Pakistan played West Indies in seven bilateral One-Day International (ODI) series before 1993 and ended on the losing side on all occasions. Wasim Akram’s team toured the island for almost three months from March to May in 1993. The two sides played three Tests before locking horns in the five-match ODI series. The first ODI of the series was Pakistan’s seventh ODI against West Indies in the latter’s backyard. Having lost all the matches, Pakistan aimed to finally win an ODI on the Caribbean soils. Alas, the moment would not arrive at Kingston, the venue of the opening match of the 1993 series.
Following disappointing losses in the first two matches, Pakistan finally registered their maiden ODI win in West Indies when they beat the hosts in the third ODI in Port of Spain. However, the wildest celebrations waited in the fourth game. After losing the Test series and going down 0-2 in the limited-overs, the determined Pakistan side fought against the odds and revived the series when they locked the ODI series at 2-2.
Let’s go back 24 years and recollect the exciting five-match ODI series that was forced to end in a tie.
The Brian Lara show at Sabina Park
Aamer Sohail and Rameez Raja opened the batting for Pakistan as visitors were put to bat first. The low in confidence Pakistan batsmen had a huge task of batting on a tricky damp pitch and more importantly, they had to survive the vicious fast deliveries from Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. The duo of Sohail and Rameez devoured 23 overs to put up the first 67 runs on the board before Rameez fell to West Indian medium pacer, Phil Simmons. That saw Inzamam-ul-Haq join Sohail at the middle.
Although Ian Bishop grabbed two wickets, his loose bowling aided Pakistan’s recovery after they lost Rameez. Inzamam and Sohail stitched back Pakistan’s innings as they shared an 118-run stand for the second wicket. However, Pakistan faced a batting collapse after Bishop had dismissed Inzamam. They lost four more wickets but added only 38 runs and set West Indies a target of 224.
After Sohail made a mark in the first innings with a great knock of 87 runs off 167 balls, he picked up three wickets that included the talented Brian Lara. However, the Sohail’s breakthrough came late as the West Indian opener had already done the damage. Lara, the eventual Player of the Match scored 114 off 116 balls and West Indies won the game by six wickets with 36 balls remaining.
Lara breaks Pakistan’s heart again
The match was hit by a heavy downpour and which is why toss happened to be crucial again. The delay caused by the rain caused the match being reduced to 90 overs. Similar to the first game, West Indies won the toss and Pakistan came out to bat first. After the loss in the first game, Pakistan were desperate to turn tables around. Aamer Sohail was again Pakistan’s top-scorer with 47 runs off 86 balls. However, the visitors gave away their steady start given by Aamer and managed to post only 194 runs in 45 overs.
Just when Pakistan tried to fight back into the game by picking early wickets, Inzamam’s sloppy fielding lost them the game. He dropped Lara’s easy catch at slip off Wasim Akram’s second ball. The spilled catch cost Pakistan the match because Lara remained unbeaten on 95 and helped West Indies chase down the target with three wickets remaining.
Finally a Pakistan victory
Since the third match was also played at Port of Spain’s Queen’s Park, fearing that the pitch might lose its bounce, for the first time in the ODI series West Indies chose to bat first. It was also their first instance when Lara was dismissed early in the innings. These factors led to West Indies’ first loss in the series. Despite Lara’s poor show, West Indies still put up 259 runs on the board.
Pakistani openers Rameez and Sohail gave a brisk start to their team as they put up 71 runs in the first 13 overs. However, Inzamam and Asif Mujtaba stole the show when they exploited the West Indian attack by sharing a stand of 131 runs off 18 overs. While Asif remained unbeaten on 45, the Man of the Match Inzamam finished the match by chipping in 90 runs from 104 balls. Only Bishop was West Indies’ wicket-taker who dismissed Sohail. The other two wickets were run out and Pakistan won the game by seven wickets with 11 balls remaining.
Wasim Akram wakes up
It was four out of four for West Indies when they won the toss in the fourth match. Keeping the result of the third game, Richie Richardson went back to fielding first. For the first time in the series, Pakistani openers failed to put up 50 runs on the board. However, Sohail and other top-order batsmen stuck around and frustrated the bowlers. The major runs came from the bat of the middle-order batsman, Basit Ali, who scored 60 runs off 86 balls. Pakistan eventually scored 186 runs in 50 overs.
On any good day, the target was a cake walk for the West Indian side that included the likes of Lara, Richardson, Simmons and Haynes. However, it was Pakistan’s day. The match was wide open when the hosts lost three wickets for just 19 runs in the first 10 overs. It was a collective effort from Pakistan to bundle the hosts out for a humiliating total of 148 runs. Wasim Akram, who had failed to make a mark in the series prior to the fourth match, finally played according to his potential. He picked up four wickets, while the other breakthroughs were made by Waqar Younis, Ata-ur-Rehman, Sohail and Mujtaba.
With the 38-run win at St Vincent, Pakistan had made a superb comeback after a series of losses on the tour. The players were on cloud nine as they had equalised the series 2-2 against everyone’s expectations. The celebrations at the team hotel included a mandatory jump into the swimming pool. Basit Ali later revealed that there were many players who did not want to get wet but the senior men, Akram and Miandad, threw them into the pool.
It’s a tie!
Pakistan finally won the toss and had elected to bat first. As expected, Aamer Sohail gave a decent start to his side. In the first seven overs, the major scoring was done before the visitors lost the momentum. They struggled against an excellent bowling from Ambrose, Hooper and Cummins. Pakistan put 244 runs on the board by batting all 50 overs.
Pakistan rejoiced when Aamer Nazir removed West Indies’ bets batsman, Lara, early in the chase. But the skipper, Richardson’s 41 off 37 balls brought back West Indies in the series decider. In the last over, West Indies needed 11 runs to win. As soon as the hosts levelled the scores on the last ball, the spectators broke into the field, even before the match ended.
According to the rules, when scores are level, the match is awarded to the team losing the least wickets. Windies had levelled scores having lost a wicketless. Pakistan players left the ground assuming they had lost the match. However, ICC referee Raman Subba Row intervened to declare a tie because the crowd stopped the game even when the final ball was still in play.