On this day in 2004: India seal a thrilling 5-run win against Pakistan in an ODI


On this day in 2004, two of the fiercest rivals in cricket – India and Pakistan played out one of the most thrilling ODIs in Karachi. It was a special series as it marked the resumption of bilateral cricketing ties between the two nations after a long gap of 15 years. India had toured Pakistan for five ODIs and three Tests.

The much-anticipated series could not have started on a better note as the arch-rivals played out an all-time classic at Karachi’s National Stadium. Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and decided to field first. But it did not take him long to regret the decision as his new-ball duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammed Sami were taken to the cleaners by India openers Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

Sachin-Sehwag lay the foundation

The legendary batsmen were playing the big shots at will as they gave the visitors a solid start. By the time Akhtar dismissed Tendulkar in the ninth over, India had raced away to 69. Tendulkar’s dismissal did not affect Sehwag as he kept scoring at a quick pace. He was eventually out for 79 off just 57 balls.

When Sehwag was dismissed, the scoreboard read 142 for 2 in the 15th over. India had the required start and they made the most of it by posting a mammoth total of 349/7 in the allotted 50 overs. After Sehwag and Tendulkar’s early display, captain Sourav Ganguly (45), Rahul Dravid (99) and Mohammad Kaif (46) played crucial knocks to take India to the big total.

Pakistan’s poor start

Chasing an improbable target of 350, Pakistan were off to a poor start as they lost both of their openers – Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat – for just 34 runs. But before India could make more inroads in the game, Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf steadied the ship for the hosts. The duo shared 135 runs for the third wicket to revive Pakistan’s hopes.

Sehwag had broken the stand by dismissing Yousuf for 73. Inzamam, on the other hand, went on to complete a fine century and shared another century-plus stand (109 runs) with Younis Khan. At one stage, it looked like Inzamam would take the game away from India before Murali Kartik dismissed him for 122 to turn the game on its head.

Nehra keeps his calm

Younis (46) and Abdul Razzaq (27 off 16) took Pakistan close to the target but could not complete the job. The equation was finally down to 9 runs off the final over. Ashish Nehra had to defend the runs against Moin Khan and Naved-ul-Hasan. The left-arm pacer gave away only three singles on the first five deliveries and Moin had to hit a six off the last ball to seal the game for his team. Pakistan’s the-then coach Javed Miandad was seen in the team balcony, trying to motivate Moin to finish the game off in style like he had done in 1986 when he had hit a last ball six off Chetan Sharma.

Nehra bowled a full toss but Moin could only hit the ball straight into the hands of the extra-cover fielder as Pakistan finished on 344/8 to lose the game by 5 runs.