Recalling some delightful victories of Pakistan cricket to brighten up the mood
At a time when Pakistan team is going through a very bad patch of its cricket history -- yes, it is not the worst; there have been even poorer performances before -- let us recall some delightful victories to brighten up the mood.
Pakistan vs England, Lord’s
Under the leadership of Javed Miandad in 1992, following the retirement of Imran Khan, Pakistan were in a very good position to defeat England at Lord’s, in the second of their five Tests. Having gained a first innings lead, Pakistan dismissed England for just 175, which set them a target of only 138.
But this small target seemed unattainable when Ramiz Raja, Asif Mujtaba, and Miandad departed without scoring a single run. All of them fell to such an ordinary bowler as Chris Lewis. Pakistan had scored only 18 by then. They kept losing wickets and were 95 for eight although Philip DeFreitas and Ian Botham were unable to bowl. Pakistan had no specialist batsman left. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who had taken six and seven wickets, respectively, to put Pakistan in a commanding position, were at the crease. Pakistan still needed 43 runs. They batted sensibly and took the score to 137. Scores were equal and Wasim hit the first ball of Ian Salisbury’s 15th over to extra cover boundary and sealed the match. He was deservingly declared man of the match.
Pakistan vs Australia, Sydney
The last time Pakistan won a Test in Australia was under the leadership of Wasim Akram in 1995. Set a modest target of 247 runs, Australia were comfortably placed at 121 for three at the end of day four with captain Mark Taylor and Ian Healy on the crease.
But early on the fourth day, Wasim removed Healy, and Mushtaq Ahmad and Waqar cleaned up the rest. Mushtaq dismissed Taylor, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne, while Waqar blew up the tail to help Pakistan win by 74 runs.
It was a really delightful victory because Pakistan had lost the previous two Tests and was a -- kind of -- confidence booster ahead of the World Cup 1996.
Pakistan vs India, Chennai
The win in Chennai in early 1999 is perhaps the most memorable victory achieved by the Green-caps in the neighbouring country. Needing 271 to win, India had reached 254 with Sachin still on the crease -- only 17 runs away. The Chennai crowd was roaring in anticipation of victory, vociferously cheering every run.
Seeing that Sachin was in a hurry to finish off the match because of his back pain, captain Wasim placed himself at mid-off, asking Saqlain Mushtaq to try to trap Sachin through a well-flighted doosra. It worked. Sachin tried to hit it for a six but ended up being caught by Wasim. The crowd was stunned. There were voices of only the Pakistani team celebrating the dismissal.
The skipper then got Anil Kumble and Saqlain got Sunil Joshi and Javagal Srinath to snatch a victory that is definitely Wasim’s best as Test captain.