Sport becomes incidental whenever India and Pakistan meet to play a game of cricket. With the weight of history behind them, each encounter between the two neighbouring nations sprouts a bagful of narratives, one more riveting than the other. The on-field competitiveness becomes an extension of the rivalry off it. Asia Cup, the only tournament in recent past— apart from World Cups and World T20s — to pit these arch-rivals against each other thus assumes added significance.
As the two nations who have fought three wars between them, lock horns in the T20 event in Mirpur on Saturday, here’s a look at their Asia Cup duels over the years, albeit in 50-over formats. The fiery neighbours do not have much history in T20s (they have played six T20Is out of which India have lost one, tied one and won four including the historic 2007 ICC World T20 final).
Their Asia Cup ODI contests, though, have gone down as classics. From magnificent centuries to vicious bowling spells, many players have scripted heroic performances. We have chosen some Asia Cup clashes to refresh your memory as you wait for Saturday’s big encounter.
Asia Cup 1984 (India win by 54 runs)
In the 1984 Rothmans Asia Cup at Sharjah, Pakistan and India faced each other in Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah, UAE. It was a match that ended with undesirable consequences for Pakistan. India won the match by 54 runs.
Surinder Khanna was declared player of the match. He scored more than any other player in the tournament 107.
India set the target of 189 run which could not be attained by Pakistan that score 134 runs only. Pakistan performance was an utter disappointment as they lost the match against Sri Lanka too. In this first format, there were only three teams.
Scoring half-century from opening wicket-keeper-batsman Surinder Khanna, India posted 188 for 4 in their allotted overs. Sandeep Patil chipped in with a 50-ball 43 while skipper Gavaskar remained not out on 36 off 55 balls at No.5.
Asia Cup 1988 (India win by 4 wickets)
Pakistan and India again faced each other in 1988 Asia Cup and that time too Pakistan could not live up to nation’s expectations. India won by 4 wickets. The match was held in Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka. India scored 143 runs by losing 6 wickets.
Pakistan could only score 142 runs and their entire team out. Arshad Ayub took 9 wickets in the tournament and was declared player of the match.
While bowling first, Indian bowler Ayub took the first wicket after the Pakistanis had a good start. But from 91 for 1, Qadir’s side slumped to 142 all out in 42.2 overs, thanks to Ayub’s 5 for 21 – his only fifer in ODIs.
Kapil Dev and Maninder Singh took two wickets apiece. Opener Moin-ul-Atiq was their top scorer with 38. India’s chase wasn’t smooth as they were 76 for 3 at one stage but a solid 74 not out by 38-year-old Mahinder Amarnath saw India through in the 41st over with 4 wickets in hand. Qadir took 3 wickets while Wasim Akram took 2 but Pakistan had too less runs on board to make a match of it.
Asia Cup 1995 (Pakistan won by 97 runs)
In 1995 Asia Cup, Pakistan made an extraordinary come back and won the match by 97 runs. The match was held in Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah. Pakistan scored 266 runs with the loss of 9 wickets.
India, on the other side, stuck only on 169 runs all out. Aaqib Javed was declared player of the match.
India were never in the race as their top order was demolished by Aaqib Javed who finished with 5 for 19 to revive the memories of his 7 for 37 against the same opponents at the same venue in 1991.
Asia Cup 1997 (Match Abandoned)
In 1997 Asia Cup, Pakistan and India could not show their muscles because of unexpected weather conditions and bad lightings. Both the matches on July 20 and July 21 met the same fate.
Venkatesh Prasad made full use of the wet conditions taking 4 for 17 in five overs with the other wicket going to Abey Kuruvilla. But as luck had it in store, rain intervened after the fifth over
Asia Cup 2000 (Pakistan won by 44 runs)
It was again under Moin Khan’s captaincy that Pakistan bagged their second victory over India in Asia Cup.
2000 Asia Cup was named as Pepsi Asia Cup and was the seventh edition of this format. Pakistan and India confronted in the fifth match of the tournament. Pakistan, another time, settled the score by defeating India with 44 runs. The match was held in Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka. Yousuf Youhana was announced player of the series for his remarkable 297 runs.
Pakistan not only defeated India in this Asia Cup but also proved their mettle by defeating the other strong team Sri Lanka in the final; hence, they won the cup.
This was the last ODI match for Mohammad Azharuddin and Jadeja.
Asia Cup 2004 (Pakistan won by 59 runs)
2004 Asia Cup proved lucky for Pakistan against India. Though they could not win the cup but won against India in the fourth match of the tournament.
Pakistan scored 300 runs with the loss of 9 wickets, and India could only score 241 runs in 50 overs. The match was held in R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Shoaib Malik’s magnificent 143, Pakistan scored 300 for 9 in their 50 overs after captain Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat first.
India shifted their gears and played for the target of 241 to secure the bonus point. They played a survival game in the ODI to score 241 for 8.
Asia Cup 2008: Match-1 (India won by 6 wickets)
2008 Asia Cup was announced as STAR Cricket Asia Cup and was held in National Stadium, Karachi. The host was not lucky enough to win the match. India won by 6 wickets. The competition was nail-biting as Pakistan was just 3 runs away from victory. India scored 301 runs while Pakistan team got all out in 299.
In the group game, Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to bat and the batsman himself scored his second successive ton against the arch-rivals in Karachi.
Pakistan put up 299 for 4 following Malik’s 125. While chasing India finished off the game inside 43 overs with 6 wickets in hand.
Asia Cup 2008: Match-2 (Pakistan won by 8 wickets)
Another match in the same tournament was held on 2 July 2008. Pakistan defeated India by 8 wickets. The match was held in National Stadium, Karachi, Pakistan. India batted first and scored 308 runs, the milestone was achieved by Pakistan with the loss of only 2 wickets.
That was the historic match as Saeed Ajmal made his debut and Misbah-ul-Haq stood out as captain of Pakistan team in ODIs.
India, batting first, posted a formidable target of 309. It was team effort by Indian batsmen — Gambhir scored 35, Virender Sehwag 49, Yuvraj Singh 37, Dhoni 76, Rohit Sharma 58 and Irfan Pathan 38. A solid collective performance.
But sometimes individual brilliance can eclipse team effort. Younis proved again why he’s regarded as one of Pakistan’s greatest cricketers. He came in after a good start from Pakistani openers Salman Butt and Nasir Jamshed.
From there on, it was his show. His brilliant century, 123 off 117 balls, was the spine of a s successful chase. Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s 70 off 62 balls contributed to the 144-run partnership which lasted for 20.2 overs. The daunting total didn’t seem daunting at all and Pakistan had their victory with 27 balls to spare.
Asia Cup 2010: (India won by 3 wickets)
This match will be remembered for Harbhajan Singh and how he guided India home in a thriller with his bat.
Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal’s half-centuries had helped Pakistan post 267. In reply, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni hit half-centuries as well, taking India almost there. But not quite.
It was Raina and Bhajji who put up a seventh-wicket stand of 43 runs in 4.1 overs at the run-rate of 10.32. This included Bhajji’s two sixes, one against Shoaib Akhtar and one against Mohammad Amir, in the 47th and 50th over, respectively.
Bhajji can turn it up when needed and he is in the back Indian squad again. Though it seem unlikely that he will take the field on Saturday ahead of Jadeja and Ashwin, but he remains a great entertainer.
Asia Cup 2012: (India won by 6 wickets)
Pakistan and India faced each other in the fifth match of the tournament. The match was held in Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium.
Some fans might have forgotten this one, but one man will never forget this particular win — Virat Kohli. On this day, the right-hand batsman made his highest ODI score of 183. That wasn’t the only century on that day though.
Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed got tons of their own and put up a 224-run opening stand for Pakistan, which, aided by Younis Khan’s half-century, powered Pakistan to a huge total of 329. But the Indians were not intimidated. Kohli unleashed a strokeful masterclass, slamming his way to a record-breaking 183 off 148 balls. He hit 22 fours and a six. Sachin Tendulkar’s 52 and Rohit Sharma’s 68 helped India in the historic run-chase — the tenth highest ever in ODIs.
Considering the man’s recent form and this record-run chase, Pakistan will be wary of Kohli when he comes out to bat on Saturday.
Asia Cup 2014: (Pakistan won by 1 wicket)
2014 Asia Cup, both teams fought an attention-grabbing match that was won by Pakistan with just 1 wicket.
This was a painful one for Indian fans; ‘boom boom Shahid Afridi’s pyrotechnics aren’t easy to forget. It was the sixth game of the tournament and the Mirpur crowd was treated to a nail-biter as the men in green got better of the men in blue.
Half-centuries from Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayadu and Ravindra Jadeja took India to a respectable total of 245 after Virat Kohli, leading India in the absence of MS Dhoni, had departed for just five. Sayeed Ajmal had picked up three wickets on a spin-friendly track.
In reply, Pakistan openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad started out strong and put up a 71-run stand. Indian spinners replied in kind and Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra sent them packing.
Mohammad Hafeez’s 75 off 117 stabilised Pakistan’s innings before he succumbed to Ashwin. In came Shahid Afridi letting loose his familiar fireworks. He hit three sixes and two fours on his way to a 18-ball 34, taking Pakistan beyond the finishing line with just two balls to spare.
Asia Cup 2016: (India won by 5 wickets)
The 2016 Asia Cup was played in Twenty20 International format. In the fourth match of the tournament, India won the toss and elected to field first. Pakistani batting line-up failed miserably.
The score of just 83 runs was attained by India with the loss of 5 wickets. It was Pakistan’s lowest score in a T20I match.
Pakistani left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir ran riot but although Pakistan’s opening bowlers picked 5 wickets in a short period (the other being Mohammad Sami), they could not maintain the pressure and India eventually drove home in 15.3 overs with 5 wickets in hand. Virat Kohli scored 49 under pressure to win the man of the match award.
India vs Pakistan in Asia Cup:
In 12 games they have played against each other until now, India have won six while Pakistan have won 5 with one remaining inconclusive.