On this day in 1995: Azharuddin’s stunning 90 helps India win 4th successive Asia Cup

Scoring an unbeaten 90*(89), Mohammad Azharuddin was at his best when he, alongside Navjot Singh Sidhu, led Team India to win the fourth Asia Cup in succession in 1995. Azharuddin established an unbeaten third-wicket partnership of 175 runs with Sidhu to help India clinch the title against Sri Lanka as they won by eight wickets, with seven overs to spare.

Winning the toss, India had elected to chase. Sri Lankan openers Roshan Mahanama and Sanath Jayasuriya started off well, but it did not take long enough for Anil Kumble to break the partnership as he sent Mahanama packing. Sri Lanka had a major setback when their power-hitter Jayasuriya was dismissed in the very next over as Venkatesh Prasad cleaned him up for 22(28).

Prasad and Kumble added two wickets each to their name as they restricted Sri Lanka to 230/7 in 50 overs. Asanka Gurusinha was the top scorer on the Sri Lankan side with his 85(122) as all other players were dismissed for a score below 25 runs. In fact, Sri Lanka’s total would not have crossed 300 if India had not conceded 37 extras.

When Indian openers walked into the field for the chase, Manoj Prabhakar was dismissed early in the game, but what followed next was unthinkable as a partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Sidhu helped India pick up the pace, but after the former’s dismissal, it was captain Azharuddin who fired up the game with his batting.

Sidhu and Azharuddin scored an unbeaten 84*(106) and 90*(89) respectively, and stood firm in the game to finish off with the chase early. At the loss of just two wickets, India clinched the final of the Asia Cup and became the four-time champions of the prestigious tournament. Azharuddin was adjudged the Player of the Match title for the captain’s knock, and Sidhu was named the Player of the Series for scoring a total of 197 runs in the tournament.

It was a memorable outing for the captain as he lifted the Asia Cup with a cheque of USD 30,000, the Player of the Match award, and a steel sword in a gold-plated case, courtesy to his fans and admirers.