Gooch and Hick tried to build a partnership but both were gone to the wily leg spinner, Mushtaq Ahmed. From 69 for 4, Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb batted sensibly and added 72 runs to give some hope to the English dressing room. At that point, Imran brought back Akram who produced two beautiful swinging deliveries to get Lamb and Chris Lewis on back to back deliveries. With more than 100 runs to score and just 4 wickets remaining it was not easy for England anymore. Fairbrother was taken by Aaqib Javed for 62 and England were all out for 227. Fittingly the Captain Imran took the final wicket and his image of smiling raising both his hand is a permanent memory of many cricket fans. Imran and Miandad were the only survivors of the inaugural world cup in 1975 and finally, their dream came true. It also helped Imran to fulfill his dream of building a Cancer hospital in Pakistan in memory of his late mother.
In Image: Pakistan team celebrating the World Cup win in 1992