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Miandad & Pakistan Take It All
by Naved Yazdani


Scorecard:India v Pakistan

DateLine: 28th February 2005

 

"India had no business losing this game" blared most of the April 19th 1986 newspapers and sports magazines of India. The previous day was more or less treated as a national calamity by the people of India and they still could not get to terms with the way Javed Miandad did it to them a day earlier.

 

Austral-Asia Cup final was the occasion and India being the World Cup holders at that time, treated the Pakistani bowling with almost disdain and accumulated 245 runs in 50 overs. At one stage they looked set to score in excess of 280 as they were 216 for one with many overs to go. Pakistan came back strongly through Imran and Akram and the last 6 Indian wickets fell for only 29 runs.

 

It was still a tough ask for the Pakistanis to chase 245 as they had earlier lost to India in Sharjah a year earlier despite getting them out for 125. They had also lost to their arch rivals in the Mini World Cup final in Australia. So the Indians had a psychological advantage over Pakistan and had them struggling soon at 110 for 4. At this stage Imran made a brave move by promoting Abdul Qadir up the order. Qadir’s little cameo of 34 of 39 deliveries gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope as Miandad was doing it almost single handedly at the other end.

 

After the fall of Qadir no other batsman could build a partnership with Javed who was left with scoring some 6 plus runs in the final over with three wickets in hand and he himself stranded on the wrong end. When eighth wicket fell Pakistan still needed 5 to win. Javed went up to Zulqurnain and probably asked him to run for a single at any cost but the inexperienced wicketkeeper swung wildly at Sharma and to the absolute dismay of Miandad and all of us watching as huge groups, lost his stumps. Now the situation clearly favored India. Tauseef was facing the second last ball of the game and Pakistan still needed 5! Tauseef did a great job by sprinting for a single, infact he was clearly out of his crease but the Indian fielders could not keep their cool and wasted a sure run out opportunity.

 

What followed was a pure drama! I remember when Sharma started to run for the final delivery of the match, all of us, and probably whole of the sub continent, were standing to watch the ultimate scene of this high profile drama. Sharma’s confusion was visible and later on he confessed that he changed his mind in the middle of his delivery stride. Miandad, standing open chested, with prayers on his lips and on the millions of Pakistanis watching, was a model of determination and commitment. I was looking for the ball to hit the track and then follow it but my excited eyes could not see the ball as it was a waist high full toss. The next thing I remember is a massive swing of the bat from Javed, Mushtaq Ahmed’s shriek in the commentary box, Iftikhar Ahmed’s ecstatic screams and above all my own hysterical uproars when the ball crossed the fence for a SIX and Sharma’s head, like all other Indians, nearly dropped to his knees.

 

It was not an ordinary ODI victory. That win broke the Indian ODI jinx over Pakistan and for the next about 10 to 12 years Pakistan clearly demonstrated their superiority over the Indians. Had Miandad not hit that last ball six on that fateful day, cricket stats between the two countries would have been different. That six also ushered a new are of superstars (in terms of generating revenues) in cricket and reshaped the very nature and spirit of the game. No doubt the Miandad six is the biggest happening in the history of ODI games.

 


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2005 Naved Yazdani)

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