Before heading to the top five thrilling matches in Asia Cup, let’s have a look at the history of it. Asia Cup has always been a special tournament for the sub-continent fans. The competition 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 on September 19, the moment is going to be a massive occasion for both the nations.
Here are the top five thrilling matches in Asia Cup:
5. Pakistan seals a thriller by two runs in 2012 final facing Bangladesh:
It was in 2012 when Bangladesh stunned all the major teams to reach finals of the competition. It was the same event where Sachin Tendulkar reached his landmark 100th century in International cricket as well.
Initially, Pakistan was asked to bat first in the highly anticipated final.
On a slowish and turning wicket, spinners Shakib Al Hasan, Nasir Hossain and Abdur 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 an excellent 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 off 18 balls and four wickets in hand, the chase looked in Bangladesh side. But, they managed to get only 20 runs thus losing the final by two runs.
4. Bangladesh stunned India when Sachin scored his 100th tonne 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 remarkable feat of the Indian legend 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-maker toiled hard to get 114 runs off 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 two runs against Pakistan.
3. Shahid Afridi thumps India in 2014 Asia Cup:
It was a match best remembered for Shahid Afridi’s massive hitting. He smashed Indian bowlers when it mattered the most – to fly Pakistan flag high on Bangladesh soil while facing arch-rivals India.
The then Mahendra Singh 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. However, Rohit Sharma scored a brisk fifty to keep things in balance.
Ajinkya 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, Ahmed Shehzad and Nasir Jamshed started things well for Pakistan, but the run rate wasn’t quite up to the mark.
Mohammad Hafeez scored a brilliant 75 but took 117 balls while batting in the middle order. All of a sudden, they found themselves in soup with the scoreboard reading 203 for six.
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.
2. Harbhajan Singh finishes it for India in Asia Cup 2010:
The fight between Harbhajan Singh and Shoaib Akhtar is still fresh in the minds of the fans. It all started with Gambhir. He was always a big match player, and when it comes to playing against Pakistan, Gambhir always tried to hang in there for India.
Initially, it was Pakistan who batted first on a slow wicket. The lefty Salman Butt started things exceptionally for Pakistan, but unfortunately, he couldn’t get the support from the other end.
Shoaib Malik scored a brisk 39 before Kamran Akmal’s late burst to push Pakistan to 267 on the board.
In reply to the chase, Gautam Gambhir stood tall at the crease by tackling Pakistan’s quality spin.
Though Sehwag and Virat Kohli walked back quickly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined Gambhir to keep the chase on track. When things were going India’s way, Malik cleaned up MS Dhoni to push India in sorts of trouble.
Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina got their starts but couldn’t quite carry on. However, Harbhajan Singh smoked a couple of crucial sixes to hand India a memorable victory. Indians completed the chase with only one ball to spare in the Asia Cup.
1. 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 Javed 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 Miandad, none of the Pakistani batsmen showed fight against Indian attack. Coming to Indian setup, it was Sunil Gavaskar who scored 92 alongside Dilip 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.