World Cup History: Reliving India vs Pakistan | 1996 Quarter Final, Bangalore
Every four years a marquee match takes place in the Cricket World Cup adding a new chapter in the volatile history of arch-rivals Pakistan and India. While in the 2019 edition, India convincingly trounced a sub-par Pakistan in Manchester, 1996 in Bangalore was a very different match-up. Pakistan crossed swords with co-hosts India as the defending champions in a knock-out fixture that had intriguing sub-plots and crackling intensity.
There was controversy even before a single bowl was bowled with the Pakistani captain Wasim Akram pulling out at the last minute due to an injury. In a high-intensity, do-or-die quarter-final, India was on course for a par score at 200-4 in 41 overs. Then, Ajay Jadeja walked in and played an innings (45 off 25) for the ages, in the death overs. He went absolutely berserk and launched into Waqar Younis, whose successive overs went for 18 and 22 runs as India, unexpectedly posted a very steep 287. Pakistan was docked an over for slow over rate too. In reply, Pakistan rocketed to 84 in the first 10 overs as the Chinnaswamy stadium was silenced by the retaliatory blitz of the openers – Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail.
Even after Anwar fell, Sohail - the stand-in skipper continued his massacre, carting the bowlers to the stands with disdain.
He brought up his fifty with a crackling cut off the local boy Venkatesh Prasad, who was booed by the home crowd. Sohail aggressively pointed the bat at Prasad and then at the extra cover fence to gesture – ‘Go fetch that’. He tried to repeat the shot off the next ball, but cramped for room, his off-stump was sent cartwheeling towards the keeper Nayan Mongia. Prasad gave him an expletive-laden send-off and the wound-up crowd erupted in euphoria. The tide had turned. Pakistan lost the crucial wickets of Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq quickly. As the asking rate shot up, their chances receded into the hopeless territory. The title defence collapsed. Pakistan lost to India for the first time since the 1992 World Cup. TV sets were smashed in anger and effigies burnt in rage. The players were censured not for failing to defend the Cup but for crashing out to their arch-rivals.
India 287/8 (50 overs) | Navjot Singh Sidhu 93 (115), Mushtaq Ahmed 2/56
Pakistan 248/9 (49 overs) | Aamir Sohail 55 (46), Venkatesh Prasad 3/45
India won by 39 runs | Man of the Match: Navjot Singh Sidhu
Also read – World cup 2019 highlights