On This Day: Miandad's last-ball six dashes India's dreams

Nearly 500 runs were scored during the India-Pakistan Austral-Asia Cup final in Sharjah, and still the result was hanging in balance till the very last ball off which Miandad needed at least a four to complete this one-man assignment he had taken on.

The credit for the win, however, had to be Miandad's and Miandad's alone.   -  S. KOTHANDARAMAN

What more could one have asked for. This was beyond any cricket fan's wildest dreams. An edge of-the-seat match, many great innings and a cup winning one. All this plus a dream like finish in which the result was known only in the very last ball. I have not seen such a thrilling one-day match for a long time, nor have I seen an innings of the type that Javed Miandad played to guide Pakistan to a most thrilling and at the same time excruciating victory. It was agony for long and then the ecstasy.

I had been named as the adjudicator for the Zimbabwe versus India match at Tunbridge Wells in the Prudential Cup, but I had to leave the match soon for I had work in London. Mike Denness stood in for me.

I missed that great innings Kapil played there. That thrill which I had lost was mine this time as I lived through every moment of Miandad's unbeaten century that brought Pakistan its first ever win in a major championship like the Australasia Cup.

I have always held Miandad in highest esteem. Born fighter: He is one of those cricketers who believe in the never-say-die principle. It would have been so easy for anyone to give up the Pakistan challenge as a lost cause and thrown his wicket away. The usual theories about Pakistan's inability to combine as a team when it comes to a crucial final or match would have gained more currency.

Not for Miandad. He lives to fight every moment in his cricketing career. He is the true lion of Pakistan. In such a match one can only praise all the 22 players. The final was played in the best of spirits without any needless acrimony that is said to rule India-Pakistan cricket.

This was the ideal cricket match from many angles. Finest batsmanship from Srikkanth, Gavaskar and Vengsarkar, a crucial spell of effective containment from Imran Khan and young Wasim Akram that made sure India would not run away in the final overs and then the piece de resistance — this charming effort of Miandad.

The wicket was perfect for thrilling cricket. Consider this—100 overs were bowled on a warm Sharjah day. Nearly 500 runs were scored and still the result was hanging in balance till the very last ball off which Miandad needed at least a four to complete this one-man assignment he had taken on.

Some sympathy must lie with India. But I am convinced that a year ago, it would have been impossible for Pakistan to achieve this. India has come down just a shade. Cricket fans in the Gulf could not have asked for a more thrilling match. The match also went out live to the vast cricket audience in the subcontinent and it was a victory for offshore cricket that Sharjah should stage yet another exciting championship.

This match will be the talking point in the Emirates for a long time. The public will recapture every moment of it. Poor Chetan. In trying to bowl a full length he sent down a full toss. As I said earlier, everyone was a winner on that Friday in Sharjah and no one was to be blamed. The credit for the win, however, had to be Miandad's and Miandad's alone.

The scores:

India 245 for 7 off 50 overs (Srikkanth 75, Gavaskar 92, Vengsarkar 50; Akram 3 for 42).

Pakistan 248 for 9 (Mohsin Khan 36, Javed Miandad 116 not out, Qadir 34; Chetan Sharma 3 for 51).