When Imran inspired Pak folded India for 125, but Kapil’s Devils turned the tables

The Rohit Sharma-led Men in Blue will kick off their ICC T20 World Cup campaign with a blockbuster clash against arch-rivals Pakistan on Sunday.

The match between the two Asian powerhouses is being touted as the much-anticipated mouth-watering clash in the ongoing mega event.

However, it is not the World Cup match that has made the game worth waiting for, but the clashes between the two teams who always look to give their all on the field against each other.

One such incident occurred on March 22, 1985, when India and Pakistan met in the four-nation Rothmans Cup for an ODI fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium.

The game famous for then Pakistan skipper Imran Khan’s 6 for 14 soon became a story of comeback, which the current generation draws inspiration from.

Batting first after losing the toss, India got off to a worst possible start as the side lost both its openers — Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri — to Imran’s fiery opening spell with just 12 runs on the board.

Things only got worse as Imran soon removed both Dilip Vengsarkar and Sunil Gavaskar to reduce India to 28/4.

Imran didn’t stop there and went on to dismiss Mohinder Amarnath (5) as India lost half their side with the scoreboard reading a paltry 34.

Mohammad Azharuddin, who came in at No. 3, and skipper Kapil Dev then steadied the ship to some extent, stitching together a 46-run stand for the sixth wicket.

But off-spinner Tauseef Ahmed dismissed both Azharuddin (47) and Kapil Dev (30) to trigger another collapse, with India eventually getting bowled out for 125 in 42.4 overs.

Imran was the pick of the bowlers, returning with figures of 6/14 in 10 overs, the best bowling figures then by a Pakistani bowler in ODIs.

Needing a paltry 126 to win, Pakistan suffered an early blow as opener Mohsin Khan got run out leaving the Green Army at 13/1.

Mudassar Nazar and Ramiz Raja then tried to steady the ship, but Roger Binny — now BCCI chief — and Kapil Dev removed both the batters to further dent the hopes of the opposite side.

What could have been an easy chase became an uphill task for Pakistan who kept on losing wickets at regular intervals, and were soon found reeling at 87/8.

Manzoor Elahi and Tauseef Ahmed were not able to add anything to the total further and Pakistan were folded for 87 runs.

Pakistan lost the low-scoring thriller by 38 runs, but Imran was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Kapil was the pick of the Indian bowlers, picking up 3 wickets for 17 runs in 6.5 overs, while leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan chipped in with 2 wickets giving away 16 runs in 7 overs.

Another highlight of the match was Sunil Gavaskar taking four catches to add to Pakistan’s woes.

That match still lives in the minds of veteran cricket fans. This is the reason whenever the two sides clash, there is a story to share.

Last year, the Virat Kohli-led side had suffered a 10-wicket thrashing against Pakistan in the T20 World Cup in the UAE. The Men in Blue — under new skipper Rohit Sharma — will be looking to avenge the humiliation when they clash with the Green Army on Sunday.

Just that the weather doesn’t play spoilsport in Melbourne! Fingers crossed.

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