(This article was first published on 15 June 2019. It has been updated and republished from The Quint's archives ahead of the India-Pakistan encounter in the upcoming Men's T20 World Cup on 24 October.)
It is never a dull day when the two arch-rivals, India and Pakistan, lock horns with each other in the World Cup or in any ICC tournament. Emotions are at peak during these encounters and understandably so, considering the political tensions existing between the two countries ever since the Partition in 1947.
The intensity of this clash has increased even further ever since the two countries cut bilateral cricketing ties with each other back in 2008.
India and Pakistan have been playing against one another only in ICC tournaments since then and hence, people on the two sides of the border remain glued to their television sets, leaving all their day-to-day activities behind, just to be a witness to this epic encounter.
As the two teams come out on 24 October to mark the beginning of yet another epic contest, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable moments of this rivalry from the previous editions of the World Cup.
The Little Master Announces His Arrival on the Biggest Stage
The World Cup encounter of 1992 between the arch-rivals was already a significant one as it was the first of such instances. However, the occasion was made even more special and significant as a 19-year-old Sachin Tendulkar bagged his first Man of the Match award on the biggest stage.
Although he didn’t play much of a role in the previous two games of the tournament, Sachin showed his temperament and genius with a stroke-filled knock of 54* off just 62 deliveries in the highly intense match.
Moreover, he was also involved in a 60-run stand for the sixth wicket with the legendary Kapil Dev, which lifted India from a tricky score of 148/5 to a challenging total of 216/7.
The young Tendulkar used to be an important weapon of India’s bowling arsenal back in those days and hence, his golden arm snared the all-important wicket of Aamer Sohail later on as well. India went on to win the match comfortably by 43 runs and the Indo-Pak rivalry looked well set-up in the upcoming years.
Miandad’s High-Jumps Triggered by More’s Appeals
The clash of 1992 is also remembered for the Javed Miandad-Kiran More episode. Chasing a target of 217, Pakistan were under pressure due to the fall of a couple of early wickets.
Even though Miandad and Aamer Sohail had arrested the slide, a disciplined bowling effort by the Indian bowlers ensured that runs were hard to come by for Pakistan. Miandad was also living on the edge as he was looking scratchy during that innings, thus finding it difficult to put bat on ball.
Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More appealed for everything that came his way while Miandad was on strike.
A heated-up exchange between the two players followed, and Miandad even complained to the umpire once. However, that didn’t have any effect on More as he continued his antics even after that.
Some overs later, after surviving a run-out scare at the wicket-keeper’s end, Miandad jumped up and down animatedly mimicking More’s excessive appealing. Everyone, starting from the audience to the commentators, looked on in awe with their brains trying to dissect what they had just seen out there.
That visual still remains the most unforgettable memories from an India-Pakistan encounter till date. Miandad was later dismissed by a searing yorker from Javagal Srinath and India went on to win the match by quite a healthy margin of 43 runs.
Jadeja Takes on Pakistan’s Finest
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru bore witness to a high-voltage India-Pakistan clash during the quarterfinals of the 1996 World Cup.
After winning the toss and opting to bat first, India had built a solid base riding on Navjot Singh Sidhu’s free-flowing knock of 93.
However, when the fourth wicket fell in the 42nd Over, with India’s score exactly on 200, it didn’t seem like India would get enough to defend on a pitch which was a batting paradise.
That was when Ajay Jadeja walked out to bat and produced one of the best cameos in an intense match. He started off steadily without too much aggression or fuss, but what he did to Waqar Younis, the finest death bowler Pakistan has ever produced, had every Indian fan jumping in joy and forced every other Pakistani fan watch in disbelief.
Jadeja went deep in his crease every time and converted Younis’ attempts of bowling yorkers into half-volleys. He faced two consecutive overs from the veteran pacer and helped India in getting 18 and 22 runs respectively of those two overs.
Even though Younis dismissed Jadeja ultimately, the aggressive batsman had already done his job as he returned to the pavilion with a precious 45 runs to his name off just 25 deliveries, which in turn propelled India’s score to a challenging 287/8. Later on, Pakistan fell short of the target by 39 runs and it was Jadeja’s innings that made all the difference.
The Prasad-Sohail Face-Off
Jadeja’s cameo wasn’t the only memorable moment from the 1996 clash. There was another incident recorded midway into Pakistan’s innings, which still takes the Indian fans back in time to savour the moment. Saeed Anwar and stand-in skipper Aamer Sohail had taken Pakistan off to a flying start by putting on a 84-run opening stand within the first 10 overs.
Although Anwar’s wicket fell soon after, Sohail continued with the same intensity and brought his 50 on with a strike-rate in excess of a 100.
Then came the moment, or rather, the precursor to the moment, which turned the tide of the match in India’s favour.
Sohail showed his aggressive intent once again as he stepped out and slashed a length delivery from Venkatesh Prasad to the extra-cover boundary. He didn’t stop there as he pointed out the direction towards that part of the boundary to Prasad, as if telling him to go and fetch the ball.
That fired up Prasad, who appeared to be wayward till then, and the very next ball from him uprooted Sohail’s stumps, as the Pakistani batsman tried to repeat the same shot.
Prasad gave Sohail quite a send-off and some rash words were spoken as well. The entire Indian crowd in the stadium, that appeared to be dead silent a while before, came to life once again. Once India tightened their grip on the match with Sohail’s dismissal, they never let it go. And the result was a superb Indian victory once again.
DRS and Dropped Catches Take Sachin One Step Closer to His Dream
It was Pakistan standing between India and the road to their third World Cup final, which would also go on to turn into their second World Cup title later on, when the two teams met in the semi-finals of the World Cup of 2011 at Mohali.
It was also the last opportunity for Sachin Tendulkar to add the highly coveted silverware to his cabinet full of trophies and he put on quite a fight on that day to make his dream come true.
While Sehwag started off in his familiar aggressive manner, Sachin seemed to be cautious in his approach. And it increased even more after Sehwag was dismissed for a 25-ball cameo of 38 runs in the sixth over of the innings.
Sachin tried to steady the ship along with Gautam Gambhir after that but a billion people had their hearts in their mouths when he was adjudged lbw off a Saeed Ajmal delivery in the 11th over of the innings.
The Little Master went for the DRS (Decision Review System) straightaway, which overturned Umpire Ian Gould’s call.
It turned out to be a significant moment in the game and the credibility of the DRS, which was still in its early developmental phase, was questioned by the fans and pundits alike.
India were looking to be in a comfortable position with the score of 116-1 but once Gambhir was dismissed, Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli fell cheaply as well, leaving India tottering on 141/4.
Sachin kicked along somehow and his innings was aided by four shambolic dropped catches by the Pakistani fielders as well. India’s score was 187 when Sachin finally departed for a precious 115-ball knock of 85 runs. The bowler who brought curtains down on his innings was Ajmal once again.
Even though the maestro lived a charmed life, his contribution and will to go on had led India to a safe position from where they reached a challenging total of 260/9 on a tricky Mohali pitch.
An excellent bowling performance by the Indian bowlers later on saw the Pakistani innings folding up for 231 runs and Sachin’s life had come full-circle as he picked up his final Man of the Match award in a World Cup as well, which was nearly 20 years after his first during the World Cup of 1992.