Over the years India and Pakistan have played closely-fought matches and many of these duels have come in the Asia Cup. Here is a look at some of the close contests from the continental cup.
Possibly one of the tightest matches ever. Also memorable because Shahid Afridi went boom boom to give Pakistan a nail-biting one-wicket win. Buoyed by fifties from Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Ravindra Jadeja, India made a decent 245/8 in 50 overs.
Pakistan were steady in chase. But, the wickets of Hafeez and Sohaib Maqsood in consecutive overs though left Pakistan needing 47 runs with four wickets in hand. Then, Afridi walked in. He took little time to settle and flayed Jadeja first and then Bhuvneshwar Kumar even as wickets kept tumbling. In the last over, Pakistan needed 10 runs but had just two wickets in hand. Saeed Ajmal was bowled around his legs by Ashwin but then from almost nowhere, Afridi came up with two huge sixes to finish the game.
Two days after Sachin Tendulkar reached the magic figure of 100 centuries, it was Virat Kohli’s time to show who is most likely to step into the maestro’s shoes. It was, however, not before Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed had struck centuries to put on 224 runs for the opening stand, the highest in India-Pakistan matches. Younis Khan provided the late fireworks to take Pakistan to 329, a steep total. Kohli though had other ideas.
Gautam Gambhir departed in the first over but then Kohli combined with Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma to produce stands of 132 runs and 172 runs respectively. The second partnership came in just 26 overs as Kohli quickly shifted gears to produce a knock that had 22 fours and two sixes. Kohli could have surpassed Saeed Anwar’s 194, the best knock in India-Pakistan matches, but what he had achieved (183) was already special. It also helped India complete their highest successful run chase at that time.
This was one seesaw match that India won due to the bat-swinging ability of Harbhajan Singh. Pakistan posted a handsome 267 and India seemed all set to win after Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni put on 98 for the third wicket. But from 180/2 India suddenly found themselves at 219/6 with Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja all gone.
It was left to Suresh Raina to complete the job who did quite well to take the game to the last over. But he was run out with six still needed. But Harbhajan sent the fifth ball of that over, bowled by Mohammed Amir, over mid-wicket for a six and followed it up with a customary roar.
This came during a period when India seemed to lose steam almost all the time against Pakistan. Sharjah was then considered Pakistan’s ODI backyard and it again lived up to the status as India were literally snuffed out by Aaqib Javed. This came after Inzamam-ul-Haq and Wasim Akram bailed out Pakistan from a slight crisis in the middle-order to give them a total they could easily defend. India’s nightmare started early too, as Javed dismissed Manoj Prabhakar and Sachin tendulkar for 0 and 4 respectively.
Navjyot Singh Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar tried to salvage the chase with gritty fifties but by then Javed had run through the middle-order, adding Mohammed Azharuddin and Vinod Kambli before finishing a fine fifer with Javagal Srinath’s wicket. Javed ended with 5/19 and India were all out for 169.
Less than a year after beating West Indies in a low-scoring World Cup final, India were again faced with the task of restricting their opponents in a low-scoring thriller. This being Sharjah and that too against Pakistan, the odds were stacked against India after they could muster only 188.
India had to again fall back on the swing bowling of Roger Binny who took the vital wickets of Zaheer Abbas and Qasim Umar after a wiry Ravi Shastri got rid of Mohsin Khan and Mudassar Nazar. But the real hero was India’s fielding which resulted in four run-outs. Pakistan were all out for 134 and by virtue of this win, India won the Rothmans Asia Cup after ending with highest points.