Sportstar's all-time sports classics: Windies' crown, Dravid's fastest ODI fifty, Dada's Dhaka heroics

As the coronavirus continues to affect sporting events across the globe, we take a look at five classic matches from the past that are worth revisiting.

West Indies goes into the World T20 this year as defending champion, with fond memories of a legendary game that saw the side snatch the title away from England.   -  AFP

‘The Test’ couldn’t have released at a better time. The Amazon Prime documentary on the Australian cricket team’s darkest phase post the Cape Town ball-tampering saga has come at an opportune time as people around the world have accepted social distancing in the time of the coronavirus outbreak. In most parts of India, theatres are being shut and there is a global lockdown in the world of sports.

If the lack of sporting action has left a void in your day, here's something to satiate that hunger - our pick of five classic matches from the years gone by that you should revisit.

READ: The Test review: Sandpapergate to Ashes glory and everything in between

1. India vs Pakistan, World Cup quarterfinal, 1996: This was my first experience of the famed India-Pakistan rivalry. When Ajay Jadeja had sent the ball to the terrace of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium while taking on Waqar Younis, a kid in my south Calcutta neighbourhood started yelling ‘Jade, amar chhade’ (Jadeja, on my terrace). For an eight-year-old who was taking baby steps into understanding and playing the sport, the Wills World Cup 1996 was the easiest available tutorial, conveniently running for a month.

This game remains a favourite of mine for the forever ‘cool’ Ajay Jadeja and a charged-up Venkatesh Prasad. Batting at No. 6, Jadeja tore apart Pakistan's erstwhile pace spearhead Waqar, taking India to 287. The effortless hitting changed the way I looked at Waqar — the super fit and fast bowler who could do no wrong. But here he was, leaking 67 runs in 10 overs. During the chase, Pakistan was cruising with Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar scoring close to 10 an over.  It was all well till Sohail decided to engage in a chat with local boy Prasad. After slashing one through extra cover, he had walked up to the bowler asking him to go, fetch the ball. Prasad did not have enough speed, but he had accuracy. The next ball uprooted Sohail’s stumps with the bowler giving him an angry send-off.

You don’t mess with a boy from Bengaluru in Bengaluru! In the end, India won by 39 runs.

100

Venkatesh Prasad in his element is not a bowler to be messed with.   -  V.V.Krishnan



READ: Sportstar's all-time sports classics: India in England, Lee's Davis Cup exploits, Bindra's gold

2. India vs Pakistan, Silver Jubilee Independence Cup final, 1998: The world remembers India’s chase against England at Lord’s in the Natwest series. But this match, in Dhaka, happened four years before Ganguly had taken his shirt off at the royal balcony. He remains the central figure here for the match-winning 124 off 138 balls.

It was a best-of-three final with both teams winning one each. Pakistan had an upper hand after it posted 314/5 (48) in the reduced-overs game. Nobody thought India will chase that down.

This is worth a watch to assess the body language of the top-order batsmen led by Sachin Tendulkar who smashed a quick 41 off 26 balls. That knock made everyone sit up. It meant belief for the players and the fans.

Ganguly and Robin Singh (82 off 83 balls) had added 179 runs for the second wicket. In the end, it was newcomer Hrishikesh Kanitkar who picked off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq for a winning boundary with one ball to spare. It was winter and the victory served as a great warm-up to the Sharjah series, against Australia and New Zealand, which happened in April. 

100

A young Sourav Ganguly's 124 run-knock helped India to a famous history against Pakistan in the final of the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup in 1998.   -  PTI



3. India vs Australia, Eden Gardens Test, 2001:
 This was my Eden Gardens Test debut - as a spectator of course.

A winning machine those days with Steve Waugh as captain and John Buchanan as coach, Australia had beaten India in the first Test in Mumbai by 10 wickets. It looked on course to register its 17th straight win in the second Test at Eden Gardens after dismissing the host for 171 in reply to its 445.  Waugh had enforced follow-on and the idea backfired. V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid batted for the entire day four to turn the tide in India’s favour. The 376-run stand helped India gain a lead of 383 at the end of first session on day five.

A group of Australians, carrying soft toy kangaroos and posters, were travelling for the series. They had a tough time while walking back to their respective hotels after stumps on day four. The Indian fans had taken their Steve Waugh poster away and gifted them a Sachin Tendulkar one instead! But the moment of the match to me was the cop who broke into a hysterical dance right in front of me once Glenn McGrath got out at the stroke of stumps.  The metro ride back home was tiring yet satisfying.

100

V.V.S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid's partnership against Australia at Eden Gardens is the stuff of legends.   -  V.V.Krishnan



4. India vs New Zealand, TVS Cup, 2003: Australia emerged the champion in this triangular series featuring New Zealand and India. However, the match in question is India's rubber against the Black Caps in Hyderabad which stood special for one man and a unique achievement of his — Rahul Dravid and his fastest ODI fifty, the fastest by an Indian at that time. Virender Sehwag (130) and Sachin Tendulkar (102) had provided a solid start but India lost three quick wickets in the middle. At 303/5 in 46.1 overs, it seemed that like the Men in Blue had missed the 350 bus which looked a possibility initially. Dravid had other plans though. He smashed five fours and three sixes to take India to 353; adding 50 off 23 balls. That Dravid recorded a strike rate of 227.27 in this innings is reason enough for this game to be a must-watch.

100

Rahul Dravid and Stephen Fleming with the TVS Cup trophy in Chennai. (File photo)   -  N. BALAJI

READ: Sportstar's all-time sports classics: '83 World Cup win, Liverpool's UCL heroics

5. England vs West Indies, World T20 final, 2016: This time, I was in the press box covering the final at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta. From 107/6 in 15.3 overs to 137/6 in 19 overs, there was no way West Indies could have won this game. In fact, a senior journalist who sat on the desk ahead of mine had written a beautiful intro in his match copy: 'An English rose blossomed at the garden of Eden...' and it went on. I noticed it for the big font size. He was relaxed and was waiting to polish the report with the final changes. I, thankfully, had written two samples of the report with the West Indies one ready to head into the recycle bin but then, Carlos Brathwaite happened. 

100

Carlos Brathwaite orchestrated a remarkable comeback for the Windies as the side fought back against England to clinch the World T20 title in 2016.   -  K.R. Deepak



Chasing 156, West Indies 19 needed off the last over, Brathwaite started with a huge six over deep backward square leg. Before we could breathe, he found a six off the second ball which almost looked like a mishit. The big man hit two more sixes off the third and fourth ball to take his side home. 'Stop the press, stop the press!' a renowned journalist said in jest. People at the media box ran helter-skelter while I dug out my Windies-centric story.  Marlon Samuels barged into the press conference room ahead of Eoin Morgan. Still with the winning pads on, he sat with his legs on the table like a boss! 

(This is a part of a daily series where Sportstar's correspondents will pick their five favourite sporting moments worth revisiting. Reader contributions are welcome. Send in your picks to sportstar@thehindu.co.in)

  Dugout videos