A CRICKET MATCH I HAVE WITNESSED
The Wills World Cup Cricket 1996 was held in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka simultaneously. I witnessed the quarter final match played between the two arch-rivals, India and Pakistan, at Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore.
The Indian overcame the defending champions, Pakistan, in a nerve-rattling match. Chasing a mighty target of 288 in 49 over’s for victory, despite some whirlwind hitting in the over’s by openers Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar, Pakistan fell short of the target by 39 runs. India opted to bat first. The opener Navajot Sidhu cracked a brilliant 93 and Ajay Jadeja provide the late thrust with 45 in 25 balls, India piled up 287 for eight in their allotted 50 over’s.
With India electing to bat on a placid strip in front of a packed stadium, openers Sidhu and Sachin Tendulkar added 90 runs in 21 over’s in a planned manner. The India opening pair started on a cautious note. The pair kept up a rate from the fifth to the tenth over. Sidhu had more of the strike and once he settled down, he played his shots with authority in his inimicable style. He delighted the packed, knowledgeable and supportive crowd with two successive fours behind the wicket off Javed. His controlled aggression urged the home team to an improved performance. The batsman accelerated the run rate systematically and at the end of the 15th over, India were 68 without loss. But, just as the partnership was heading towards the century mark, Tendulkar was out.
Sidhu in the company of the Sanjay Manjrekar played gamely and both were quite relaxed against the spin and pace attacks of the Pakistan. But Manjrekar fell a victim to Sohail, scoring 20 from 42 balls. Sidhu was bowled by leg-spinner Mustaq Ahmed when he was at 93 runs. Skipper Azharuddin and left-handed Vinod Kambli made their contributions and lifted the total to 225 for five in 45 over’s. But Jadeja dominated the final over’s, hitting pace man Waqar Younis for two mighty sixes. The others then raised the scored to 287 for eight in 50 over’s.
Pakistan began the opening with Sohail and Anwar. They shared score of 90 runs. After that Pakistan wickets fell intermittently before Salim Malik association, which was terminated by Kumble at the score of 184. Down but not out, the sixth Pakistan paired of Javed Miandad and Rashid Latif gave the packed stadium some nervous moment when they shared a stand worth 47 runs for the seventh wickets. This ended when hard-hitting Latiff, who struck two towering sixes, was stumped by Nayan Mongia off Venkatapathy Raju, when the score read 231. The rest of the Pakistan batsman caved in without much of a fight. Indians celebrated their victory in the competition over their arch-rivals in the game.
I really enjoyed the game. I felt that the match was more exciting than the real final match between Sri Lanka and Australia in the Wills World Cup Cricket 1996.