Retroreport – Sidhu and Prasad carry India into the semi-finals

1:09 PM GMT

    The Retroreport by Andrew Miller

    India 287 for 8 (Sidhu 93, Jadeja 45, Mushtaq 2-56) beat Pakistan 248 for 9 (Sohail 55, Prasad 3-45, Kumble 3-48) by 39 runsPakistan’s reign as World Champions has come to an finish by the hands of their bitterest rivals, after essentially the most richly anticipated conflict of the 1996 World Cup served up a seething, bare-knuckle confrontation underneath the Chinnaswamy floodlights.The margin, 39 runs, seemed substantial by the point the final rites of the competition had been performed out, in entrance of a deliriously glad crowd of 35,000 partisan followers who – with whistles, hoots and bonfires within the stands – belied Bangalore’s beforehand staid popularity in an environment that teetered at occasions in direction of anarchy.However the agonies that these followers endured in the midst of the competition have been actual – as have been these of numerous hundreds of thousands from Karachi to Calcutta because the subcontinent got here to a standstill for one pulsating night. And by no means was the destiny of the protagonists extra on a knife-edge than throughout an exhilarating opening stand of 84 in ten overs between Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar, one which appeared to have positioned a frightening goal of 288 nicely inside Pakistan’s grasp.And but, within the last evaluation, India discovered the precise males for the important thing moments, as they turned the tables within the center overs and held their nerve on the loss of life. Their fundamental staff self-discipline was allied to top-notes of adrenalin-fuelled inspiration – not least a ballistic late onslaught from Ajay Jadeja – as they discovered the means to outlast a worthy opponent. Fittingly, and poignantly, it was Javed Miandad, 38 years outdated, and taking part in in his sixth World Cup after almost three years of self-declared exile, who was on deck as Pakistan’s hopes light to black. He bulwarked the closing overs earlier than being run out for 38 from 64 balls, because the mounting asking-rate enveloped his desires of 1 last glory.Pakistan will rue their destiny on this contest for a few years to return – they’ve by no means but crushed India in a World Cup contest in 21 years of making an attempt, and barely can they’ve had a contest extra at their mercy. However rushes of blood littered their strokeplay as the sport slipped from their grasp, not least the wild hack that Aamer, standing in as captain after the grievous pre-toss lack of Wasim Akram to a aspect pressure, geared toward a pumped-up Venkatesh Prasad to eject himself from the competition at exactly the second when consolidation was Pakistan’s watchword.Prasad’s send-off to Aamer was as feisty and uncomplicated as his subsequent command of the legcutter proved cool and calculating, and Pakistan’s center order struggled to hit the bottom working. Ijaz Ahmed opted to counter his menace with muscle however hoisted a vanguard to cowl; Inzamam-ul-Haq tried finesse, however steered a flat-footed poke to Nayan Mongia behind the stumps. And at 132 for 4, what embers remained of Pakistan’s combat have been duly doused by the spinners, Anil Kumble and Venkatapathy Raju, who throttled the competition with 4 wickets between them, and ensured that India’s lack of a fifth specialist bowler wouldn’t show pricey.It has been a sluggish burn of a World Cup, with mismatches and cancellations dominating an over-long group stage, through which the one actual jeopardy for the senior Take a look at nations has been the id and venue of those knock-outs. And after squandering their probability of a house tie in Karachi with final week’s premature loss to South Africa, Pakistan’s plans took an additional hit within the build-up, with Wasim’s absence compounded by the lack of an vital toss which left them the unenviable activity of chasing in Bangalore’s floodlit debut.That prospect maybe knowledgeable the tempo of the sport’s opening exchanges, as Pakistan shelved their recurring aggression with the brand new ball and veered very early in direction of containment. Navjot Sidhu responded with a maturely compiled 93 from 115 balls, an innings through which he outscored his extra illustrious companion Sachin Tendulkar by nearly 2 to 1 in a gap stand of 90. However at 237 for six after 47 overs, India’s innings was in peril of drifting in direction of mediocrity.Till, that’s, an astonishing late onslaught from Jadeja, whose pure attributes of power and timing surged to the fore to eviscerate Pakistan’s loss of life bowlers. No-one suffered extra gruesomely than Waqar Younis, whose first eight overs had yielded 27 runs, however whose last two have been smashed for 22 and 18 respectively – or dis-respectfully, you would possibly say.Up till that second, Pakistan appeared to have been incomes their rewards for perseverance. At 168 for two, Mushtaq Ahmed – a key participant within the 1992 triumph – dislodged Sidhu with the flipper when a century was there for the taking, then adopted up with a masterfully disguised googly to bowl Vinod Kambli on the cost for 24. Mohammad Azharuddin had already passed by then, supremely snaffled by Rashid Latif to provide Waqar the wicket that his endeavours had earned, and when Mongia was run out for 3, a complete of 250 appeared the higher restrict of their ambitions and the Chinnaswamy was taut with apprehension.And but, Jadeja’s half in that run-out appeared to click on him into on the spot overdrive. Having survived a screechingly shut lbw enchantment from his first ball in opposition to Waqar, he determined thereafter to not let his legs be a goal as he carved repeatedly and violently by way of the road and throughout the ropes.From consecutive Waqar deliveries Jadeja creamed 4, six, 4, six – the most effective of the lot an insolent slog over huge long-off as he seized on a fractional erring in step with disdain, and when Aaqib Javed banged one in brief in between whiles, he slapped an additional 4 off his eyebrows to ship the entire of his nation into raptures.By the point he holed out to long-on to finish Waqar’s torment, Jadeja had racked up 45 from 25 balls, and with Kumble chiming in as nicely, India helped themselves to 50 runs in three overs that appeared, certainly, to have put the sport past attain.However Pakistan weren’t to be crushed fairly that simply, and in scenes as eerily silent as a Hitchcock thriller, Aamer and Anwar made it their enterprise to tear chunks out of the goal in a gap salvo so calm and calculating it appeared to pan out in sluggish movement.Javagal Srinath was bunted over midwicket by Aamer in his first over, earlier than Anwar opened his night time’s work with back-to-back boundaries off Prasad, together with a canopy drive so pre-meditated, he would possibly in addition to began taking part in it on the flight over the border.The hits simply stored on coming, a lot in order that Azharuddin turned to Kumble as early because the fifth over, however even he discovered himself hovering into the stands at long-on as Anwar stored his foot to the ground. And when Srinath was plucked off the toes excessive over midwicket for Anwar’s second six of the night time, there appeared no earthly technique of pulling India’s bowling effort out of its nose-dive.However then Pakistan blinked fatefully, and their reign as World Champions started to unravel.


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