India’s 2004 tour to Pakistan was a historic one as they were going there for a full series after a very long time. There were huge expectations from the fans back home, who were very eager to see their cricketing stars do well in Pakistan and come back with series wins under their belt.
The tour, which included five ODIs and three Tests, began with the one-day series. The first ODI played at Karachi on 13 March was a high-scoring nail-biter that saw almost 700 runs scored and India triumph by five runs. This set the tone for the rest of the series where each match saw crowds flock to the grounds in anticipation of more such close contests.
Pakistan came back strongly in the series and won the second and third games to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. The action now shifted to Lahore for the 4th ODI where India had to win to level the series at 2-2 against a red-hot Pakistan side.
Let’s take a look at some of the best moments from this game that took place on this date.
India’s bowlers strike early, leave Pakistan in strife
Pakistan batted first after their skipper Inzamam won the toss. Teenage sensation Irfan Pathan sent the dangerous and crowd-favourite Shahid Afridi back early in just the third over of the innings, having him caught by Yuvraj Singh with the score reading just 8 runs.
He struck again in the 9th over of the innings to dismiss the classy Yousuf Youhana for only 9, catching him plumb in front of the stumps with Pakistan’s score at 39. Inzamam then joined opener Yasir Hameed to try and resurrect the innings and put together a 50-run stand, but Indian left-arm spinner Murali Kartik dismissed Hameed for 45 in the 21st over to reduce Pakistan to 89 for 3.
Inzamam takes charge to propel Pakistan to a big score
After Hameed’s loss, captain Inzamam took it upon himself to make sure his team didn’t fall short of a big total on a batting-friendly surface. He was first joined by Younis Khan who contributed 36 runs in a stand of 105 runs, and then all-rounder Abdul Razzaq added a quickfire 70 with him to take the score to 264 in the 47th over. He scored a brisk 32 off only 24 balls in an innings that had 2 fours and a six.
But it was Inzamam who held the fort for Pakistan and scored a brilliant 123 off just 121 deliveries with 9 fours and 4 sixes before being bowled by Lakshmipathy Balaji. His effort, and contributions from Younis and Razzaq meant Pakistan posted a more than impressive 293 for 9 on the board at the end of 50 overs.
India start well but lose wickets
India opened with the dashing duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag and they started the way they always did – with a flurry of boundaries. The score reached 34 in just 4 overs before the Rawalpindi Express got Tendulkar to nick one to keeper Moin Khan in the fifth over for seven runs.
Laxman then joined Sehwag and the two effortlessly stroked their way forward to take the score to 69 in only the 9th over but Shoaib Akhtar produced another unplayable delivery to send Laxman’s stumps flying and rock the Indian innings.
Sehwag and skipper Saurav Ganguly too followed soon after, dismissed by Mohammad Sami and Abdul Razzaq, respectively, to leave team India in some trouble at 94 for 4. It was just the 13th over and the run rate was over seven, but the fact that they had lost four of their main batsmen meant that the repair work had to be done by the lower order.
Dravid and Yuvraj put the chase back on track
India’s biggest reason of hope now was Rahul Dravid’s monk-like presence at the crease. He was joined by the youthful energy of Yuvraj Singh and together, the duo went about repairing the innings. Yuvraj Singh’s pristine strokeplay meant that even though they were looking to limit any further damage, the run rate still never came down.
They added 68 for the 5th wicket off only 64 deliveries, of which Yuvraj Singh made a stroke-filled 36 off 35 balls with five fours, before becoming Mohammad Sami’s second victim of the night.
His dismissal brought Mohammad Kaif to the wicket with a well-set Dravid at the other end and the target still 132 runs away.
Kaif and Dravid shred the bowling to pieces, seal an Indian win
Kaif and Dravid. Two batsmen who had similar batting styles in ODI cricket and weren’t renowned for their big hitting, but on this day, they took on the Pakistan bowlers like they were having a net session. Boundaries, singles and twos flowed with alarming regularity for Pakistan’s liking, and before anyone could realise it, India had closed in on the target.
Inzamam tried all he could, changing his bowlers often and trying as many as six bowlers to try and dislodge the rampaging Indian pair, but nothing worked for him. In the end, Dravid remained unbeaten on 76 off 92 deliveries with 9 fours, and Kaif scored 71 off only 77 deliveries with 8 hits to the fence.
The daunting target of 294 was achieved by India in just 45 overs with 5 wickets in hand, and the one-day series was levelled at 2-2 with the decider to be played at Lahore again on March 24.
The ease with which the patient pair of Dravid and Kaif sealed the chase was pleasantly surprising for fans who were more used to seeing slow but steady innings from these two as opposed to ones wherein they dominate the bowling. Pakistan lost the match but their skipper Inzamam, for his superlative hundred earlier in the day, was named the Man of the Match.