India vs. Pakistan in a World Cup is probably one of the most anticipated clashes in the cricketing world. India have never been defeated by Pakistan in a World Cup, be it the 50 over or 20 over format; the Indians lead their neighbours 6-0 in ODI World Cup and 4-0 in the T20 World Cup clashes. But the 1996 quarterfinal clash in Bangalore will remain etched in the memory of cricket fans as one of the most dramatic.
The match had many ‘moments’, be it the Ajay Jadeja pyrotechnics with the bat at the closing stages of the Indian innings, or the infamous Venkatesh Prasad-Aamer Sohail face-off.
The Mohammad Azharuddin-led Indian side scored 287 in their allotted 50 overs. Pakistan could only manage 248 in 49 overs (They were fined one over for slow over rate), handing India the semi-final berth. Pakistan were 84/0 in 10 overs in their chase, before a dramatic change of events scripted an India victory.
Let’s take a look at the Indian XI that played in this infamous clash and where they are now:
#1 Navjot Singh Sidhu
Sidhu hit an-115 ball 93 in the match and laid the foundation for the Indian innings. He went on to win the Man of the Match award for this performance. Sachin Tendulkar was largely expected to provide a scintillating start as he had done the whole tournament till that point, but he failed to get going and Sidhu took on the leading role in their opening partnership.
After his retirement in ’99, he took up the mantle of commentator and cricket analyst for various channels. He is now as famous for his one-liners as he was for his towering sixers during his playing days. He has moved on to the entertainment industry, acting in films and judging reality shows. He can now be seen on the comedy show The Kapil Sharma Show.
He has also been actively involved in politics, and was Member of Parliament from Amritsar from 2004-2014 on a BJP ticket. He is now a member of the Congress Party.
#2 Sachin Tendulkar
The then 22-year-old Sachin had set the tournament on fire and his scores coming into the match were 127 not out, 70, 90, 137 and 3. He was in imperious form and most felt that he was crucial to India’s chances against a powerful Pakistani attack.
Tendulkar might be perhaps the greatest batsman ever to play the game, but he could only manage 31 off 59 balls in this game, and was the first to perish at the team score of 90.
By the time he retired, most records were under the belt of the master blaster. He couldn’t however, help India win the ’96 world cup, losing to Sri Lanka in the semi-final (Match given to SL by default due to rioting crowd). He had to wait 15 more years to finally taste gold in the 2011 World Cup, with poetic justice served at his home ground in the Wankhede.
He has been awarded the Bharath Ratna, India’s highest civilian award following his retirement from the sport and also been nominated as a Rajya Sabha member. He is currently the ‘icon’ of Mumbai Indians, his former IPL side. He also ventured into the world of football and is a co-owner of an ISL team, Kerala Blasters.
#3 Sanjay Manjrekar
Manjrekar could only amass a 43 ball 20 in the match, coming in at the fall of Tendulkar. He had the lowest strike rate in the match and his dismissal at 138 was a blessing in disguise.
Manjrekar was technically very correct, and maybe the heavy baggage of expectations and focus on technique didn’t let him make the giant strides that was expected of him. He managed about 2000 runs in Tests and ODIs each when he chose to hang his boots.
Though he couldn’t quite make a mark as a cricketer, he has gone to establish himself as a household name when it comes to commentating. His in-depth understanding of cricket has been appreciated by many in the game.
#4 Mohammad Azharuddin
The wristy Indian skipper walked in when India were two down and struck a breezy 22-ball 27, before being dismissed by Waqar Younis when the Indian total just hit the 200-run mark.
Azharuddin is one of India’s most successful captains but his cricket career was one marred with controversies. The match-fixing scandal that he was involved in followed him till 2012 when the life ban was finally lifted. A movie based on him Azhar starring Emraan Hashmi hit theatres recently, and takes a deeper look into his personal and professional life.
He has also been actively involved in politics, and has gone on to become an MP on a Congress ticket.
#5 Vinod Kambli
Vinod Kambli added 24 runs to the scorecard, before being clean bowled by Mushtaq Ahmed. He occupied the crease for 26 balls and struck a solitary boundary. Kambli breaking down in tears in the following semi-final loss to Sri Lanka marked the beginning of a decline in his career.
He remains one of those strange cases of a prodigious talent gone wasted. He first came into prominence in the cricketing world after an unbroken 664-run stand with Sachin Tendulkar in school cricket – a record at the time. He was expected to do great things and started his Test career with a bang; becoming the fastest Indian to a 1000 Test runs (took him only 14 innings). But a decline in form means he lost his place in the side, but even when he played his last test innings he had an average over 54.
This World Cup also signaled the dip in his form, and he never really recovered from that. He tried his hand in the entertainment industry and politics, but never really took off. His stints as a cricket analyst also hasn’t managed to pick steam.
#6 Ajay Jadeja
Ajay Jadeja hit probably his most famous knock in this very match. He smashed an incredible 45 off just 25 balls to propel India to an imposing 287. What makes this knock even more special is his part in smashing Waqar Younis for 40 runs in his last two overs (48th and 50th). This knock made him the poster boy of Indian cricket overnight as he struck as many as two sixers and four boundaries in this enterprising knock.
This knock was pivotal to the final result, as he smashed one of the finest fast bowlers of the time to all corners of the Chinnaswamy in the death overs. Tony Greig’s words of, “India have got 22 runs in an over they would have been happy with 6” still echo to this day.
He was famous for his fielding and finishing abilities. But his cricketing career, like his captain’s, was also marred by match-fixing allegations. While his ban was reverted in 2003, he didn’t go on to play too many games for India post the incident.
He has acted in a few films and also participated in reality shows; he, in fact, acted in a movie with Vinod Kambli in 2009. He was also appointed the coach for Delhi, but chose to resign from the post. He is now more popular in his role as a cricket commentator and analyst for various channels.
#7 Nayan Mongia
The wicketkeeper could only add 3 runs to the scoreboard before running himself out. He stumped out his counterpart Rashid Latif off the bowling of V Raju during the second innings.
Mongia rose to prominence after the retirement of Kiran Moore and was handy with bat, collecting nearly 3000 runs in international cricket, across all formats, and holds the record for most catches by a wicket-keeper in a single innings (8-twice).
He is yet another member in this list whose career was cut short by match fixing allegations. He was eventually dropped from the team following dissent and these allegations didn’t do much to help an already stuttering career at the top level.
He was appointed as the head coach for Thailand (Men and U-19s) following his retirement in 2004 and is now a cricket expert on television.
#8 Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble returned with match figures of 3-48 from his 10 overs and was crucial in restricting the Pakistanis. He also struck a couple of meaty blows towards the end of the Indian innings to help push the India total further.
The Karnataka leggie picked up 619 wickets in Test cricket and 337 ODI scalps to his credit. He is one of the most successful bowlers of all-time, and used his height to great advantage. He also captained India in Test cricket towards the dusk of his cricketing career.
He was elected as the president of Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), post his retirement in 2008. Kumble was also appointed as the Chairman of ICC Cricket Committee in 2012. He has all played mentor roles for IPL sides like RCB and Mumbai Indians and currently serves in the capacity of Head Coach of the Indian cricket team.
#9 Javagal Srinath
Srinath was expensive and leaked 61 runs in his 9 overs for a solitary wicket. But it was the crucial wicket of Saeed Anwar who was looking like he would take the game away from the Men in Blue. Srinath also struck some lusty blows in the last over of the Indian innings to add some crucial runs to the total.
In his prime, he was considered one of the fastest bowlers going around and was said to have clocked 157 kmph in a match against Zimbabwe. He was India’s frontline pacer for most of his career, and is the only India pacer to reach 300 wicket milestone in ODIs.
Following his retirement, the pacer from Karnataka had successful commentary stints. He also contested with Kumble in the KSCA elections in 2010, and was elected secretary of KSCA. He is now an ICC match referee.
#10 Venkatesh Prasad
Prasad returned with the best figures of the night, with 3 for 45 in his quota of 10 overs. He arguably bowled the ball of the match, uprooting the stumps of Aamer Sohail who was in scintillating form. That face-off between the two most definitely changed the outcome of the game.
Sohail sledged Prasad after hitting him for a crisp boundary, and Prasad returned the favour by bowling him out the very next ball and giving him a mouthful send-off. The pumped up Prasad got the whole team to rally behind him and eventually led them to victory.
He gained many laurels for his deadly combination with Srinath. He finished his career with nearly 300 wickets across formats. He has essayed many coaching roles. He was the national coach for the U19 team in 2006, and was the bowling coach for India following the disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign. He is currently the bowling coach of RCB in the IPL.
#11 Venkatapathy Raju
The slow left arm bowler had match figures of 1 for 46 in his quota of 10 overs in the match. His lone scalp was that of Pakistani wicket-keeper Rashid Latif.
He didn’t have a very distinctive career for India. In fact, the spinner played his last ODI in 1996, a few months after this match. He has 93 Test scalps and 63 ODI in his brief career, and continued to play for Hyderabad till 2004.
Raju has served as a vice-president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association and was also a selector for Indian Cricket Team from the South Zone during 2007-2008. He has also coached Orissa and helped Associate sides like UAE and Thailand in his role as a development officer at the Asian Cricket Council.