After a gap of almost a year, India and Pakistan will be up against each other in the 2022 edition of the Asia Cup, set to be played in the T20I format for only the second time in its history. Since both two sides have stopped playing bilateral cricket, they only meet at multi-team tournaments, where the stakes are high in every game.
This year both India and Pakistan will be entering the battlefield without their primary fast bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Shaheen Shah Afridi. The much-anticipated battle between Afridi and the Indian top-order – that largely decided the game in their last meeting – will be sorely missed. But there’s still a lot to look forward – from the opening duo of Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam against Bhuvneshwar Kumar to watching Virat Kohli battling his inner demons.
In a build-up to the storied rivalry, let’s take a look at five of the most memorable meetings between India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup.
When the Asia Cup 2016 was played for the first time in the T20 format, India and Pakistan provided us with a low-scoring thriller that has now become such a rarity. Pakistan was shot out for a paltry total of 83, and just when everyone assumed a cakewalk for India, Mohammad Amir decided to play spoilsport.
Amir’s blistering spell, in which he took three wickets in ten balls, gave Pakistan a new life. Then Virat Kohli showed his watertight technique to keep the Pakistani speedsters at bay and win the game for India. He scored 49 off 51 deliveries before being dismissed and was later fined 50% of his match fees for dissenting umpire’s decision.
In the 2014 edition of the Asia Cup, India huffed and puffed to 245/6 in 50 overs, courtesy of steady half-centuries from Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ambati Rayudu. In reply, Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shahzad got Pakistan off to a steady start with a 71-run opening stand.
In the next ten overs, India pulled back with four quick wickets to reduce Pakistan to1 113/4 but they couldn’t prize out the wicket of Mohammed Hafeez, who laid a solid base with his 117-ball 75. Just when it looked like an easy ride for Pakistan, Ashwin bowled Hafeez to expose Pakistan’s tail. But Shahid Afridi then slammed two straight sixes to kill any hope of an Indian comeback.
In his first four outings against Pakistan, Kohli’s scores read 16, 18, and 9. The batting maestro has already played too many significant knocks, but none against India’s fiercest rival Pakistan. But this changed in the 2012 edition of the Asia Cup, when he slammed a brilliant century to see off a daunting target set off by Pakistan. Kohli made 183 off 148 deliveries as India made a mockery of a 330-run target in Dhaka. For Pakistan, Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed forged a 224-run stand.
It was edge-of-the-seat stuff that culminated with a wild hoick from Harbhajan Singh against Mohammad Amir on the penultimate ball to seal the game for India. Batting first, Pakistan rode on the fifties from Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal to post 267. Even though India lost Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli rather cheaply, Gautam Gambhir held the fort, and forged a crucial stand with MS Dhoni to propel Indian towards the target.
In what was a must-needed win for Pakistan to keep their Asia Cup campaign alive, they climbed on the back of a monumental effort from Shoaib Malik to beat India by 59 runs. New to the scene, Malik introduced himself to the cricketing world with a fine century, comprising 18 fours and a six. Malik then also got the better of Sachin Tendulkar, who was waging a lonely battle with the bat, to kill the sting out of the contest.
Lead Image: ICC