Over the course of cricketing history, India-Pakistan matches have enthralled fans not just on both sides of the border but all over the globe.
The closest that might come to a cricketing rivalry between these two nations is the Ashes Test series played between Australia and England.
However, what makes the India-Pakistan encounter arguably even fiercer on the field is the history between the two nations off it.
With India and Pakistan set to lock horns against each other at the 2023 Asia Cup, let’s revisit some of the most memorable moments from the past between the two cricket-crazy nations.
THE LAST LAUGH
Pakistan’s Aamer Sohail and India’s Venkatesh Prasad got involved in a confrontation which added more spice to the 1996 ODI World Cup quarterfinal between the two sides in Bangalore. Earlier, riding on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s 93 and Ajay Jadeja’s quickfire 45 not out, India put up a challenging total of 288.
Batting second, Pakistan looked in complete control. Venkatesh Prasad was charging in to bowl to Sohail. After hitting the Indian fast bowler through cover for a four, the Pakistan opener gesticulated aggressively and pointed towards the boundary.
On the very next delivery, Prasad gave Sohail the perfect reply by shattering his off stump.
To add salt to Sohail's wounds, a pumped-up Prasad also gave him the marching orders, gesturing towards the dressing room. The dismissal changed the course of the match and India went on to register a 39-run victory.
THRILLER FOR THE AGES
India would never have, in their wildest dreams, imagined winning this match after being bundled out for a meagre 125 runs in the Rothmans Four-Nation Cup ODI opener in Sharjah.
The Indian batters were sent packing one by one, thanks to an excellent display of fast bowling from Pakistan skipper Imran Khan, who grabbed six for 14.
126 seemed like an easily achievable target, but India, who had entered the tournament high on confidence following their World Championship of Cricket win in Australia, were not yet ready to give up.
Skipper Kapil Dev led from the front, picking three for 17 while the rest of the bowlers put up a spirited display to skittle out Pakistan for just 87 runs.
Meanwhile, Gavaskar, who failed with the bat, impressed on the field, taking four catches in a game which proved that in sport, no results are guaranteed.
OVATION FOR PAKISTAN
The first Test of the three-match series against Pakistan in 1999 was held in Chennai. In the fourth innings, India were set a daunting target of 271.
The home side were in big trouble, as the top order crumbled to leave India at a precarious 82/5. Yet, not all was lost, because a 25-year-old Sachin Tendulkar was still at the crease.
He would go on to battle back pain and score one of his most memorable Test centuries. By the time Sachin was dismissed, India were a mere 17 runs away, with three wickets still in hand. But in what was the second complete turnaround within the same innings, Pakistan would gobble up the Indian tail within just 4 more runs, and eke a narrow 12-run victory.
The fighting spirit shown by Pakistan to win the match won the hearts of the spectators present at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
And despite the fierceness of the India-Pakistan rivalry, the spectators gave the visitors a standing ovation, lauding them for a hard-fought victory against their own side.
The first time India and Pakistan faced each other in a ODI World Cup, the match managed to create its fair share of drama, but not for cricketing reasons. The game received much significance for the antics of its players, especially Pakistan's Javed Miandad and India’s Kiran More.
The two were in the thick of things, engaging in an exchange of words soon after wicketkeeper More appealed for a catch against Miandad.
After playing the next ball, a visibly displeased Miandad then comically mocked the Indian’s gestures by jumping up and down.
The umpires reported the incident to the match referee, but no action was taken. Despite all the drama, India ended up as winners, defeating their opponents by 43 runs.
TONS GO IN VAIN
One of the best batters of his generation, India’s Sunil Gavaskar scored centuries in both the innings against Pakistan in the third match of the three-match Test series in Karachi.
However, it all went in vain as India lost the match by 8 wickets, and eventually the series 2-0 to the hosts. Pakistan batters Asif Iqbal (44) and Javed Miandad (62 not out) unleashed an onslaught upon the Indian bowlers to help their side pull off a late afternoon chase of 164 runs in just 25 overs on Day 5.
The match closely resembled a T20 encounter at a time when even ODI cricket was slowly making its advent.
After a quick start from the Pakistani duo, all-rounder Imran Khan continued the attack, taking the hosts past the finish line with some mighty blows.
THE PERFECT 10
Following their loss in Chennai, India decided to bounce back in the second Test at Delhi and one man single-handedly helped India level the series 1-1. Riding on Anil Kumble’s 10 for 74 in the second innings, India recorded a massive 212-run victory against Pakistan at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.
India’s premier leg spinner, Kumble, delivered the goods when it mattered the most on a challenging track.
The lanky spinner from Karnataka bamboozled the Pakistan batters with his length and accuracy, becoming only the second bowler after Jim Laker to take all 10 wickets in an innings in Test cricket.
Sachin Tendulkar was in fine form in the 2003 ODI World Cup in South Africa and there was no stopping him when India played Pakistan at the Centurion. The ‘Master Blaster’ hit 98 off 75 balls, playing a key role in India’s six-wicket win over their rivals.
Batting first, Pakistan rode on Saeed Anwar’s brilliant century to post 273 for three. However, opener Sachin put the game in India’s control, scoring at a brisk pace. Later, on Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh shared a 99-run partnership to take India home with 26 balls to spare.
The main highlight of the contest was the battle between Sachin and Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar. His eye-catching uppercut over third man for six in the second over is still etched in the memory of every cricket fan.
Though the Indian dominated the speedster for most of the match, Akhtar eventually dismissed Sachin two runs short of his hundred.
THE SULTAN OF MULTAN
This swashbuckling innings from Virender Sehwag at Multan, Pakistan, won him the moniker ‘Sultan of Multan’. The Indian opener scored a triple century – the first of his two in Test match cricket. It happened in the first of the three-match Test series against the hosts.
Sehwag’s 309 also made him the first Indian to score a triple century in Tests.
The event was extra special as India had toured their neighbours after a gap of seven years. Apart from Sehwag, Sachin also contributed with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 194 to post a huge total of 675 for five in the first innings.
India’s superb first innings score meant that Pakistan were never really in the hunt and they lost by an innings and 52 runs. The win in Multan paved the way for a 2-1 series win in India’s favour– the country’s first Test series win in Pakistan.
Pakistan emerged victorious in Sharjah in 1986, thanks to a last-ball six from Javed Miandad in the ODI final of the Austral-Asia Cup.
Needing four off the last ball with just one wicket in hand, Miandad dislodged bowler Chetan Sharma into the stands, breaking the heart of Indian players and fans alike.
Needing 246 to register a win, Pakistan never looked like they were in the race, losing wickets at regular intervals. However, Miandad, like on many other occasions against India, stood his ground and scored an unbeaten 116 off 114 deliveries to win the final for Pakistan.
THE BOWL-OUT VICTORY
A young Indian side under new skipper MS Dhoni met Pakistan in the group stage of the maiden ICC T20 World Cup in 2007.
It was the first T20 international between the two sides and was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. With both sides managing to score 141 runs after the designated 20 overs, the match went into a bowl-out to break the tie and decide the winner.
India won the famous bowl-out challenge, and the match, as three of their bowlers – Virender Sehwag, Robin Uthappa, and Harbhajan Singh hit the stumps, while for Pakistan, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, and Yasir Arafat all failed to hit the target.
A MISTIMED MISBAH SCOOP
IN THE T20 WORLD CUP FINAL
Probably one of India’s biggest wins against Pakistan in an ICC tournament took place in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup in Johannesburg. The nail-biting encounter saw the ‘Men in Blue’ post 157 runs, thanks to a vital 75 from opener Gautam Gambhir.
Pakistan started well, only to falter midway, but a lone man fightback from skipper Misbah-ul-Haq put India in a spot of bother.
Needing 13 runs from Joginder Sharma’s final over with one wicket to spare, Pakistan lost the match by five runs after Misbah scooped the third ball high, right into the hands of S Sreesanth at short fine leg.
The victory saw India being crowned champions of the first-ever T20 World Cup.
A DECADE LATER
The Oval, 2017
India and Pakistan once again met in the final of an ICC tournament – the 2017 Champions Trophy at the Oval in England. This time, however, the ‘Men in Green’ emerged winners, thereby, exacting revenge for their loss to India in the final of the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup.
Riding on Fakhar Zaman’s 114 and Azhar Ali’s 59, Pakistan posted a huge total of 338. In reply, favourites India were bowled out for just 158, courtesy of some superb bowling from Mohammad Amir and Hasan Ali, who both grabbed three wickets each.
Having lost the match by a huge margin of 180 runs, the game still haunts Indian fans who had hoped to witness their team lift another ICC trophy over their archrivals.
Now that we've revisited so many of our favourite cricketing moments between these two nations, it's time for you to test your India-Pakistan cricket knowledge!
Will the 2023 Asia Cup give us another great India-Pakistan encounter, one that will be etched in the history books and remembered even years later like these 12 unforgettable moments?
The anticipation, like always, is at fever pitch.
Hope you enjoyed reading our recollection of some of these evergreen moments of the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry.
Which one is your favourite? Pick one from the list below, or write in to us at email@example.com to recommend any additions to the list.