India and Pakistan will face off on September 2 in Pallekele during the 2023 Asia Cup, adding a new chapter to one of the most storied rivalries in sporting history. The archrivals have locked horns at the continental event since 1984, when Sunil Gavaskar’s men brushed aside Zaheer Abbas and co. by 54 runs in Sharjah.
From the 12 completed India versus Pakistan matches at the Asia Cup, here is a look at the top five contests that are etched in the memory of cricket fans.
2014, Pakistan won by one wicket - Mirpur
With Pakistan needing 10 runs to win off the last over, Shahid Afridi smashed two consecutive sixes off R. Ashwin to seal a thrilling one-wicket win with two balls to spare. In an intense contest which ebbed and flowed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked two wickets in a three-run penultimate over to put Pakistan on the backfoot. Ashwin had Saeed Ajmal bowled with a carrom ball off the first delivery of the final over before Afridi wound the clocks back, putting Pakistan over the line with his power hitting.
2010, India won by three wickets - Dambulla
It was a clash which epitomised the Indo-Pak rivalry. Shoaib Akhtar had an altercation with Harbhajan Singh after firing in a bouncer off the last delivery of the penultimate over. A well-settled Suresh Raina was run out trying to steal a bye and India was left with six needed off four balls. An Akhtar misfield next ball handed Praveen Kumar a couple, and when three were needed off two balls, Harbhajan gave India double of its requirement with a nonchalant swipe, off Mohammad Amir, which cleared the midwicket fence. Harbhajan roared in the direction of Akhtar, who tried to downplay India’s sensational three-wicket win by looking away dismissively.
2012, India won by six wickets - Mirpur
The number 183 is a preserve of Indians who have gone on to captain the national team. It is Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni’s highest ODI score, and it also became Virat Kohli’s during India’s six-wicket win while chasing a mammoth 330. India’s start to the chase was marred by Gautam Gambhir’s two-ball duck before Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli put on a 133-run partnership off just 115 balls to put the team on course. Rohit Sharma then joined the party with a composed 68 to put India in sight of a famous win. With just 12 needed for victory, Kohli fell agonizingly short of imparting the finishing touches, but his blitz had irrevocably dented the opposition and scripted India’s highest successful ODI run-chase at the time.
2004, Pakistan won by 59 runs - Colombo
Pakistan may have earned a clinical victory, but India emerged as the happier side as it managed to avoid handing its archrival a bonus point. The cut-off for a bonus point in the tournament was a 60-run win, and India needed two from the last two deliveries to reduce the deficit to 59 and salvage a point. Anil Kumble and Lakshmipathy Balaji failed to put bat on ball off Mohammad Sami but sneaked two byes, which were enough for a bonus-point-saving 59-run defeat. Shoaib Malik would have had mixed feelings after he starred with a rousing 143 and picked two wickets in Pakistan’s win. India added insult to injury by sneaking into the final, where it lost to host Sri Lanka by 25 runs.
2008, India won by six wickets - Karachi
Before hunting down totals of 300 or more in ODIs became routine, Virender Sehwag’s blistering 80-ball century and Suresh Raina quickfire 84 took India home with 47 balls to spare. A 198-run partnership off 148 balls between the duo threw a shade on Pakistan’s approach, which painstakingly led it to 299. Its openers Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik put on a stodgy 90-run stand in 21.4 overs before the latter cranked through the gears for a 119-ball 125. While Gautam Gambhir fell early in India’s chance, Sehwag and Raina ensured Pakistan was left to rue its failure to plunder runs on a benign wicket.
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