FLASHBACK: Pakistan players enjoy themselves with the Waterford crystal trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 1992.
FLASHBACK: Pakistan players enjoy themselves with the Waterford crystal trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, 1992.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s road to World Cup glory 27 years ago cannot be completed without a reference to the violent Adelaide deluge. Pitted against England on the first of March in 1992 at the picturesque Adelaide Oval, there was nothing beautiful about the shambolic batting performance put up by the men in green shirts.

Inserted in on a green pitch, Pakistan were blown away in 40.2 overs by an all-seam attack adopted by Graham Gooch for 74 with Derek Pringle returning astonishing analysis of 8.2-5-8-3 while Ian Botham, Phillip DeFreitas and Gladstone Small chipped kin a brace apiece. On the other hand only Saleem Malik, Wasim Haider and Mushtaq Ahmed entered double figures.

England went to lunch at 17-1 in six overs but a huge downpour during the interval forced a change in target to 64 from 16 overs (because in those days it had to be a 15-over contest for a conclusive decision to be determined). They had moved to 24-1 in eight overs when the heavens opened relentlessly to enable Pakistan escape with one priceless point which was to prove a critical factor in their qualification for the knockout stage.

And although Pringle — whose father Donald Pringle represented East Africa in the inaugural World Cup as a seam bowler and was tragically killed in a road accident in Nairobi just a couple of months after the tournament — replicated his Adelaide haul with 3-22 in the final, Pakistan went on to win the final by 22 runs.

Going into extensive details of that 1992 title-deciding clash at the MCG would be an exercise in futility now. But because Pakistan won the Waterford crystal trophy, it would be totally unfair not to recall the events of that clash in front of 87,182 people at the ground.

Electing to bat, Pakistan made the worst possible start when Pringle got of rid of both openers, Aamir Sohail and Rameez Raja, before Imran Khan and Javed Miandad came together to share a decisive third-wicket partnership of 139 with a commonsense approach.

Imran marked his last international appearance at the batting crease with a measured 72 from 110 balls while vice-captain Miandad contributed a 98-ball 58. Inzamam-ul-Haq (42 off 35 balls) and Wasim Akram (33 off 18) thrashed 52 in quick time to lift Pakistan to 249-6.

England’s chances of winning their first trophy receded the moment Wasim Akram produced two unplayable deliveries in succession to dismiss Allan Lamb (31) and Chris Lewis (0). Neil Fairbrother fought a one-man battle with a 70-ball 62 but it was all in vain.

It was fitting that the last wicket should fall to Imran with Rameez getting underneath a skier from Richard Illingworth, who is now a respected umpire on the ICC Elite Panel.

In their head-to-head World Cup meetings, both Pakistan and England are currently level with four victories each while the Englishmen overwhelmingly have dominated the overall record against Pakistan with 53 victories against 31 loses in 87 matches since 1974 with three fixtures, including the Adelaide World Cup tie, abandoned as no result.

Head-to-head summary

June 16, 1979 — Headingley, England won by 14 runs

June 13, 1983 — Lord’s, England won by eight wickets

June 28, 1983 — Old Trafford, England won by seven wickets

Oct 12-13, 1987 — Rawalpindi, Pakistan won by 18 runs

Oct 20, 1987 — Karachi, Pakistan won by seven wickets

March 1, 1992 — Adelaide, no result

March 25 — Melbourne, Pakistan won by 22 runs

March 3, 1996 — Karachi, Pakistan won by seven wickets

Feb 22, 2003 — Cape Town, England won by 112 runs.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2019

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