x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

When India v Pakistan matches reached boiling point

Whenever India play Pakistan, it calls for players to show mental fortitude to handle the atmosphere these matches generate.

Venkatesh Prasad, left, celebrates with India teammate Nayan Mongia after bowling Pakistan's Aamer Sohail at the 2003 World Cup. Shaun Botterill / ALLSPORT
Venkatesh Prasad, left, celebrates with India teammate Nayan Mongia after bowling Pakistan's Aamer Sohail at the 2003 World Cup. Shaun Botterill / ALLSPORT

Whenever India play Pakistan, it calls for players to show mental fortitude to handle the atmosphere these matches generate.

Success or failure can make or break a career or even define one. Sachin Tendulkar, the world's best batsman, cut his teeth against Pakistan in Pakistan and has not looked back since.

Javed Miandad, meanwhile, earned his reputation as one of the finest ever Pakistan batsmen by consistently performing well against India. Shoaib Akhtar, though, was never really the same bowler after being mauled by Tendulkar in a World Cup game.

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Matches between these two sides invariably conjure up high drama. We look back at five of the most memorable one-day fixtures between the two arch rivals:

1985, Rothman's Four Nations Cup, Sharjah

India were the World Cup champions but played nothing like it two years later as they were hustled out for just 125 on a wicket that looked a batsman's paradise. Mohammed Azharuddin and Kapil Dev scored almost half of India's runs.

But Kapil's side then showed why they were the world champions by reducing Pakistan from 35 without loss to 87 all out. It turned out to be the last victory for India in a while in the emirate as they lost 14 of their next 15 matches.

1986, Australasia Cup final, Sharjah

Just before the era of coloured clothing kicked in, Pakistan were fearing being left red faced after they were set 246 to win. India were favourites at the halfway stage but had not accounted for Miandad. He held the innings together and by the time the last over was bowled, he had reached his century and whittled down the equation to 10 from six balls.

Facing Chetan Sharma, Miandad stroked a four and then took what could have been a costly single as Zulqarnain, his partner, was bowled next ball. Tauseef Ahmed, the last man, then nearly ran himself out as he just managed to get Miandad back on strike. He threw everything at the final ball and knew he had cleared the ropes the moment he hit it. Pakistan won and India and Sharma were left crestfallen.

1992, World Cup, Sydney

Despite playing at a neutral venue for the first meeting between the two countries at a World Cup, the tension was palpable and a cautious India scored 216 batting first.

Pakistan had to promote Inzamam-ul-Haq to open in place of the absent Rameez Raja, but that backfired as they lost two quick wickets. It was Miandad to the rescue, again, as he not only steadied the ship but launched the march to victory along with Aamer Sohail. Then Kiran More, the spiky Indian wicketkeeper, got under Miandad's skin. Sledging away behind the stumps, he riled Miandad who vented his frustration by jumping up and down like a monkey.

The comic relief worked for India as they ran through the order and won by 43 runs.

1996, World Cup, Bangalore

Given the intensity, verbal clashes and tantrums are common place in this bilateral rivalry. But no one expected mild-mannered Venkatesh Prasad, the India medium-pacer, to be ruffled. But even he lost his cool.

Sohail, the left-hander, was in fluent form and by the 15th over, Pakistan were 113 for one. Sohail then hit Prasad for a boundary and said words to the effect: "Now go fetch it".

Prasad angled in the next ball from around the wicket and uprooted Sohail's off stump. Prasad celebrated with some choice words to Sohail as he made his way back to the dressing room.

Sohail gesticulated to the crowd on his way back and it was sign that Pakistan were about to unravel. They duly did, losing by 39 runs.

2003, World Cup, Centurion

Tendulkar was at his peak and so too was Shoaib, the fastest bowler in the world. The two went head-to-head in South Africa in front of an expectant crowd. Shoaib came steaming in and sent one down at 151kph. Tendulkar simply flicked his bat at the wide delivery as if he was swatting a mosquito and the ball sailed over point for a six.

The next ball was fractionally quicker but Tendulkar rocked back and effortlessly rolled his wrist over the ball for another boundary. A fired up Shoaib charged in again, unleashing a ball at 154kph but the "Little Master" sent it whistling past mid-on for four.

Shoaib eventually took Tendulkar's wicket but by then he had made 98 and the damage had been done.

kshyam@thenational.ae

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More on India v Pakistan

Dravid: India are favourites against Pakistan in today's World Cup semi
India and Pakistan have been two nations with one soul
India captain Dhoni wary of Pakistan counterpart Afridi's spin
A two-point agenda for everyone at Mohali
Time for some hyperbole as Afridi blames media
Sri Lanka recover to beat New Zealand in Muralitharan's send-off game

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