India and Pakistan would meet in the Middle East yet again! Let’s have a look at the top 5 encounters of these two enigmatic sides at the Middle East….. 

Yet another edition of Asia Cup is upon us and some of the top teams from the continent are set to take part in this 6-team tournament. One particular fixture that the world waits to see eagerly is the contest between India and Pakistan. With political tiff between these two nations, they have not played a bilateral series in a while and thanks to such multi-team tournaments, one gets to witness these two teams in action. The Asia Cup this time will be played in the Middle East, where Pakistan play their home matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Also, Pakistan have a superior record over India in the matches played in the Middle East.

India and Pakistan will face each other on September 19, in Dubai, which will be their first ever meeting at this venue. This is the first time that these two neighbours will play each other in the UAE since 2006. However, when it comes to head-to-head in the UAE, out of the 26 matches, Pakistan have won 19, while India have won just 7. There have been many memorable matches over the years in the Arab nation. Let’s now take a look at 5 such matches.

Rothmans Trophy, Match 1, 1985

In a low-scoring encounter, Imran Khan picked up his career-best figures of 6-14 to bundle India out for just 125 after winning the toss and electing to bowl. Mohammad Azharuddin and Kapil Dev scored 47 and 30 respectively to take India to three figures. In what should have been an easy chase for Pakistan, the Indian bowlers led by Kapil bowled with intent and put Pakistan on the back foot straight away. All the bowlers chipped in and Pakistan were bowled out for just 87, giving India a 38-run win in the end. As many as four Pakistan batsmen were dismissed without opening their accounts. Kapil finished with 3-17, while L Sivaramakrishnan and Ravi Shastri chipped in with 2 wickets apiece.

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Despite losing the match Imran was adjudged the player of the match for his outstanding spell.

The Sharjah Cup also consisted of Australia and England. In the final of the tournament, India beat Australia by 3 wickets to clinch the trophy.

Austral-Asia Cup, final, 1986

After being put into bat, India openers Kris Srikkanth and Sunil Gavaskar got India off to a good start, putting on 117 for the first wicket. Srikkanth played his natural aggressive game and was dismissed for 75 off 80, but Gavaskar Dilip Vengsarkar continued the momentum by putting on 99 for the second wicket. Vengsarkar made 50, while Gavaskar was the last man dismissed for 92 as India managed a decent 245-7 from their 50 overs.

It was never going to be an easy chase for Pakistan and to add to their woes, India picked up wickets at regular intervals. However, there was one man, who stood tall – Javed Miandad. Miandad looked in utmost ease as he smashed the Indian bowlers all around the park. India were very much on top till the last delivery, where Pakistan needed four to win the match. Chetan Sharma, who had already picked up three Pakistani wickets knew that a yorker would seal the deal for his side. Miandad surveyed the field carefully and the attempted yorker turned out to be a full toss and Miandad cleared the mid-wicket ropes with ease, scoring a six off the final delivery to win the match. This was arguably the best match these two teams had played.

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That moment turned out to be a crucial one for Pakistan as they started to win more and more matches against India after that.

Austral-Asia Cup, Match 3, 1990

Pakistan had a magnificent tournament, winning every match, including the final, beating Australia by 36 runs. However, in this match, they were up against India in the third match of the series. India put Pakistan into bat and they managed a decent total of 235-9 thanks to Saleem Yousuf’s 62 and also important knocks from Saeed Anwar (37), Javed Miandad (37) and Ijaz Ahmed (32). The Indian bowlers bowled well, with Ravi Shastri leading the way with 2-36 from his 10 overs.

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Despite a decent start from India, they kept losing wickets regularly and could not get one match-defining partnership. Mohammad Azharuddin stood like a rock through the innings, remaining unbeaten on 78. Sadly, he did not get any support from the other end as Pakistan cruised to a 26-run win. For Pakistan, it was the fast and furious Waqar Younis who led the way with a magnificent spell of 4-42 from his 10 overs. Among his wickets were Navjot Singh Sidhu for a golden duck and also Kapil Dev for just a single. This win marked Pakistan’s eighth consecutive win over India at UAE.

Wills Trophy, Match 6, 1991

After electing to bat first at Sharjah, fine innings from Aamer Sohail (91), Zahid Fazal (39), Saleem Malik (42) and Imran Khan (43), propelled Pakistan to a formidable 257-7 from 50 overs. It was no doubt a stiff target for India, but their top three consisting of Ravi Shastri (77), Vinod Kambli (40) and Sanjay Manjrekar (49) made valuable contributions to take India closer to their target. Despite a quickfire 38-ball 40 from Sachin Tendulkar down the order, the Pakistan bowlers pulled things back to hand Pakistan a narrow 4-run victory.

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Pakistan showed great character in this tournament. Having lost to West Indies by 1 wicket and to India by 60 runs, Pakistan bounced back extremely well to beat West Indies by 1 run, narrowly edge past India by 4 runs and in the final against their arch-rivals, they eased to a 72-run victory.

Sharjah Cup, Match 4, 1996

Two individual performances paved India to a memorable win in this match: Sachin Tendulkar’s 118 off 140 and Navjot Singh Sidhu’s 117-ball 101. The duo added 231 runs for the second wicket, which took the game away from Pakistan. As a result, India scored 305-5 from their 50 overs. Aamer Sohail tried his best to give Pakistan a chance with his breezy 78, but none from the Pakistan side got that big hundred that would have perhaps won them the game. The Indian bowlers were up for the task and bowled Pakistan out for 277, thereby winning the match by 28 runs.

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However, it was neither India nor Pakistan that ended up winning the series. It was, in fact, South Africa, who beat India in the final by 38 runs to lift the trophy.

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