Today we are going to discuss about the most memorable matches played at Sharjah Stadium. Between 1984 and 2003 the Sharjah ground was the venue for 206 One Day Internationals held as part of commercially financed one day tournaments involving three or four international teams. Sharjah was a famous venue attracting good crowds mostly from the South Asian population of the United Arab Emirates. Let’s move on to those memorable matches.
Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka (15 October 1999):
This nail-biting match was tied between them. Pakistan set target of 196 runs in front of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was chasing marvelously. Everyone thought that they would win easily. Sri Lanka were in driver’s seat after 40 over. They were at 173 for loss of 2 wickets them. Russell Arnold was guiding their chase. In the next 45 minutes was indeed a stuff of the legends and goes on to show what the Pakistanis can do when the ball starts to reverse. In the 41st over when Akram decided to bring himself on and got rid-off Jayasuriya in the very next over. Sri Lankan middle order broke down. Akram threw the ball to Razzaq and then followed a spell of beautiful reverse swing bowling. Within a space of 53 balls Sri Lanka had lost 8-23 with Razzaq being the wrecker in chief. Abdul Razzaq’s bowling figures for his last 9 ball spell read as 1.3-1-0-4 and out of his last four batsmen three of them were clean bowled.
India vs. Australia (24 April 1998):
India beat Australia in the Coca Cola cup final match. India scored 275 for the loss of 4 wickets. Those who have seen that match, especially the Sachin fans are the luckiest ones. Sachin Tendulkar played a breathtaking innings in that match. Steve Waugh and Darren Lehmann made a big partnership of 103 runs and managed to put up a more than competitive target of 273 for the Indians to chase. The Cricket God Sachin on his birthday scored magnificent 134 off 131 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes. Azharuddin gave him full support in the crease. At the last moment Sachin got out. 25 runs needed to win the match that time. Jadeja and Kanitkar knocked off in due time handing India their title win in Sharjah.
Afghanistan vs. Canada (16 Feb. 2010):
This match is overlooked by many. This match was a part of the Afghanistan-Canada series specially arranged to mark the 200 One Day Internationals for Sharjah. Canada won the toss and elected to bowl first. They had to pay the cost for this bad decision as Noor Ali Zadran and Mohammed Shahzad formed a 205 runs partnership off 210 balls for the second wicket. Aizan Cheema and Sunil Dhaniram played exceptionally well for Canada in that match, but a 46th over maiden by Samiullah Shenwari tilted the match in Afghanistan’s side. At the end Canada required a boundary from the last ball. Khurram Chohan the man on strike managed to get a two and was run out while attempting the third giving Afghanistan a well cherished victory.
Pakistan vs. India (18 April 1986):
Pakistan defeated India in Australasia Cup Final. Pakistan scored 248 for the loss of 9 wicket. India scored 245 for the loss of 7 wickets. Pakistan looking for their first ever major trophy in Sharjah started off cautiously and soon managed to find themselves falling behind the required run rate and with wickets falling in regular intervals India were in complete control of the match even though a certain Javed Miandad was stranded at one side chipping off the bulk off the total. At the end of the match they were needed only 4 runs from the last ball. That one stroke changed Pakistan and Chetan Sharma’s fortunes forever.
Pakistan vs. India (22 March, 1985):
Before the Australasia Cup Final they met in the previous year at Rothmans Cup. The Indian team were on a high when they squared up against Pakistan for the first match of the Rothmans Four Nation Cup. Azharuddin and Kapil Dev shepherded India to some sense of respectability with a score of 125 as Imran Khan ended with his best ever bowling figures of 10-2-14-6. Shastri and Sivaramakrishnan the spinning duo slowed down Pakistan’s journey in the innings. Their batting collapsed at the crucial point of the match and handed India a remarkable 38 run win.