World Cup Countdown: Jadeja’s blitz, Prasad’s bluster eliminate Pakistan

Jadeja's 25-ball 45 helped India post 287/8 in 50 overs, which proved out of Pakistan's reach.

Ajay Jadeja smashed Waqar Younis in the final stages of India's innings

Ajay Jadeja smashed Waqar Younis in the final stages of India's innings. (Screenshot)

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In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World CupCricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the tournament over the years – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 58 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we take a look back March 9, 1996 when India knocked out Pakistan from the World Cup. 

This match takes pride of place in the library of classic India vs Pakistan ODI matches.

For starters, the context: both teams had failed to reach the final of the 1987 World Cup co-hosed by the two countries. Now the tournament was back in the subcontinent and fans on both sides of the border were praying for the other to lose. (REWIND: Ajay Jadeja’s sensational assault on Waqar Younis)

The setting was Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium where 35,000 fans packed into watch the tournament’s biggest game yet. Before the toss, news emanated from the Pakistan camp that skipper Wasim Akram had ruled himself out. Eyebrows were raised, of course.

India batted first and were given an opening stand of 90 from Sachin Tendulkar (31 off 59 balls) and Navjot Singh Sidhu who third out for 93 from 115 balls. When he was dismissed, India’s run rate was barely four and a half. The innings needed something drastic, and it came from Ajay Jadeja.

With a twinkle in his eye, Jadeja tucked into Pakistan’s attack with gusto. Then came his duel with Waqar Younis, which proved the first of two tasty sub-plots to this high-octane quarter-final. India scored 51 from their last three overs, with Jadeja smashing Waqar for 40 in his final two. His pulling was particularly devastating.

Jadeja’s 25-ball 45 helped India post 287/8 in 50 overs. (READ: Jadeja’s knock at Bangalore was one of the finest in ODI history)

Venkatesh Prasad took three wickets to help India beat Pakistan in Bangalore
Venkatesh Prasad took three wickets to help India beat Pakistan in Bangalore. © Getty

At one stage it appeared they may have fallen short, as Pakistan’s opening pair of skipper Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar made a superb start to the chase. The pair put on 84 in ten overs, and even once Anwar (48 off 32) got out the innings did not slow down until Sohail had words with Venkatesh Prasad.

Sohail, after raising a quick half-century with a four off Prasad past extra cover, gestured to the bowler as if to say ‘go fetch that’.

Unamused, Prasad held his composure and ran into deliver the next ball. Carried away, Sohail heaved across the line and was bowled. “Go home you f****n bastard” was Prasad’s riposte and the Chinnaswamy Stadium erupted. (READ: Venkatesh Prasad answers India’s prayers)

India went on to win the match by 39 runs and Pakistan were eliminated.

Brief scores:

India 287/8 50 overs (Sidhu 93, Ajay Jadeja 45) beat Pakistan 248/9 in 49 overs (Sohail 55, Anwar 48; Prasad 3/45, Kumble 3/48) by 39 runs.

Man of the Match: Navjot Sidhu.

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