India vs Pakistan at the World Cup - 1992: More, Miandad, and Mockery

Four World Cups had passed by without an India-Pakistan match. There had been the possibility of a clash in the 1987 final, when both teams qualified for the semifinals. However, Australia and England crashed the sub-continental party, and cricket fans in the two countries had to wait another five years for the first-ever clash of the sub-continental titans at the World Cup.

Trouble brewing ...Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad, right, opts for a spot of mimicry in front of Indian wicketkeeper Kiran More to show his disdain after an unsuccessful appeal by the gloveman. March 04, 1992. (Photo by Craig Golding/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Television was still a luxury in 1992, and the Indian middle class had not yet been introduced to cable television. Doordarshan restricted its coverage to Indian matches in the league stages. Tendulkar had not yet opened the batting for India in limited overs. But when the World Cup travelled Down Under for the first time, the excitement In the region was palpable.

India won the toss and skipper Mohammad Azharuddin decided to bat first. All-rounder Ajay Jadeja replaced Ravi Shastri, India’s current coach, in the playing XI after the latter’s insufferable batting display against Australia. The Pakistani duo of Wasim Akram and Aaqib Javed were all fired up against India’s opening pair. Srikkanth and Jadeja were watchful, uncharacteristically so, but the former didn’t last long.

Jadeja looked impressive opening the batting, but fell four runs short of a well-deserved half-century.

The middle order has actually been a pain for India’s ODI chances for quite some time. And so it was in this series as well. The inevitable collapse came when leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed removed Vinod Kambli and Sanjay Manjrekar off successive deliveries.

The Indo-Pak rivalry often brings out the best in both teams. And just when things were looking gloomy for India came a counterattack from two players- the past and the future of Indian cricket then. Yes, it was Kapil Dev, in the company of a baby-faced Sachin Tendulkar.

The bowlers, including Mushtaq Ahmed and Aaqib Javed, were all taken to the cleaners. Tendulkar finished with an unbeaten 54 off 62 deliveries while Dev got 35 from 26 deliveries. India posted 216 on the board off 49 overs.

Pakistan opened with Aamer Sohail and a less bulky Inzamam-ul-Haq. When they were quickly reduced to 2 for 17, Javed Miandad walked in. Sohail dominated the scoring and Miandad played a composed innings at the other end against India’s bowling unit. Pakistan were cruising at this stage with plenty of batting depth in Saleem Malik, Imran Khan, and Moin Khan.

Then came that moment.

Indian wicket-keeper Kiran More, agitated over the paucity of wickets, kept appealing for every nick and every padding. Such was the regularity of the appeals that he got under the skin of the usually unflappable Miandad. The batsman first complained to the umpires, but to no avail. Finally, the Pakistani great pushed the ball to cover, rushed back into his crease and jumped in the air a few times in an exaggerated mimicry of More’s way of appealing.

An ugly situation was defused immediately and effectively by the umpires. However, what happened thereafter couldn’t be controlled by them as Pakistan collapsed from a position of strength.

The collapse became a template for Pakistan in World Cups clashes for the next decade and, more Ironically, it was Javed Miandad who began the trend, the same man who hit a six off Chetan Sharma’s last delivery to ensure his team’s victory over India at Sharjah.

But overall, the tournament was a success for Pakistan, as their newly-unretired skipper Imran Khan led his team to an inspired maiden World Cup victory.

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