There are so many landmarks of Indian cricket that are well known to fans – maiden Test series wins in West Indies and England in 1971, World Cup win in 1983, World Series win in 1985, etc. But there is one landmark that hasn't got the necessary attention. But thanks to ICC's Twitter handle, people have been reminded of it.
The prestigious Asia Cup cricket tournament has been played for more than three-and-a-half decades. But it was on this very day, way back in 1984, that the Indian team, already the World Champions, became the first-ever Asian Champions also. They achieved this feat by defeating their arch-rivals Pakistan in the inaugural edition of the Asia Cup.
The venue for this event was Sharjah in United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was essentially a triangular tournament played in the round-robin format, without a final. Each team played each other side once and, in the end, the Sunil Gavaskar-led Indian team, emerged triumphant having won both their matches.
Course of the tournament
The first match of the first-ever Asia Cup was played on April 6. It featured Pakistan taking on Sri Lanka. The result of this match was surprising. Pakistan, despite being the overwhelming favourites, ended up losing this match to upstarts Sri Lanka. Zaheer Abbas's team batted first and could only muster 187/9 in their stipulated 46 overs. In reply, the Sri Lankans reached the target in 43.3 overs for the loss of five wickets.
Now, the Lankans had a golden opportunity to shock everyone by winning the inaugural Asia Cup. But they had to overcome the challenge of World Champions India in their second match to achieve this feat. This match took place on April 8. However, the Indians proved too tough for their opponents to even put up a good fight.
Batting first, Sri Lanka were bowled out for a paltry 96. Chetan Sharma and Madan Lal picked up three wickets while a young Manoj Prabhakar took two. India reached the target in just 21.4 overs without losing a single wicket. Surinder Khanna, the wicketkeeper-batsman in the team, scored an unbeaten half-century.
So, now, India had to beat Pakistan in the final match of the tournament to become Asia Cup winners, played on April 13, to clinch the title. And they did it with style. Batting first in the match after winning the toss, Indian managed a seemingly ordinary total of 188 for the loss of just four wickets in their innings. Again, it was opener Khanna who top-scored with 56. But this total was more than necessary.
In reply, the Pakistani team got bundled out for 134 in 39.4 overs. Ravi Shastri and Roger Binny picked up three wickets each. But it were four run-outs that blighted the Pakistani innings. In fact, two of their batsmen – Shahid Mahboob and Abdul Qadir – were run out on their very first deliveries, on consecutive balls, giving India a hat-trick of wickets and reducing them from 125/4 to 125/7.
The Pakistani resistance ended with the key wicket of their captain Zaheer Abbas when he was on 27. It was the eighth-wicket down and the team's score was merely on 128. In the end, the Indians won the match by 54 runs. Surinder Khanna was adjudged the man-of-the-series for being the leading run-scorer and doing a good job behind the stumps. India were now both the World and Asian Champions.