Imran Khan, the Pakistani captain, builds up speed as he runs up from the Members End. He jumps, lands and delivers the ball to Richard Illingworth, number eleven on England’s batting line up. Richard swings, connects and lofts the ball, but unfortunately finds Rameez Raja strategically positioned at mid-off. This brings England’s innings to an end and earns Pakistan their one and only Cricket World Cup.
The 1992 world cup win was a great achievement for the aging Imran Khan shepherding a young team. Especially because in the beginning of the tournament Pakistan lost 4 of their 5 matches and just scraped through to the next round on seemingly sheer luck.
However, when one reminisces about that world cup final there are many things that come to mind; Imran Khan coming up the order to score an amazing 72, Javaid Miandad’s controlled 58, a century partnership between Javaid Miandad & Imran Khan, Inzi’s quick-fire 42 of 35 deliveries. However, despite all these terrific performances, I think it was Wasim Akram who stole the show.
Although Wasim made a brilliant 33 off 18 deliveries, his batting performance was nothing compared to what he managed to do with the ball.
On that day, Wasim Akram bowled 2 consecutive deliveries that have even made it to the “Unplayable Deliveries” list on espncricifo.com. In my opinion – and I am sure in most of the cricket-watching-world’s opinion – these two deliveries were what won us the world cup.
It was the 35th over and no one would have imagined what lay ahead. Imran had thrown the ball to Wasim to derail England’s innings, which up to that point seemed on track.
Wasim Akram conjured up a dream spell, producing two consecutive and absolutely exquisite deliveries that removed the set Alan Lamb and then “quick-marched” Lewis right back to the Pavilion for 0.
Lamb was dismissed with a magical delivery that swung in and then straightened while Lewis was bowled out with one that cut in sharply.
In the words of Wisden, “The spirit of the batsmen was broken by successive balls from Man of the Match Wasim Akram which dismissed Lamb and Lewis,”
The two amazing deliveries changed the course of the match, leaving England reeling. It was almost like child’s play after that. Pakistan took full advantage of Wasim’s jab, laying the knockout punch in the last over and winning by 22 runs.
Wasim deservedly won the Man of the Match award and more importantly etched his name in history.