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Another High Scoring India-Pakistan Classic

India Vs Pakistan cricket match has always been a high profile match. India's victory in their tour of 2004 in Pakistan was sensational.

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Last updated: 13.03.2019
India vs Pakistan: Cricket Tour of 2004 | Sports Social Blog

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Sachin Tendulkar made his debut in Pakistan during India’s tour of 1989. Then due to the troubled relationship between these two nations India only went to play a three-match ODI series in Pakistan in 1997. But this was affected by the crowd. But scenario seemed to have improved and India finally went to Pakistan to play a five-match ODI series and a subsequent three-test series in. Meanwhile, they kept facing each other in the World Cups at the neutral venues and the 2003 World Cup clash was a famous one which India won, thanks to masterful 98 by Tendulkar.

In 2004 fans were excited to witness something big. The cricket world was ready to watch the clash of the arch-rivals in a way like never before.  Both teams were strong with some legendary names in the squads. But the most hyped battle was between Tendulkar and Pakistani star Shoaib Akhtar. Even the pre-match press conference was heated with Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and Pakistan coach Javed Miandad providing enough aggressive quotes to keep the journalists interested.

The first match of the series played on 13th March at National Stadium Karachi. Both the teams were batting heavy hence Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bowl first. Shoaib Akhtar’s first over included two wides and two no balls and went for 10. India had a rollicking start with the hitter Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar played an anchor’s role. Pakistani bowlers’ lack of discipline also helped India and they added 69 runs in just 9 overs when Tendulkar got out. Captain Ganguly joined but run rate went up even further. Ganguly’s first scoring shot was a six and provided good support to Sehwag who scored 79 of 57 and took the run rate to almost 10. After Sehwag’s departure, Ganguly and Dravid kept accelerating the scoreboard. There was a phase when Pakistani bowlers seemed to have some control over the game. The managed to get Dravid out for  99 in the 48th over and could restrict India from adding 10-15 runs. But still the Indian total was a mammoth of 349 and for Pakistan, the required run rate was more than 7.

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During Pakistan’s innings, Laxmipati Balaji and Zaheer Khan took a wicket each to give India the early initiatives. However, Inzamam came and took control of the match. His 122 off 102 balls was a special inning and with good support from Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan, Inzamam took Pakistan to 278 in the 43rd over.

The equation was 72 required of 47. Not an easy task in the Pre-T20 days; and at that point, it was anyone’s game. There were handy contributions from Abdul Razzaq and Moin Khan, and Shoaib Malik was sent at eight to finish the chase. But in the 49th Over Malik was out to an unbelievable catch by Mohammad Kaif and finally, 9 runs were required from last 6 balls to be bowled by Ashish Nehra. Nehra bowled brilliantly and Moin and Navel-ul-Hasan could take only 3 runs in first five balls. A six was required off the last ball. A scenario that was very familiar to Indian and Pakistani fans with the main protagonist of that heist, Miandad sitting in the dressing room. His frantic instructions and hand waving went in vain as Moin was caught by Zaheer off the very last delivery of the match.

It was a great win for India. Pakistan made a match of it from an almost hopeless scenario. Still, India showed the calmness and skill to finish off the match and this confidence helped them to go ahead and win their first ODI series in Pakistan.

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