Appear weak when you are strong and strong when you are weak –Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
As the Indian team with its recent performances appears weak on paper against Pakistan, here is a look of five performances where the Indians have beat Pakistan despite looking weaker than Pakistan. Of course this is entirely subjective.
This is from 1980s when the writer started watching cricket and has been following India vs Pakistan passionately.
1. B&H finals. Melbourne Cricket Ground 1985
For Pakistan it was Javed, Imran show with the bat and their bowling looked formidable with Wasim Raja and Imran Khan. Srikkanth played an extraordinary innings, in the process injuring the fielder Ramiz Raja who tried to catch his sixer. India chased down 176 comfortably in the end.Ravi Shastri was the champion of champions and won an Audi car in this tournament. Sunil Gavaskar attributed a large part of success to the live wire from Karnataka Sadanand Vishwanath behind the stumps.
2. The thrilling tie at Hyderabad 1987(India won on technicality)
India had the swashbuckling Raman Lamba in the lineup whose tragic death still stirs up painful emotions. Lamba, Shastri and Kapil helped India put up a good score of 212 against the ever formidable Imran, Wasim Akram, Abdul Qadir. Pakistan batting looked formidable against Kapil, Prabhakar, Maninder. Gopal Sharma turned out to be an unlikely hero with three wickets. Mansoor Elahi almost made it for Pakistan but Akram and Qadir’s run outs ultimately cost the win. The match was a thrilling tie. India lost six wickets and Pakistan seven, so India won.
3. 1992 World Cup Sydney Cricket Ground
It was a must win for both India and Pakistan. This match was preceded by the finals at Sharjah where Aaquib Javed took a hat trick by virtue of three LBWs. This was an unacceptable manner of loss for Indian fans. Akram started the bowling in a way only he can making Shastri and Srikkanth look like rookies. Sachin’s 50 and Kapil’s inside out six against Mushtaq stood out. India set a decent 216 target. The bowling was circumspect as it is today but India made up with spirit on the field. Sachin took the crucial Aamir Sohail wicket and Srinath yorked Miandad. This game is memorable for its Javed Miandad mimic of Kiran More’s appealing .
4. 1996 World Cup quarter finals- Bangalore
The knock out match was being played at the Bangalore Chinnaswamy stadium that always supports the Indian team very passionately. India was up against a very formidable Wasim, Waqar, Aaquib Javed, Mushtaq Ahmed attack. Akram fell sick on the day of the match giving a huge boost to India’s chances. Jadeja tore in to Younis. Aamir Sohail impishly challenged Venkatesh Prasad and ended up losing his mind and wicket. The stage was setting of a war. India won comprehensively in the end to the delight of the Indian fans.
5. Independence Cup Dhaka
Indian bowling attack had the lone warrior Javagal Srinath with Harvinder Singh, Robin Singh, Kanitkar to support him. Pakistan’s very strong batting line up posted a huge 314 with Saeed Anwar and Ijaz Ahmad tearing in to Indian attack. Sachin and Ganguly ripped Aaquib, Azhar Mahmood’s bolwing apart followed by a brutal assault by Robin Singh. The light faded away forcing Indians to play under the football lights which strictly did not conform to cricket’s lighting requirements. Indians still played spiritedly and the ever green Hrishikesh Kanitkar’s winning shot four helped pull victory from the jaws of defeat.
Virat and co could look in to these matches to draw inspiration for the virtual semi-finals today.