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Asia Cup 2022

Yousuf’s magic, Kohli’s masterclass – Seven great innings from India-Pakistan Asia Cup clashes

Virat Kohli
Abhishek Mukherjee by Abhishek Mukherjee
@ovshake42 7 minute read

India and Pakistan have met 14 times at the Asia Cup so far. Here are seven of the best innings from these matches.

Mohinder Amarnath, 74*, Dhaka 1988

A year after a 5-1 win against India on Indian soil, Pakistan were favourites going into the match, but Arshad Ayub’s 5-21 – then the best ODI figures by an Indian – bowled them out for 142 after they had been 91-1.

However, India still had to get the runs. Navjot Sidhu fell early before Kris Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath added 63 in a role reversal of sorts. India were 76 by the time Srikkanth, reputed for his belligerent style, got out.


Abdul Qadir and Wasim Akram then reduced India to 116-6. A sense of déjà vu lurked around Indian fans – they knew the gap between the cup and the lip only too well – but Amarnath got India home, with Chandrakant Pandit for company.

Yousuf Youhana, 100*, Dhaka 2000

It was still some time before he would change his name to Mohammad Yousuf, but Youhana was already hailed in some circles as Javed Miandad’s successor. In this innings, he demonstrated why. The deft touches, the subtle placements, the calm annihilation of an attack that looked more and more jaded as the afternoon went on – everything justified that comparison.

Pakistan were 103-4 at one point. Yousuf batted through the innings, taking a back seat as first Moin Khan, then Abdul Razzaq, played their shots before eventually accelerating. He was 94 when T Kumaran bowled the last ball: the six over long-on was almost inevitable.

Shoaib Malik, 143, Premadasa 2004

It was not an easy pitch to bat on. Malik was reprieved at least twice. But it was an outrageous innings from the moment he came out to bat after the first over. When the fast bowlers bowled outside off, he swept them. When they bowled short, he played flat-batted strokes – and timed and placed almost each of them.

Malik made a mockery of the Indian field placements with his strokes to construct what remained his highest ODI score. He took Pakistan to 300-7, a score beyond India’s scope.

Suresh Raina, 84, Karachi 2008

Virender Sehwag – no less – got a 95-ball 119 (strike rate 125) in that innings, at a rate quicker than Raina’s 69-ball 84 (122). Yet, the Player of the Match award went to Raina.

India, chasing 300, were 12-1 in the third over when Raina joined Sehwag. By the sixth over, Raina had raced to 21, leaving Sehwag behind on two. Sehwag matched Raina stroke for stroke, but Raina beat him to fifty. By the 23rd over, Pakistan had resorted to bowling Fawad Alam and Salman Butt.

Younis Khan, 123*, Karachi 2008

Pakistan got their revenge a week later in a near-identical match. This time, Pakistan needed 309, and Younis began cautiously, picking up a solitary boundary from the first 29 balls he faced and another in the next 12. Then he opened up, cutting, sweeping, and reverse-sweeping to hit the spinners out of the attack, the most audacious stroke being a slog-swept six off Piyush Chawla.

He got his hundred – in 99 balls – soon after the fast bowlers returned, celebrated with on-field pus-hups, and ensured there were no hiccups.

Virat Kohli, 183, Mirpur 2012

There have been 23 instances of a team chasing 330 or more to win an ODI, but at this point, the count stood at six, all of them outside Asia. Thus, Pakistan were firm favourites when they posted 329-6.

Before the 2012 Asia Cup, Kohli’s last innings had been his famous unbeaten 86-ball 133 in Hobart. He had started the tournament with 108 and 66; and his subsequent innings would be a 106 in Hambantota.

Here, he joined Sachin Tendulkar – playing in what would be his last ODI – to face the third ball of the innings. He slowed down after an initial flourish as Tendulkar accelerated, not hitting a single boundary between the fourth and 14th overs, ensuring he was there to face Saeed Ajmal.

The first fifty took him 52 balls. The second, another 45. The third, a mere 34. After lofting Umar Gul for what felt like an easy six over long-off, Kohli flicked a yorker from Wahab Riaz past midwicket for four. The Pakistan attack fell apart.

By the time Kohli fell, the match had been decided. He kept up with the ‘tradition’ of being appointed national captain after scoring 183 in an ODI: Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni are the others to have done this.

Virat Kohli, 49, Mirpur 2016

India needed only 84 to win, but a scintillating spell from Mohammad Amir left them reeling at 9-3. Amir kept moving the ball away viciously, and Kohli, despite mistiming a couple of balls early on, stayed put. Then, in Amir’s fourth over, Kohli flicked one in the air before playing a delectable cover drive to pick up consecutive fours.

The charm was lifted off India. Kohli saw off Amir’s spell before taking on the other fast bowlers – Wahab, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami, all of whom moved the ball around at great pace. He eventually fell for 49 but the job was done.

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