By: Omair Alavi 25 years is a huge time for anyone to forget anything but there is one incident that remains etched in every Pakistani’s memory – World Cup 1992. It is the only mega event where each team played each other and the best 4 qualified to the next round. It was also the…
SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Mar 24, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago
By: Omair Alavi
25 years is a huge time for anyone to forget anything but there is one incident that remains etched in every Pakistani’s memory – World Cup 1992. It is the only mega event where each team played each other and the best 4 qualified to the next round. It was also the first event played under lights, in colored clothing’s and with a white cricket ball, setting the trend for events that followed. Had Pakistan not won the Cup, it might have gone down as the most boring of events as the Men in Green had no chance to qualify for the final after 3 matches, they had a team that no one would call perfect and most of the players were half fit including the captain and vice-captain. So how did Imran’s Tigers manage to snatch victory from the jaws of certain defeat – let’s pick 5 moments from the mega event and discuss!
Inclusion of Mushtaq Ahmed
Pakistan went into the mega event without its most experienced spinners Abdul Qadir and Iqbal Qasim (he made a successful comeback in first class cricket); instead selectors opted for untested leggies Iqbal Sikandar and rookie Mushtaq Ahmed. As it was the first World Cup where a spinner opened the attack (Deepak Patel for NZ), Pakistan tried Iqbal Sikandar in initial matches with worse possible result. When Mushtaq Ahmed was included in the side, everything changed for the better as he not only took wickets but also stopped the flow of runs and above all, didn’t let people in Pakistan miss Abdul Qadir. The master did return for a few matches after the World Cup but Mushtaq Ahmed continued to represent Pakistan for many more years, with distinction. His googly to bamboozle Dermot Reeve in the final is still fresh in our minds!
Rameez’s twin centuries
No Pakistani player had played the West Indians confidently in ODIs before the 1992 World Cup and Rameez Raja changed the trend by scoring a century in Pakistan’s first match of the event – against the West Indians. Pakistan lost the match but gained the confidence required to beat the best in the World, something they displayed a few matches later. Rameez’s second century of the event – against New Zealand – in a must win encounter ensured Pakistan reached the semi final stage of the event, where first Inzamam and later Moin Khan confidently batted Pakistan past the target.
The win against Australia
This do-or-die match that changed everyone’s perception about Pakistan. No one was considering them for the later stage because Pakistan team played like 11 men with no plan but the win against Australia not only lifted their spirits but also enabled them to learn from their own mistakes. No one in his right mind would have thought that the team that had lost to the West Indies, South Africa & India and nearly lost a match against England would go onto lift the Cup but that’s Imran Khan for you. Before this match, he told reporters that Pakistan still has chances in the Cup, and he showed them how to win a World Cup.
Rise of the Young Guns!
They were the best team of the World Cup, against Imran Khan’s men who were the only team to beat New Zealand in round matches. Due to excellent batting from Inzamam ul Haq and superb guidance from Javed Miandad, Pakistan managed to upset Martin Crowe’s men in the Semi Final and qualify for the final for the first time. Be it Inzamam’s explosive hitting or Moin Khan’s two boundaries to seal the victory, Pakistan was on top of their game. Had Javed Miandad not been there to guide the youngsters, Pakistan might have returned home one of the teams who could have claimed ‘too-close-yet-too-far’. Thankfully, they managed to beat all odds and come out all guns blazing, when it mattered the most!
And then there was the Grand Finale
Pakistan wasn’t batting well in the first half of their innings … I still remember switching the TV off and playing Cricket with my brother, wondering whether I should have been representing Pakistan instead of oldies Imran and Miandad. However, it was these oldies who managed to post a respectable total on the scoreboard for Wasim Akram and Co. to defend. The Allan Lamb-Chris Lewis dismissal changed the mood of the game and the memorable fall of wickets after that helped Pakistan win the World Cup for the first and so far the only time – not counting the 2009 win as it was T20 event.