Cricket often reaches its pinnacle when the arch rivals lock horns, and if you can think of one rivalry that brings the globe in front of their TV screen, it is India and Pakistan.
India’s on of the greats forever, Sourav Ganguly
As India have grown in statures compared to Pakistan cricket in recent years, in the past it was not the same, in fact it was Pakistan who always had the upper hand against India. The men in Blue often were humiliated in the hands of Pakistan, who then had the fearsome Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis duo. But on this day some 20 years ago, it was a tale of two Indian batsmen who somewhat halted the Pakistani dominance and hoisted the tricolor high.
It was the 3rd final of the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup held in Bangladesh. India and Pakistan played out the first two finals where they both won one each, so the glory was at it’s stake on the finale of the tournament.
India were led by Mohammed Azharuddin and the final eleven were-
Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Navjot Sidhu, Robin Singh, M Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Hrishikesh kanitkar, Nayan Mongia, Javagal Srinath, Harvinder Singh, Rahul Sanghvi
Winning the toss, India elected to field first. But two Pakistan openers started the on slot from the very beginning, but Afridi fell early, and then Aamer Sohail departed as well. Pakistan were 66 for 2 but then it was Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmed show as both the players scored hundreds as Pakistan put up a mammoth 314 or 5 at the end of their 50 overs. Saeed Anwar scored 140 while Ijaz scored 117. For India, Harvinder picked up three wickets but he was expensive as well.
India had to chase a massive 315 which in those days was almost next to impossible. But two left handers in Indian team had other ideas about the game as he wrote his name in the history books forever.
Sourav Ganguly and Robin Singh Show:
It was all about Sourav and Robin Singh, who put up an outstanding partnership of 179 runs to put India in an amazing position. Ganguly were exquisite as he played the Mahmoods and Javeds with ease, went on to make 124 which included 11 fours and a six. Along with him was Robin Singh, who scored 82 and dismantled the Pakistani bowlers. Even loosing Tendulkar early, both the batsmen kept themselves calm and played some superb shots en route to their partnership. Ganguly brought up his fifty with a six over long on in Afridi’s bowling, while his hundred came from a sweep at square leg in the bowling of left arm spinner Mohammed Hussain. Ganguly was also adjudged the Man of the Match.
Late Kanitkar Finish with a Four:
Both Ganguly and Robin Singh took India close, but the win was ensured by another left handed batsman Hrishikesh Kanitkar. It was dark in Dhaka and the visibility of the ball decreased, on the last over of Saqlain Mushtaq, Kanitkar hit a ball through mid wicket that won India the massive game. It was also the highest chase by a team in that time. Kanitkar remained not out on 11 while his partner at the other end was Javagal Srinath, who contributed a crucial 5 runs as well.
That is how on this very day, two left handed, rather I say three left handed Indians helped their team to overcome a massive total and beat their arch rivals. This day, January 18, thus will always be written in the Golden letters of Indian cricket’s folklore.