India vs Pakistan World Cup magical moments: Ajay Jadeja’s assault on Waqar Younis 1996

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JadejaIt was the quarter final match of the 1996 World Cup that saw India and Pakistan  play a thriller at Bangalore on March 9,1996. The streets throughout the country on that day were empty and the hype before the match seemed like a war. The atmosphere in the garden city was  electric. It was here that Ajay Jadeja made a name for himself as he hammered Pakistan’s ace speedster Waqar Younis all over the park with range of innovative strokes to bring the vociferous home crowd on their feet.  It was Jadeja’s brilliant cameo, smashing a blistering 45 off 25 balls with four fours and two sixes, that powered India to 8/287. Waqar Younis was smashed for 40 runs runs in two overs , after his first eight had cost just 27.

Meanwhile, a slow over-rate was punished by the deduction of an over from Pakistan’s reply, the only such penalty in the tournament. Even so, their openers seized the initiative. Saeed Anwar had scored 48 from 32 balls, including two sixes, when he skied to Anil Kumble; stand-in captain Aamer Sohail ( after regular skipper Wasim Akram surprisingly pulled out at the last minute before the match sparking off a major controversy and giving room for plenty of speculations and rumours ) was 55 from 46, with one six, when he slashed wildly at Venkatesh Prasad. Sohail and Prasad were involved in sledging. Sohail pointing out to Prasad where he will hit the next ball and what followed is a memory engraved in the minds India-Pak cricket fans for very different reasons. After Prasad was hit for a boundary, he had his revenge with the very next ball when he clean bowled Sohail, showing him the way to the pavilion. Sohail’s antics did not impress former Pakistan skipper and then a commentator in the match, the legendary Imran Khan. The iconic- all- rounder described Sohail’s action as rash and uncalled for.

While chasing, Pakistan got off to a brilliant start and appeared to be making a match of it . But they lost it in the middle. Pakistan made 113 for two from the vital first 15 overs, putting them way ahead of India. But Venkatesh Prasad grabbed two more wickets and, gradually, the scoring-rate faltered. Rashid Latif, with two big sixes in a run-a-ball 26, kept Pakistan going, but his stumping sparked a collapse to Anil Kumble. The run-out of veteran Javed Miandad signalled the end of Pakistan’s reign as One-day champions and, apparently, of a career spanning three decades. He was widely jeered as he walked off the field. Miandad in his career had scripted many a famous win over India and the Indian crowds were delighted to see him back. Pakistan chasing India’s 287/ 8 finished at 248 /9 in 49 overs. India winning by 39 runs  The match had many firsts too. It was Pakistan’s 1st match in India since the Nehru Cup final in November 1989 – 1st match under floodlights at the Chinnaswamy Stadium..

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