The Austral-Asia Cup final played between India and Pakistan on April 18, 1986 is undoubtedly the most memorable clash between the two sides, a match which went all the way to the wire. Here’s a recap of that riveting finale that remains fresh in memory even today.
India:K Srikkanth, SM Gavaskar, DB Vengsarkar, KBJ Azad, N Kapil Dev, C Sharma, RJ Shastri, CS Pandit, M Azharuddin, S Madan Lal, Maninder Singh
Pakistan: Mudassar Nazar, Mohsin Khan, Rameez Raja, Javed Miandad, Saleem Malik, Abdul Qadir, Imran Khan, Manzoor Elahi, Wasim Akram, Zulqarnain, Tauseef Ahmed
The six that haunted India
This was the match in which Javed Miandad famously (in India’s case infamously) hit Chetan Sharma for a six off the last ball of the match, to seal the Cup in Pakistan’s favour. The shot went on to haunt India for nearly a decade before they got their own back, during the 1996 World Cup quarter-finals at Bangalore.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to field first in the final. The Indians got off to an excellent start, with openers Krish Srikkanth and Sunil Gavaskar featuring in a century partnership. The duo looked in no trouble at all as they added 117 for the opening wicket. Srikkanth was eventually dismissed for 75 to provide a sense of relief to Pakistan. His knock featured eight fours and two sixes and came off 80 balls. Following Srikkanth’s dismissal, Gavaskar was joined the Dilip Vengsarkar, and the Mumbai combination featured in another impressive stand. Vengsarkar fell immediately after reaching his 50, which came off 64 balls with the aid of one six.
At 216 for 2, India were in firm control, but this is where Imran Khan and Wasim Akram combined to peg back the Indians. Akram cleaned up Kirti Azad for a duck and Ravi Shastri for 1. On the other hand, Khan sent back his opposite number Kapil Dev, also bowled, for 8. In a matter of overs, India had slumped to 245 for 6. All this while, Gavaskar was holding one end up. He was eventually the last man out for 92, cleaned bowled by Khan as India ended up on 245 for 7 after 50 overs. Gavaskar’s knock comprised six fours and lasted 134 balls.
India gained the upper hand very soon with the ball in hand. Mudassar Nazar was trapped lbw by Chetan Sharma for 5 while Maninder Singh cleaned up Rameez Raja for 10. Mohsin Khan looked good during his stay at the crease, but when on 36 he was cleaned bowled by Madan Lal, leaving Pakistan in desperate trouble at 61 for 3. The rest of the innings was all about the Miandad magic.
The Pakistan legend began by forging crucial partnerships, first with Saleem Malik (21) and then with Abdul Qadir (34), all the while keeping the scoreboard ticking. He did not give up even after crossing his century. It all came down to the last ball, with Pakistan needing four to win. Rest is history!
--By A Cricket Analyst