Asia Cup has always been a special tournament for the fans of sub-continent. The tournament initially started with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka taking part in it. Gradually, it kept on increasing with the teams adding to it.
Meanwhile, the 2018 edition of Asia Cup is on its way and fans across Asia are excited about it. Especially, with India and Pakistan set to lock horns in it, the moment is going to be a massive occasion for either nation fans.
Here are the top 5 iconic matches of Asia Cup:
5. Shahid Afridi’s heroics seals it for Pakistan facing India in 2014:
It was a match best remembered for Shahid Afridi’s massive hitting. He smashed Indian bowlers to massive sixes when it mattered the most to fly Pakistan flag high on Bangladesh soil facing India.
The thenMS Dhoni-led side was asked to bat first on a Mirpur’s slow wicket to start the things. Though Dhawan and Virat Kohli departed for cheap scores, Rohit Sharma scored a brisk fifty to keep things in balance.
Rahane faced 50 balls for his 23. However, Ambati Rayudu’s 58 under pressure boosted India to 245 on the board. In reply to the chase, Shehzad and Jamshed started things well for Pakistan but the run rate wasn’t quite up to the mark.
Hafeez scored a brilliant 75 but took 117 balls while batting in the middle order. All of a sudden, they found themselves in a soup with the scoreboard reading 203/6. However, Afridi went on a rampage and scored a quickfire 38 off 18 balls to guide Pakistan to victory with only one wicket to spare.
4. Javed Miandad’s last ball six off Chetan Sharma in 1986:
The former Pakistan captain and India’s arch-nemesis Javed Miandad is still remembered for hitting that six at Sharjah which made further enhanced his legend status.
The bitter memories of Miandad hitting Chetan Sharma for a six on the last ball of the match in Austral-Asia Cup final are still fresh in Indian fans’ minds.
Requiring four runs in one ball, Sharma bowled a low full-toss to Miandad, that the latter bludgeoned away to the boundary. The Pakistani batsman scored 116 not out in the match. Batting first, India had set Pakistan a target of 246 runs.
Apart from Javed Miandad, none of the Pakistani batsmen showed fight against Indian attack. Coming to Indian setup, it was Sunil Gavaskar who scored 92 alongside Vengsarkar’s 50.
Though Chetan Sharma was brilliant throughout the match, one ball completely changed the scenario. He achieved many records in his career but will always be remembered for the last ball to Javed.
3. Bangladesh stuns India when Sachin scored his 100th century in 2012:
Sachin Tendulkar’s failure to knock off the final hundred to complete the milestone had become the topic of conversation every time he came out to bat.
It is perhaps unsurprising that when he did get there, it was courtesy of a grinding ordeal rather than a fitting decoration to his great feat.
The glorious feat of the Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar has come at a wrong time. The sterling Tendulkar was waiting for his 100th ton for a long time which finally came in the 2012 Asia Cup.
The classy stroke player toiled hard to get 114 runs from 147 deliveries which are almost half of India’s innings thus leaving the rest to try and boost the side to a winning score. However, the rest of the batting line-up batted well to reach India to a competitive tally of 289 runs.
In reply to India’s tally, the collective batting effort from Bangladesh batsmen saw India losing the game convincingly. It was a big upset as the underdogs left the Indians shell-shocked.
But, they made the win count as they reached finals in the tournament. It was a heart-break for Bangladesh in the finals as they fell short by just 2 runs against Pakistan.
2. Virat Kohli’s scintillating 183 against Pakistan in 2012:
It was a game which showed the glimpses of Virat Kohli becoming the best in the business. Initially, it was all about Pakistan but the sublime effort from Virat Kohli saw other things in the massive game.
After batting first, the openers Mohammed Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed smashed fantastic hundreds. They both added 224 runs for the first wicket but lost their wickets in a difference of 1 run.
However, Younis Khan carried the assault and smacked a quickfire fifty to boost Pakistan to a massive tally of 329 on the board. In reply to the chase, Hafeez sent Gautam Gambhir for a 2-ball duck.
Then came the young Virat Kohli with a lot of fire in his eyes to guide the team. He alongside the great Sachin Tendulkar took the attack to the opposition. Virat Kohli nailed Pakistan’s bowling attack by cracking as many as 22 fours in his knock.
Though he missed a deserving double hundred by 17 runs, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina finished the things comfortably with a couple of overs left.
1. Pakistan thumps Bangladesh in 2012 final by 2 runs:
It was in 2012 when Bangladesh stunned all the major teams to reach finals of the competition. It was the same event where Sachin reached his landmark 100th century in International cricket as well.
Initially, Pakistan was asked to bat first in the highly anticipated final. On a slow and turning wicket, spinners Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Razzak bowled fantastic spells to restrict Pakistan to a mere 236 runs on the board.
Apart from Sarfraz Ahmed’s 46 and Hafeez 40, none of the Pakistani batsmen had the clue of which side the ball was turning. In reply to the chase, Tamim Iqbal started things in his usual way to smash Pakistan all corners of the park.
Shakib joined Tamim to balance the chase with a fine 68 to his name. Just when things looked in Bangladesh way, Umar Gul removed Tamim Iqbal which opened gates for the sudden turnaround as well.
With 23 runs required of 18 ball and 4 wickets in hand, the chase looked in Bangladesh side. But, they managed to get only 20 runs thus losing the final by 2 runs.