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It is not JUST cricket: Top Pakistan vs India moments

Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir celebrates taking the wicket of India’s Shikhar Dhawan - 2017
©Reuters
 
India's captain Mahendra Dhoni holds the ICC World Twenty20 trophy after his team defeated Pakistan in the final
©Reuters
 

There is no sporting rivalry in the world as fierce, as explosive and as critical as the one between Pakistan and India. Any cricketing fan would uphold this claim, that the most exhilarating and nerve-racking feud in existence is between these two. Even former ICC Umpire Ian Gould once wittily remarked that to officiate Pakistan vs India was indeed quite “intimidating”.

Millions, actually billions tune in whenever the ‘Shaheens’ take on the ‘Men in Blue’. But as the world is left wanting for live cricket during this pandemic, let’s flip through the pages of history to relive some of the most compelling moments between Pakistan and India.

1.            Pakistan Vs India 1986 Austral Asia Cup Final

This moment commands the top spot on this list, being a truly electrifying encounter between the arch-rivals. Even with almost 500 runs scored, a rarity in those times, it was a nail biter, stuff thrillers are made of. At the culminating moment, standing on a masterful 110 facing Chetan Sharma, needing a boundary off the last delivery to seal the deal for Pakistan, Javed Miandad lofted the ball into the stands for a six, creating a moment that made its way into the record books for times to come.

This impressive feat enabled team ‘Green’ to lift their first ever major ICC ODI trophy. Miandad’s six etched into the memories of Pakistani fans forever, described by Wasim Akram as, “A piece of cricket beauties”.

2.            India vs Pakistan 1997 Pepsi Independence Cup

In a face-off between Pakistan and India on May 27th1997, held in Chennai, Saeed Anwar made records tumble. For much of the first half of the game, his bat bestowed relentless fury on the Indian bowling line-up despite pulling a hamstring. His 194 off 146 remained the highest individual ODI score by a batsman for the longest time ever, an entire decade to be precise. 

Pakistan posted a momentous total of 326 and pulled off a 35-run victory. Even though S. Anwar just fell 6 short of a double century, his record sum set a new bar in cricket. His innings also changed the stance of cricket analysts on what players could achieve in modern day ODI.

3.            Pakistan vs India 2004 Bilateral ODI series

A phenomenal match to remember in Pak vs Ind history is the first Samsung ODI series held in Karachi. A mammoth 700-run game set the tone for an infamous series between the two giants. The result was in balance until the very last ball, with India seizing the win by a mere 5 runs.

India took to bat first and pressed on the gas from the word ‘go’, hammering the Pakistani bowling attack for 140 runs in just 15 overs. Even though the momentum was repeatedly broken, first with Sehwag’s and then with Ganguly’s wicket in the 16th and 26th over respectively, it failed to perturb the batting side. Rahul Dravid’s brilliant 99 helped India secure a stupendous total of 349.

The game was never going to be in Pakistan’s favour as no team had ever chased 350 before in ODI. Despite the heroics of Inzamam and Yousaf Youhanna, the home-side ended up succumbing to pressure and lost the game. This became an iconic moment in Indo-Pak cricket history, as back then two teams scoring 340 in the same game was literally unheard of.

4.            Pakistan vs India 2007 ICC T20 World Cup final

A match that Indian fans will always hold dear to their heart and one that their Pakistani counterparts would like to forget; The 2007 T20 World Cup final. It was the first edition of the T20 World Cup and what better finish than a finale between India and Pakistan. Gambhir led the way for team India, delivering a classy knock of 75 off just 54 balls. His contribution, backed by a late cameo from the then young gun Rohit Sharma, enabled Indian present a target of 157.

Pakistan started out with some high-octane stuff, scoring 53 runs in 6 overs, but soon were hurdled down to 77-6, managing to pull back the only way they could, only for Misbah to scoop one into the hands of Sreesanth in the final over. A moment which to this day haunts Pakistani cricket fans.

This match has an important place in history as it welcomed the age of MS Dhoni, the “Captain Cool”, yet most eminently, it paved way for a new-look India.

5.            Pakistan vs India 2014 Asia Cup

If a match filled with suspense and edge-of the seat moments had ever reached a pinnacle in cricket, then this game did. It had the feel of the one in Sharjah in ’86, the outcome hung by a thread till the last over, only to be sealed by a six in 49.3 overs with just one wicket remaining. For many, it brought back golden-age cricket nostalgia.

India took to bowl after posting a respectable 245 on the board. Pakistan wobbled through the middle overs, much to the horror of their fans. However, some aid from Mohammad Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood helped them cruise steadily later on. What was to be a comfortable win seemed a daunting task at one stage. Then came in ‘Boom Boom’ with the outcome falling solely into his hands and the rest as they is history. In his trademark move and most dramatic approach possible, Afridi sent Ashwin’s two back to back deliveries into the stands.

Afridi’s 34 off 18 turned an almost hopeless cause in Pakistan’s favour. His heroics won the hearts of Pakistanis around the world and still gives goose bumps to those who choose to watch the moment.

6.            Pakistan vs India Champions Trophy Final 2017

The 2017 ICC Champions Trophy Final at Kia Oval. A tournament where Pakistan was written off even before it started until that dead rubber group clash against Sri Lanka at Cardiff. India were destined to win, it was their cup to lose, with the entire cricketing world pinning their money on the ‘Men in Blue’ but in a series of unprecedented events, Sarfaraz led Pakistan slaughtered Kohli’s XI for a 180-run victory.

It all started with a new man on the block, Fakhar Zaman and his swash-buckling century. What caught the Indian attack off guard was the element of surprise, one they didn’t foresee. For he had only ever played three ODI’s prior to this game. Following his dismissal Mohammad Hafeez, the ‘Professor’s’ unorthodox knock of 57 off 37 helped Pakistan put up a fighting target of 338. It was meticulously sublime and a treat to watch.

With illustrious run-making machines like King Kohli and Rohit Sharma, the target was well within the mighty Indian’s reach. However, Amir’s top-notch opening spell put an end to any such possibility. It was poetry in motion, a Wasim Akram reincarnated. He dismissed India’s top order; his ferocity alone seemed to be scaring them off. At 33 for 3, India still had a chance with the dynamic duo of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj by their side. But what followed was surreal. Two upcoming stars, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali made easy work of the Indian middle order and the team batting second had no option but to surrender for a very humbling total of 158 runs.

What made this game so special was that Pakistan not only managed to silence the critics but pretty much settled the score for all previous defeats by India in major ICC events. Team ‘Green’ managed to script the perfect “Underdog” story. For millions of younger Pakistani fans, it was their first-time witnessing Pakistan pulling off a Pakistan.

As all of us pray for these testing times to be over and wish to make out of it alive, the cricketing world awaits for the next tie between the neighbouring giants, hoping for one to be worthy of making to the list of “Top Pak vs Ind moments”.

 

Fasih Taqvi is currently an O’Levels student in quarantine in Islamabad, Pakistan.

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