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‘We were shocked’ – Waqar Younis on the Aamer Sohail-Venkatesh Prasad face-off

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Waqar Younis, speaking on The Greatest Rivalry podcast, recalled Pakistan’s 1996 World Cup quarter-final against India, and spoke of how Aamer Sohail’s dismissal turned the game in India’s favour.

Despite losing his opening partner Saeed Anwar in the 11th over, Sohail, captaining the then-defending world champions, was going strong. With Pakistan 109-1 in the 14th over, chasing 289 in Bangalore, Sohail smacked Venkatesh Prasad through cover point for a four and then, infamously, rubbed the bowler’s nose in it, pointing his bat towards the boundary.

But that turned out to be his final contribution to the game as Prasad uprooted his off-stump on the very next delivery, and coupled it up with a send-off of his own.

“To be very honest, we were shocked by the way he [Sohail] was behaving on the field,” Waqar said. “He was tonking the ball all over the park, why did he need to do that? I guess, the pressure got to him.

“He batted superbly, he was looking really good and I think he scored 55 off not many deliveries (55 off 46). And Saeed Anwar also. We lost our first wicket when Pakistan were 85-odd (84) in the first ten overs. We were cruising, and then once we lost Saeed Anwar and then Aamir Sohail straightaway, it just went wrong.”

The Pakistan middle-order failed to soak up the pressure as India registered their second World Cup win over Pakistan in as many encounters.

“Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed, they went into a shell,” he said. “And full credit should be given to Anil Kumble, when he came in and Prasad came in for his second spell, he sort of started nipping the ball a little bit. And Pakistan got so much pressure and once we lost Ijaz and Inzamam within an over or so, it became very very difficult.

“We made quite a few mistakes in that game. Javed Miandad was there, he could have gone in at number four but we kept him at number six, there was no use because he was approaching the end of his career. We kept him for very late, he should have batted at number four. Overall, a good game for cricket and India were well-deserved winners.”

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