The rivalry between India and Pakistan is bigger than the Ashes rivalry between England and Australia. Since the partition in 1947, the two countries have had blow hot and cold relations. And it gets reflected on the cricket field as well.
They call it the mother of all battles. Fans go berserk when the two archrivals lock horns. Every match becomes a matter of pride for the two countries, where cricket flows in the veins of one and all and passion touches its pinnacle when these two challengers face each other.
Every match that India and Pakistan play against each other becomes memorable, and CricketNDTV.com picks some of the best matches played between them.
It was one the bowler-dominated matches. In the Rothmans Four-Nations Cup opening match, India were put in to bat. Pakistan's Imran Khan trampled the Indian batting with his six-wicket haul and bundled them for just 125 runs. Mohammad Azharuddin top-scored with 47 runs while skipper Kapil Dev remained unbeaten with 30 runs.
Kapil motivated his teammates with his pep talk and it surely did wonders. A combined bowling effort sent Pakistan packing for just 87 runs. Rameez Raja was the leading scorer with 29 runs.
Though Indian fans don't want to remember it, this was one match that would remain etched in the memories of the cricket fans from both the sides. In 1986, the two teams took on each other in the Australia-Asia Cup final.
India were sent in to bat by Pakistan and they managed a total of 245 with the help of Sunil Gavaskar's 92, K Srikkanth's 75 and a fifty by Dilip Vengasarkar. In reply, Pakistan were 3 down for 61. But a gritty knock by Javed Miandad saw Pakistan through. He remained unbeaten with 116 runs.
So what was so special about that win?
It was the way Miandad finished it. Pakistan had needed 4 runs off the last ball to win the match and the maverick batsman hit Chetan Sharma's last delivery for a huge six. Though Chetan Sharma has retired from cricket, one wonders if the ghost of that match has stopped haunting him.
They were the hosts and they were the contenders. The countries from the Indian sub-continent hosted the 1996 World Cup.
India and Pakistan faced each other in the Wills World Cup quarter-finals at Bangalore. It was Pakistan's first match in India since 1989 and Javed Miandad's last ODI.
Electing to bat first, India posted a total of 287 runs with the help of Navjot Singh Sidhu's 93. Pakistan looked strong during the chase till Rashid Latif's stumping. Their batting collapsed leading to their 39-run defeat.
One memorable moment of the match was shared by Venkatesh Prasad and Aamir Sohail. Sohail smashed a delivery from Prasad through the covers for a four. After this, he pointed his bat towards the boundary where the ball had gone. In the very next delivery, Prasad bowled out Sohail and pointed his finger towards the pavilion.
In the 1999 edition of the ICC World Cup, India and Pakistan met each other in the Super Sixes. This game holds important place in their rivalry as during that time the Kargil War was being fought between the armies of the two countries.
Amid all the euphoria of the World Cup, the atmosphere at Old Trafford resembled that of a battleground sans guns and tanks. Fans cheered and jeered while the stadium was under tight security.
However, nowhere did the cricket feel the loss. Electing to bat, India scored 227 runs at the loss of 6 wickets. Sachin Tendulkar made 45 while Rahul Dravid and Mohammad Azharuddin slammed fifties.
Chasing the total, Pakistan were all out for 180 runs. Indian pacers Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath cleaned up the top order. India won by 47 runs and this win really meant a lot for their countrymen.
India and Pakistan were facing each other after almost three years as the ICC seldom decides the cricketing relations between these two countries. It is the diplomatic and political relations that decide cricket's fate between these two.
It was the most hyped game of the tournament and it lived up to it. India had the psychological edge of being undefeated against Pakistan in any ICC tournament, be it the World Cup or the ICC Champions Trophy.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first in the jam-packed Centurion stadium. Saeed Anwar played a brilliant knock of 101 runs and Pakistan posted a total of 273 runs. Chasing that total against the pace attack that boasted of Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younus, was never easy. But what followed left everyone awestruck.
Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag opened the innings and their intent was very clear. Go for the kill! Skipper Wasim opened the bowling and was hit for two boundaries by the Indian openers.
But the next over witnessed perhaps the best shot of the tournament and how typically that defined the spirit of the match. A disarray Akhtar was pulverized by Tendulkar. His fourth legitimate delivery was cut over the point boundary and the ball blazing past the fielder to land in the stands. Next two deliveries were struck for consecutive fours. Tendulkar made a magnificent 98 runs briskly. After his departure, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh drove India successfully home. And the ecstasy that the win aroused can be understood by the sentiments of the Indians fans who said "We've got our World Cup"!
After sharing some sweet, sour and bitter relations with their neighbours, India toured Pakistan after 14 years in 2004. It was more of a strategic move by the governments from the two countries ahead of the General Elections.
India were to play five ODIs and three Tests, and it was called as the Friendship Series. And what a start it had! The first one-dayer in Karachi had some typical India-Pakistan moments, they, however, were sans heated verbal exchanges.
Put in to bat first, India made a mammoth 349 runs with the help of Sehwag's 79 and Rahul Dravid's 99. Dravid missed his century when Shoaib Akhtar rattled his stumps. India, however, looked well in command.
Chasing the total, Pakistan got jolts early on. Mohammad Yousuf and Inzamam-ul Haq consolidated the innings. Inzy slammed 122 runs and took his side closer to the target. Younus Khan charged down in the order.
However, nobody knew the drama that was about to unfold. After a terrific run-chase, Pakistan were on the threshold of victory. They needed six off the last ball and interestingly the man who had done it before at Sharjah in 1986 was the coach of the side. Moin Khan faced the last ball from Ashish Nehra. He lost the grip, failed to time it properly and was caught by Zaheer Khan at mid-off.
During the last Asia Cup, India and Pakistan played twice against each other.
In the first game, Pakistan had elected to bat and made 299 runs. It was Shoaib Malik's 125 runs and Younus Khan's 59 runs that took Pakistan to that total. But when you have an on-fire Virender Sehwag in the opposition, you never know what total will be sufficient. Sehwag blasted 119 runs. Suresh Raina clobbered 84 runs. Later Yuvraj and Dhoni took India ahead but Yuvraj faltered at the threshold. Skipper finished it off with a six-wicket win.
The two archrivals met again in the Asia Cup final. And Younus Khan made sure this time he left no stone unturned. India had won the toss and chose to bat. Every player chipped in India's total of 308 runs. Enough it wasn't. Younus Khan slammed 123 runs and later Misbah-ul Haq took Pakistan to the Asia Cup trophy with unbeaten 70 runs.
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