Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

On this day: April 18, 1986 - Javed Miandad hits Chetan Sharma for six off last ball to win Australasia Cup for Pakistan in Sharjah

Pakistan needed four off the last ball to win the biggest and most ambitious competition yet staged in the UAE

Javed Miandad of Pakistan during a match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1987. Getty Images
Javed Miandad of Pakistan during a match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 1987. Getty Images

The shot heard around the world? Maybe not, but certainly a big chunk of South Asia at least. And sometimes it feels like it is still echoing around Sharjah Cricket Stadium, too, 34 years later.

Pakistan needed four off the last ball to win the biggest and most ambitious competition yet staged in the UAE. They had their last-wicket pair at the crease.

In opposition, their fiercest rivals, India. On strike, Javed Miandad. The player Greg Chappell, the Australian great, once described thus: “If you want someone to bat for your life, Javed Miandad is the man to do it.”

It might not have been as serious as that, but at least one of the central protagonists has had most of his sporting life defined by that moment.

“Whoever meets me for the first time, the first question that comes is about the last-ball six that Javed Miandad hit me for,” Chetan Sharma, the unlucky bowler, later said. “It keeps happening. I have even started enjoying it now.”

Of the world-record tally of 240 one-day internationals to have been staged in Sharjah, this one stands above the rest.

Having swung Sharma’s final delivery away into the crowd to seal the title, Miandad has subsequently suggested it might have been one of the seminal moments in one-day international cricket, let along Sharjah cricket.

“My last-ball six in the final of the Australasia Cup in Sharjah in 1986 to beat India changed the game in a way,” Miandad has said.

“Teams, officials, players and, most importantly fans, all started to believe in the format and its potential.”

Cricket had been coming to Sharjah for some while by this point, but it had been just two years since the first official one-day international had been played at the stadium.

Such was the craze for the sport in the city, though, the stadium had been extended to seat 20,000 people – 5,000 more than its present capacity.

Every seat was taken – and then some – for the final of a tournament that had also included Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. It was packed to the rafters.

The scorecard states that India made 245-7, and Pakistan chased them thanks to an unbeaten century for Miandad.

But they are mere details. In truth, it was all about the final blow.

“It was one of those miracle moments, savoured long after stumps are drawn,” journalist and author Philip Moore wrote in his book Howzat! 21 Years of Sharjah Cricket. “Who else got runs or wickets hardly seems relevant.”

Even the vanquished knew they would not forget it.

“It’s certainly one of the best games I’ve played in, anywhere in the world,” said India all-rounder turned broadcaster Ravi Shastri, who also later professed to “hate Miandad’s guts”.

“I’ll never forget the excitement out there. But it was a special era back then. That match sums up the spirit of so many thrilling contests in the 1980s.”

Updated: April 18, 2020 10:57 AM

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