Indian cricket fans will never forget the 1996 World Cup quarter-final win against Pakistan. And whenever that match is mentioned, one of the first incidents that would come to mind is the tussle between Aamer Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad.
With India setting Pakistan a stiff target of 288, thanks to Navjot Singh Sindhu’s knock of 93 and Ajay Jadeja’s late cameo, Pakistan got off to the perfect start.
Saeed Anwar and Sohail began aggressively stitching together a partnership of 84 runs. But even as Anwar was dismissed by Javagal Srinath in the 11th over, Sohail kept the pressure on the Indian batsman with some aggressive shots.
With Pakistan cruising Sohail perhaps got a bit ahead of himself and pointed his bat to the boundary line after hitting Prasad for a boundary. With the very next delivery, the Indian bowler castled him to achieve one of the sweetest pieces of revenge in one-day international cricket.
The incident has been replayed, discussed years after the game, and 24 years on from that match, Sohail’s behavior still baffles Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis.
“To be very honest, we were shocked by the way he [Sohail] was behaving on the field. He was tonking the ball all over the park, why did he need to do that? I guess, the pressure got to him,” Waqar said on The Greatest Rivalry podcast.
“He batted superbly, he was looking really good and I think he scored 55 off not many deliveries (55 off 46). And Saeed Anwar also. We lost our first wicket when Pakistan were 85-odd (84) in the first ten overs. We were cruising, and then once we lost Saeed Anwar and then Aamir Sohail straight away, it just went wrong,” he added.
Pakistan’s chase fell apart after the dismissal of the Sohail as they fell to a 39-run defeat at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
“Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed, they went into a shell. And full credit should be given to Anil Kumble, when he came in and Prasad came in for his second spell, he sort of started nipping the ball a little bit. And Pakistan got so much pressure and once we lost Ijaz and Inzamam within an over or so, it became very very difficult,” Waqar said.
“We made quite a few mistakes in that game. Javed Miandad was there, he could have gone in at number four but we kept him at number six, there was no use because he was approaching the end of his career. We kept him for very late, he should have batted at number four. Overall, a good game for cricket and India were well-deserved winners,” he added recalling the match.
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India have since maintained their dominance over Pakistan in World Cup cricket winning five straight matches against their arch-rivals in World Cup games.
The Indians also got the better of Pakistan in the final of the inaugural 2007 World T20, the first-ever World Cup for the T20 format.