India Vs Pakistan - 1992
The cricket World Cup is an event which lures plenty from the general public to get glued to their television sets for a brief month or so. But one particular encounter which most cricket lovers so dearly await for is an India-Pakistan game in the biggest stages of them all. 1992 was the year when the arch-rivals were facing one another for the first time ever in the Benson & Hedges Cup (now referred to as the ICC Cricket World Cup) while wearing their respective coloured kits. The hype was real, and so were the expectations of the millions watching their nation collide at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Batting first, the Indian team scored a moderate total of 216 with valuable contributions from Sachin Tendulkar (54) and Ajay Jadeja (46). Pakistan had a shaky start after losing 2 early wickets for under 20, but opener Aamer Sohail and Javed Miandad kept ticking the runs for their team.
That’s when a brief moment of madness was captured on the screen which also turned out as one of the most humorous acts in the history of the World cricket, as Javed was supposedly witnessed mimicking India’s wicketkeeper Kiran More by leaping up and down a couple of times which lead to a roar in the stands.
(Miandad’s moment of madness)
Kiran More eventually had the better outcome with two catches, a stumping, and a run out of the skipper – Imran Khan in the game. India ended up winning their first ever encounter in the World Cup against the neighbours by 43 runs.
India Vs Pakistan 1996
Though Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup, they still wouldn’t have forgotten their defeat to arch-rivals – India in the respective tournament in that same year. Pakistan under the captaincy of Aamer Sohail was up for revenge in the quarterfinal round against India, but the men in blue had the advantage of playing in a big Bangalore crowd who constantly had their backing throughout. Opting to bat first, the Indians posted a formidable total of 287 with cricketer turned politician – Navjot Singh Sidhu leading from the front with a crucial 93 for the hosts.
The pressure was high and Pakistan had a big task ahead of them as they were without the presence of the great Wasim Akram that evening, after he had ruptured a side muscle. Some even to this day state that Akram withdrew deliberately after various bribery allegations, which the skipper had clearly denied and was in shock of.
Pakistan started off their innings fairly well with Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar going all guns blazing against the Indian bowlers. Anwar was dismissed just two runs short of his half-century by Anil Kumble, but Sohail kept dominating the bowlers with flair-filled shots. Aamer Sohail was filled with utmost confidence through his willow to an extent that he taunted and pointed Venkatesh Prasad of smashing him for another boundary down the covers region while giving him ‘the eyes.’
(Prasad has the last laugh)
Prasad silently accepted the challenge and bowled a short of good length delivery to the stand-in captain of Pakistan which rifled into him and struck the off stump on the very next ball. Venkatesh Prasad had the last laugh and gave Sohail a taste of his own medicine by pointing him to head back towards the dressing room with complete aggression. It all went downhill from there for the visitors as India ended up winning the quarterfinal round by 39 runs in front of their own people. The aftermath wasn’t pleasant for Pakistan as plenty of fans were later seen burning Wasim Akram’s posters which made things ugly for them and the country.
India Vs Pakistan 1999
The tension was even higher for the third round in the 1999 World Cup between India and Pakistan as both nations were engaged in the Kargil war. Blood levels were bound to be high that year, which built this particular fixture up as nothing less-but war for the fans.
Security was as high as ever, and there were quite a few arrests after incidents were being reported of national flags being burned near the stadium at Old Trafford. Both sets of fans were filled with aggression and enthusiasm which was evident with the way they were cheering their respective teams while beating the big drums and blowing the whistles.
Batting first for the third successive time against Pakistan in the World event, the Indian batsman couldn’t capitalize as they wanted, with them scoring just the 227 in 50 overs. But it was a memorable day for the little master Sachin Tendulkar as the star batsman went past the 8000 run accolade in ODI cricket. Half-centuries from Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Azharuddin crawled India’s total past 200 towards the end of the innings.
(Another one in the record books for Tendulkar)
Saeed Anwar asserted himself to the wicket in a formidable manner in the second innings, but 3 wickets from Javagal Srinath and a match-winning fifer from Venkatesh Prasad, while conceding 27 runs turned out to be pivotal for the Indians.
Pakistan suffered their third straight loss in the World Cup against India as they fell short 47 runs, after getting bundled out for 180, with Moeen Khan and Inzamam ul Haq’s cameos ending in vain. The Indian fans were in euphoria, who celebrated the win as a major ‘check mate’ moment, considering the uneasiness that was being accumulated between the two countries.
Go to Part 2