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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Pakistan's memorable matches in Cricket World Cups

Pakistan has been one of the most successful team in the World Cup Cricket, here is a look at all the memorable matches Pakistan have played from each World Cup from 1975 to 2011.

Pakistan vs West Indies 1975

Pakistan v West Indies (Birmingham, Jun 11, 1975)

This match was one of the first classic and thrilling ODI matches and is still regarded as one of the greatest World Cup ODI match. Majid Khan was captaining Pakistan in the match after taking over from Asif Iqbal, he won the toss and chose to bat. This was a do or die match for Pakistan who had lost to Australia comprehensively and needed to win the match if they wanted to keep their chances of playing the semi final alive. Pakistani batsmen were comfortable all through the inning one reason being the most of the players had been playing in county cricket. Majid Khan, Mustaq Muhammad and Wasim Raja all scored half centuries and Pakistan reached 266 in their 60 overs which in those days was considered a very good total. West Indies didn't start their inning well and thanks to a brilliant spell by Sarfaraz Nawaz kept on losing wickets at regular intervals at at one stage were 99/5 the things got worse for West Indies as Pakistani bowlers kept on taking wickets reducing them to 166/8. The 9th wicket stood firm for sometime and took West Indies to 203 when they lost their next wicket. They needed 64 runs in about 16 overs but Pakistani team started losing the grip of the match because of over confidence, last pair of Murray and Roberts took West Indies closer and closer and they were finally able to chase down the target with just 2 balls left and 1 wicket in hand. Interestingly though Sarfaraz Nawaz was declared man of the match because the adjudicator left the match when West Indies were 8 wickets down and thinking Pakistan will win.

England v Pakistan 1979

England v Pakistan (Leeds, Jun 16, 1979)

By the time Pakistan started the match both the teams had qualified for the semi final because of two wins in two matches. Pakistan won the toss on an overcast day and green wicket and elected to bowl on a bowling friendly wicket and it turned out to be the right decision. Mike Brearley was caught behind on the first ball of the match bowled by Imran Khan and it was all Pakistan after that. England never really had any momentum and kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and only managed to score 165/9 in 60 overs. Pakistan were favorites to win the match from here because of a strong batting lineup and they started well scoring 27 for no loss but that's where things started going worse for them. Mike Handrik ripped through Pakistani batting lineup in a spell that included 4 wickets off just 8 balls and Pakistan were reduced from 27/0 to 36/6 in one of the most dramatic collapses in ODI Cricket's history. Wasim Raja and Asif Iqbal tried to resist but when the score reached 86, Wasim Bari was lbw, Asif Iqbal kept grinding but was out after scoring the only half century of the match, Wasim Bari chipped in with a useful 21 and Pakistan were 151/9 close to the victory when Mike Hendrik took an unbelievable catch in the outfield to dismiss Sikandar Bakht and won the match for his team. He was declared the man of the match.

New Zealand vs Pakistan 1983

New Zealand v Pakistan Nottingham, Jun 20, 1983

This was the last group match for Pakistan and it was a do or die situation. Pakistan not only had to win the match comprehensively but also had to score enough runs in their 60 overs to get a better net run rate than New Zealand and same were the circumstances for New Zealand. Pakistan's captain Imran Khan won the toss and elected to bat and they made full use of the good batting conditions. After an opening partnership of 48 runs Pakistan did lose both their openers in space of 6 runs but that was the only tough phase for them. Javed Miandad and Zaheer Abbas put on a 60 run partnership to steady the ship but after that it was Imran Khan and Zaheer Abbas who literally destroyed New Zealand's bowling with an unbroken partnership of 147 runs in just over 70 minutes. with Zaheer scoring an unbeaten century and Imran Khan scoring a run a ball 74 not out. Richard Hadlee who was New Zealand's main bowler gave 47 runs in his last 5 overs and Pakistan finished the inning at 261/3 in their 60 overs. New Zealand's batting could not gain any early momentum due to tight bowling by Sarafaz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir. At one stage they were 152/7, JV Coney along with the tailenders tried to take New Zealand close to the target and at one stage were 246/8 but they had consumed too many overs to get a better runrate than Pakistan, Coney was run out of the first ball of the last over and Pakistan won the match by 11 runs to qualify for their second consecutive World Cup Semi Final.

Pakistan v West Indies 1987

Pakistan v West Indies Lahore, Oct 16, 1987

Another Pakistan vs West Indies and another classic. Pakistan were playing at home and had already won both of their matches and were top of the group. West Indies won the toss and elected to bat and although it looked like to be the right decision because of a strong start opening start of 91 runs but they started losing their way in the middle overs. Imran Khan who ended up with 4 wickets, Salim Jaffer and Wasim Akram never let West Indies settle and they were bowled out in the end for just 216 inside 50 overs. Pakistani batsmen struggled to cope with the West Indian fast bowlers and never looked settled, though several top order batsmen chipped in but no one was able to go on and score big and Pakistan were 110/5 in the 35th over. At this stage Imran Khan and Saleem Yousuf took the charge to West Indies and were involved in a partnership of 73 runs in just 11 overs and brought Pakistan back into the match. 3 quick wickets including the one of Imran Khan brought West Indies back in the match but It all came down to the last over with Pakistan needed 14 runs of the final over with just 1 wicket in hand. Abdul Qadir and Saleem Jaffar were out in the middle for Pakistan. First three balls yielded 2 singles and a double leaving Pakistan 10 runs off the last 3 balls. Abdul Qadir hit a massive 6 off the 4th ball and the 50,000 people in the stadium went crazy. Pakistan needed 2 runs off the last ball when Walsh came in to bowl, Saleem Jaffar in excitement or anticipation or taking a double was outside the bowling crease but Walsh in sportsman spirit didn't run him out, this cost them the match though, with Abdul Qadir hitting a top edged 4 at the third man to win Pakistan the match on the last ball of the match.

New Zealand v Pakistan 1992

New Zealand v Pakistan at Auckland, Mar 21, 1992

New Zealand had been unbeaten in the group stage until Pakistan beat them in the last group match comprehensively by 7 wickets to reach the semi final and the semi final was played between the same two teams. New Zealand because of their home ground and crowd the form they were in were favorites to reach their first ever final. They won the toss and elected to bat first. Pakistan took two wickets early to leave New Zealand 39/2 and Mustaq Ahmad causing them some problems with his spin. Out came New Zealand's captain Martin Crowe and took the charge to Pakistan. He scored a quickfire 91 of just 83 balls and helped New Zealand reached a very competitive total of 262/7 in their 50 overs. Unfortunately for them, he was Injured while batting and could not come out to lead his team as he wanted to rest so he can play the final in case New Zealand beat Pakistan. It looked liked the case because Pakistan never looked settled while batting, they had to score quickly but were not able to gain any momentum. At the end of 35th over Pakistan were 140/5 needing 123 more runs in 15 overs at a run rate of 8.2. But that was the time when Inzamam ul Haq joined Javed Miandad (who ended up scoring 59 not out) and Pakistan's batting started to gain some momentum. Inzamam started blazing off and scored a quickfire 60 of just 37 balls which included one six and 7 fours. He was involved in a crucial partnership of 83 runs in just 10 overs and by the time he was run out Pakistan needed 36 runs in their last 5 overs. That wasn't a problem as Wasim Akram and Moin Khan who scored 20* of just 11 balls made sure that Pakistan won the match with 1 over to spare and lead Pakistan to their first ever World Cup Final.

India v Pakistan 1996

India v Pakistan at Bangalore, Mar 9, 1996


Pakistan were favorites to win the tournament and retain their crown because of the squad they have. But Pakistan's captain Wasim Akram had to pull of out the quarter final against India due to injury, the atmosphere during the match was aggressive and this lead to another classic match in the World Cups for Pakistan. India won the toss and elected to bat and although Pakistan could not manage to take a single wicket until the 22 over India never really were able to take the game away from Pakistan. India reached 168/2 in the 37th over at a miserly runrate of 4.5 per over but that's where things started to go worse for Pakistan. They were unable to control the flow of runs and Indian batsman really took the charge to them. Only in the last 3 overs Pakistan gave away 51 runs among which Waqar Younis went for 40 runs in his last two overs and India reached a massive total of 287/8 in their 50 overs. Pakistan were penalized for slow over rate and one over was deducted. This didn't really matter in the beginning though because Pakistani openers Saeed Anwar and Amir Sohail started aggressively and by the time the field restrictions ended in the 15th over Pakistan were 113/2 and in the commanding position. The temperature started to rise between the players with Amir Sohail involved in an argument with Parsad but he had the last laugh as he ended up taking the wicket of Amir Sohail along with two others and Pakistan went on the back foot at 132/4 and never really recovered after that even though at one stage they were 231/5 but the run rate kept on increasing and in trying to keep the pace Pakistan could only reach 248/9 in their 49 overs. This match had a really severe reaction in Pakistan as several people lost their lives, dummies of Pakistani team were burnt in public and as Imran Khan said, this was the most talented team not to win the World Cup. 

Australia vs Pakistan 1999

Australia v Pakistan at Leeds, May 23, 1999


Pakistan were once again one of the favorites to win the World Cup along with South Africa and they were in top form throughout the group stage by the time Pakistan faced Australia they were full of confidence and it showed in the way they played the match. Australia won the toss and strangely sent Pakistan to bat who were more than happy as it kept the trend of batting first as Pakistan had been doing throughout the tournament. Although Pakistan were 46/3 in the 13th over Australian bowling lineup never looked like taking wickets with most Pakistani batsmen throwing their wickets away. out came Inzamam ul Haq with Abdul Razzaq and their partnership of 118 runs was crucial for Pakistan to gain the momentum again and allow the aggressive lower order to slog in the end and that's exactly what they did. The likes of Muhammad Yousuf, Wasim Akram and Moin Khan all chipped in and took Pakistan to a strong total of 276 runs in their 50 overs, had it not been the poor running of Inzamam ul Haq, who was the top scorer with 81, Pakistan could have gotten a lot more. Pakistan started brilliantly when Wasim Akram clean bowled Adam Gilchrist on a classical out swinger in the first over. Australia fought back with a partnership of 91 runs in 15 overs, but then again Pakistan took the advantage with 3 wickets for just 10 runs. It was Australia's turn now who again came back in the commanding position with the help of a 113 run partnership between Bevan and Steve Waugh. Wasim Akram came back to pick the wicket of Michel Beven, while Shoaib Akhtar rooted the stumps of Steve Waugh in a fiery spell of fast bowling at 238. Australia's lower middle and middle order tried to keep the chase in tact and it went to the last over when Australia needed 13 runs but it was Wasim Akram who clean bowled Damien Martyn and Glen McGrath to seal a 10 run win for Pakistan. 

India vs Pakistan 2003

India v Pakistan at Centurion, Mar 1, 2003

This was the most talked about match of the tournament and it sure did live up to the expectations for most of the duration. This was also the most watched Cricket match at that time in History with just less than a billion people watching the match. Pakistan have had a terrible tournament uptill now and they had to win the match to keep any hopes alive to reach the super 6 round. They won the toss and elected to bat first and their openers gave a very good start of 58 runs in just 11 overs. Pakistan lost 2 wickets in quick succession and were 98/3 in 22 overs but Saeed Anwar. who ended up scoring a century made sure there were no hiccups during the inning. By the time he was out after scoring 101, Pakistan were in a commanding position with 195 in 40 overs. Their lower middle order made sure Pakistan ended strongly and they did scoring 78 runs in the last 10 overs and reaching 273/7 in 50 overs. India started inning in an explosive manner scoring 53 runs in the first 5 overs. That was the time when Waqar Younis hit back with 2 wickets on 2 balls but that was the only light of hope for Pakistan as Sachin Tendulkar played on of the best inning of his life hitting Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis for impossible sixes and by the time he was out on 98 in the 28th over India needed just 96 more runs to win. Pakistan were not able to take anymore wickets after that and India chased down the target easily with 6 wickets in hand and 26 balls to spare and Pakistan were almost out of the tournament. 

Ireland vs Pakistan 2007

Ireland v Pakistan at Kingston, Mar 17, 2007

A match that turned out to be a thriller in the end but should not have been a thriller. Ireland were facing Pakistan for the first ever time. Pakistan had a very strong batting lineup, West Indian pitches were perfect for batting uptill now but the Kingston pitch for some reason was full of grass by the time both teams reached the stadium. Ireland won the toss and put Pakistan into bat who had lost their first match against West Indies and had to win this match to reach the super 8 stage. The start was not ominous as Pakistan lost their first wicket in the first over. Things were fine until the 13th over when Pakistan were 56/2 with Muhammad Yousuf and Imran Nazir batting freely but things got bad to worse for Pakistan after that and the whole team was rolled out for just 132 runs in 44.5 overs. Ireland's start wasn't that great either but they looked on top most of the inning but when Muhammad Sami took two wickets off two balls leaving Ireland 113/7 Pakistan had some hope of winning the match but there were no more wickets and Ireland ended up winning a memorable match to kick Pakistan out of the tournament. This loss cost Pakistan the life of their head coach, Bob Woolmer as well. 

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 2011

Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS), Feb 26, 2011 

Although Pakistan vs India the semi final of this World Cup was a bigger match, and Pakistan beating Australia is something people remember more but Sri Lanka vs Pakistan was more nail biting and the match that brought Pakistan in contention for the tournament and gave them the confidence they were lacking a little. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a placid wicket and gained early momentum during the match. Losing Ahmed Shehzad in the 5th over was not a big issue since all the top order Pakistani batsmen chipped in with useful runs. Misbah ul Haq remained not out on 83 of 91 balls, Younis Khan scoring a gritty 72 and was involved in a 108 run partnership with Misbah in just 20.2 overs that gave Pakistan the platform to launch in the end and Pakistan finished with 277/7 in 50 overs. Sri Lanka started really well with their openers taking them to 76 for no loss in just 14.2 overs. Pakistan hit back strongly with Shahid Afridi taking two wickets and Shoaib Akhtar also taking the wicket of Jayawardene with a beautiful delivery and leave Sri Lanka 96/4 in 21.2 overs. Sangakara and Chamara Silva steadied things for Sri Lanka but the run rate kept climbing. By the time Sangakara was out at 165/5 in the 38th over they required 8 runs per over. With Silva struggling to hit the big shots, Angelo Mathews kept Sri Lanka's chase on and Pakistan took a sigh of relief when he was out in the 44th over at the score 209/6. Kulusekara and Parera tried to hit a few big shots but Pakistani bowlers kept their cool and didn't let the game slip, by the time Kulusekara was out on the penultimate delivery of the inning, Pakistan had sealed the match by 11 runs.

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