Search This Blog

Thursday 15 January 2015

Pak v NZ (Semifinal, Auckland, World Cup 1992)

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
A batting superstar has arrived .... 
Best way to describe this match.

Against all odds Pakistan managed to scrape through to the semi-finals of this edition's #WorldCup semifinals (Remember the 1 point they gained from the hopeless performance against England, 74 all out, allowed them to move ahead of Australia and West Indies). Their opposition? The deadly in-form team, New Zealand. Unbeaten until their last league game (ironically their only loss came at the hands of Pakistan).

Stage was set. Eden Park, Auckland all set to stage its first ever World Cup semifinal game. The home team buoyant and clear favorites going into this game. But, as they say ... take Pakistan team granted at your own peril as the #Kiwis were to soon find out.

On a sunny March morning and a jam-packed stadium, NZ captain #MarttinCrowe won the toss and elected to bat first. Runs on the board was the clear plan. #MarkGreatbatch and #JohnWright opened the innings. Greatbatch was is great form and had blasted oppositions into submission during the course of the tournament. Danger man truly. But, the Pak bowlers had done their homework brilliantly. They pinned him and Wright by cramping them for room and no width to free their arms. #AquibJaved and #WasimAkram were awesome in that first spell. Aquib castled Greatbatch on 17.

#MushtaqAhmed then took over and had Wright and #AndrewJones caught to reduce NZ to 87 for 3. This is when captain Crowe and #KenRutherford took charge. Slowly, they built the innings before unleashing a counter-attack on the Pak bowling. Crowe's brilliant run in the world cup continued. He scored a fluent 91 before being run-out in the end stages of their innings.

Rutherford's steady 50 and some late blows for the Kiwi tail enabled them to score a very competitive 262 for 7 in their stipulated 50 overs. Wasim was the pick of the bowlers with an effective 2 for 40.

More than enough, you'd think as a Kiwi fan then.
Considering Pak's fallibility chasing scores or Kiwi tactics during the world cup to keep shuffling bowlers quickly were all stacked against Pak. Will they pull it off or would this be an end to their on-off campaign?

Then drama. Captain Crowe who suffered cramps and dehydration wasn't fit to take field. A big blow considering his audacious tactics and skill captaincy had brought them this far. His deputy John Wright certainly wasn't an inspirational figure on the ground but had to lead his side.

#AmeerSohail and #RameezRaja opened the innings for Pakistan. As usual #DeepakPatel, the offie opened NZ's bowling. This move to open with a spinner had brought them huge success all throughout. The trend continued when he had Sohail caught by Jones.

Pak 30 for 1.

Captain Imran promoted himself at No.3 to show his men how to lead from the front. He and Rameez slowly pushed things along. Plan was clear. Build and hold wickets for a late onslaught. They added 54 before Rameez fell to #WillieWatson. That brought in the wily old fox #JavedMiandad to the crease. Both him and Imran took it forward by adding 50 runs before Imran fell to #ChrisHarris.

Pak 134 for 3.

However, all this build-up was leading to required run-rate blowing up. Something had to give in. To add to their woes, Mr. Dependendable, #SalimMalik fell cheaply to #GavinLarsen reducing Pak to 140 for 4. 

Will Javed pull off a miracle with youngsters to follow? or Kiwis choke them? 

What Auckland and rest of the world witnessed after that was sheer magic!

In walked a 22 year old tall and burly youngster #InzamamUlHaq
With Javed at the other end, he unleashed an extraordinary counter attack on the Kiwis. This type of audacious strokeplay and power was never seen before!

His breathtaking hitting stunned the Kiwis. They were clueless. They were bamboozled. 

Javed held his end and encouraged #Inzi (as he later popularly came to be known) to play one of the finest match winning innings of all time. His 37 ball 60 became part of cricket folklore.

But there was still some drama to come. Inzy was run out trying to steal a single. Wasim was castled by Watson raising Kiwi hopes yet again. It needed someone to put the finishing touches from either side. #MoinKhan did it for Pakistan. Again, with Javed's astute presence in the middle.

His massive six and couple of boundaries deflated the Kiwis and Pakistan romped home with an improbable win. Amazing scenes at the Eden Park as Pakistan team engulfed Moin and Javed. 
Heartbreak for the Kiwis and more so for Martin Crowe. A golden chance to reach the finals had been lost.

But, the game belonged to the gentle giant, Inzamam.
A superstar had arrived ... in style!

MOM: Inzamam Ul Haq

Watch highlights here....

No comments:

Post a Comment