India v Pakistan: Memorable matches

The India-Pakistan rivalry in cricket is renowned for the excitement and passion it generates amongst fans though opinions remain divided on whether it really matches up to the fervour of an Ashes contest. The duels between the two nations are as fierce as they are memorable.

The last hurrah... Sunil Gavaskar with the Man of the Match trophy at the end of the final Test against Pakistan in Bangalore on March 17, 1987. The Indian opener batted brilliantly on a crumbling wicket in what was his farewell Test.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

A perfect ten... India's leg-spinner Anil Kumble picks up a stump as memento after dismissing Pakistan's last batsman, Wasim Akram, which was his 10th wicket of the innings.   -  PTI

Electrifying knock... Virender Sehwag in full flow in the first Test against Pakistan in Multan in 2004.   -  Getty Images

Here's Sportstar's 12 best games across formats.

TESTS

Karachi, 1978

Sunil Gavaskar scored a century in each innings, and yet ended up on the losing side. Pakistan was the superior team, and the manner in which it won the Test was breathtaking. At a time when Twenty20 cricket was unheard of, Asif Iqbal and Javed Miandad, followed by Imran Khan pulled off a successful chase that left the Indians in a daze. Some imperious stroke-play combined with intelligent and brisk running between the wickets enabled Pakistan to chase down 164 runs in less than 25 overs. Iqbal (44) and Miandad (62 not out) plundered 97 from nine overs before Imran scored a quickfire 31 to herald Pakistan’s scintillating victory when most would have expected the Test to end in a draw.

Bangalore, 1987

This was Sunil Gavaskar’s farewell Test and one of his best batting displays too. On a crumbling pitch, where every ball had a wicket written on it, Gavaskar batted brilliantly that drew appreciation from the Pakistan players too. Where others struggled to survive, the Indian master thrived. Though Pakistan won the Test and with it the series, Gavaskar’s batting was matchless. A picture of concentration, he signed off on a glorious note. His innings is remembered for its technical excellence, while the match was a perfect advertisement for Test cricket.

Delhi, 1999

This was also known as the Anil Kumble Test. His 10 for 74 not only gave India a sensational victory but also rewarded the leg-spinner with a distinction that he richly deserved. Kumble’s consistency and accuracy with the ball paved the way for India’s tremendous victory on a challenging pitch. Pakistan may have felt aggrieved with regard to a couple of decisions, but Kumble was on fire, as he strangled the opposition.

Chennai, 1999

A great match followed by a greater reception for Pakistan after it won the battle. Sachin Tendulkar’s classic effort failed to help India, as it lost by 12 runs. However, what stood out was the gracious response from the spectators at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium who cheered the Pakistan players as they ran a lap of honour around the ground. It was a close contest, no doubt, as Pakistan, riding on Shahid Afridi’s magnificent 141, stifled an equally brilliant 136 by Tendulkar. To this day, Wasim Akram raves about the wonderful spirit showed by the Chennai spectators.

Multan 2004

On the back of an epic knock, India registered a grand victory, as it toured Pakistan after a gap of seven years. “Win their hearts” was the message from the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and the Indian team did not disappoint him. Virender Sehwag led the charge with a triple century — the first of his two and the first ever by an Indian. His 309 and Sachin Tendulkar’s unbeaten 194 helped India post a massive 675 for five. India then destroyed Pakistan by an innings and 52 runs on a placid track. India then went on to claim the three-Test series 2-1 for its first-ever series win in Pakistan.

ONE-DAY INTERNATIONALS

Sharjah, 1985

Fresh from its triumph in the World Championship of Cricket in Australia, India was on cloud nine. The team’s confidence was high but a resurgent Pakistan under Imran Khan soon brought it down to earth in the opening match of the Rothmans Four-Nation Cup. Imran finished with six for 14 in a devastating spell of accurate fast bowling. A target of 126 was modest, but India converted it into a winning one, thanks to Sunil Gavaskar picking up four catches in the slips and Kapil Dev (3 for 17) inspiring the team to great heights. India shot out Pakistan for 87, as it recorded one of its finest wins in this format.

Sharjah, 1986

Javed Miandad broke countless Indian hearts with a stunning shot that gave Pakistan, needing four runs off the last ball, a victory to cherish in the final of the Austral-Asia Cup. Chetan Sharma, attempting to york Miandad, saw the ball disappear into the stands behind mid-wicket, and with it began a new chapter in India-Pakistan cricket. Miandad’s knock (116 off 114 balls, three fours and three sixes) was a masterpiece. At no point did he appear in any discomfort and was rarely hustled into playing a false shot. The defeat haunted India for quite some time.

Bangalore, 1996

The city was tense and the cricket administration was on tenterhooks ahead of the World Cup match between India and Pakistan. As the host, the pressure, obviously, was on India, but Pakistan was in no different state. India batted and set up a stiff target of 288, thanks to N. S. Sidhu’s valuable 93 and then a pulsating charge by Ajay Jadeja — 45 off 25 balls — that left Pakistan stunned. Pakistan had the chase under control, but Venkatesh Prasad getting rid of opener Aamer Sohail proved to be the turning point. India won by 39 runs, but it was a closer match than the margin suggests.

 

Karachi, 1997

This was an acrimonious contest. There was cause for concern for the authorities and the Indian team as crowd trouble erupted. There was not one supporting voice for India when it began its chase of 266 in 47 overs after the innings was stopped following a walkout by the Indian team. Sourav Ganguly and Vinod Kambli took up the challenge and tore into the Pakistan attack with a flurry of rousing shots. A middle-order collapse raised Pakistan’s hopes, but Robin Singh and Saba Karim kept up the good work. When the contest became too close, Rajesh Chauhan silenced the audience by hoisting Saqlain Mushtaq for a six to signal India’s victory.

Dhaka, 1998

A last-over finish can always leave you out of breath. However, a last-over win in poor light when chasing a stiff target can be sweet and memorable. The stadium was rooting for Pakistan with India facing a daunting 315 to win from 48 overs. Sourav Ganguly (124) and Robin Singh (82) swung the game India’s way with a second-wicket stand of 179 runs. India, however, lost its way and was staring at defeat. It all boiled down to the last over as India looked to Hrishikesh Kanitkar. He made no mistake as he clouted Saqlain Mushtaq for a boundary to seal victory in the third final of the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup.

Centurion, 2003

The teams were well matched. It was a placid track and just the platform for a great game of cricket in the World Cup. It turned out to be one. Saeed Anwar slammed a brilliant century that laid the foundation for Pakistan’s 273 for seven. Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag gave India a blistering start (53 in 5.4 overs) and Pakistan never recovered from it. Mohammad Kaif, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh built on the marvellous start to finish the game with 26 balls to spare. Tendulkar’s determined assault (98 off 75 balls) was the highlight of India’s glittering show that wonderful night.

TWENTY20

Johannesburg, 2007

This was an exciting contest. After the ‘bowl-out’ win in the league stage, India was expected to dominate Pakistan in the final of the inaugural World Twenty20. Thanks to Gautam Gambhir’s 75 India set up a decent target of 158. Pakistan appeared to be cruising before it suffered a slump only to recover and put India in a spot. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq held the key and the way he batted indicated a Pakistan win. With Joginder Sharma bowling the final over, Misbah scooped the third ball high, only to be caught by S. Sreesanth at short fine-leg. With it ended Pakistan’s innings, as the team fell short by five runs.