Specials – Revisiting the 2000 Asia Cup

  It has been two decades since the seventh edition of the Asia Cup was contested in Bangladesh. The quadrangular ran from May 28 to June 7, with all seven matches played under lights at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka. The defending champions were Sri Lanka, who had emerged victorious on their own soil in the previous edition in 1997. Here is a look back in time at the tournament.  

Match 1 – Bangladesh v Sri Lanka

  The hosts, who would attain full membership of the ICC within the next month, took on the holders in the opening game. Heavy rain caused a delay of 24 hours, and when play finally got underway on the next day, Sri Lanka dictated terms after Sanath Jayasuriya elected to field.  The Tigers slipped to 27/3 in the 12th over, before opener Javed Omar and Akram Khan (41) put on 75 for the fourth wicket.

The run rate never really got going though, and the final total was a modest 175/6. Omar remained unbeaten on 85, consuming 146 balls. Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva replied with 66 for the first wicket, with the latter going on to hit 96* in 93 balls, with 13 fours and three sixes. Marvan Atapattu (41*) joined Aravinda for an unbroken stand of 112 that sealed Sri Lanka’s win by nine wickets in the 31st over. 

Match 2 – Bangladesh v India

  Bangladesh produced a better effort with the bat in their second game, but their bowling was found to be inadequate against the blade of Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. Thiru Kumaran (3/54) took two early wickets to reduce the score to 30/2, before Habibul Bashar (57) and captain Aminul Islam (47) shared in a third-wicket stand worth 94. When Aminul was dismissed, Bangladesh were 131/4 in 35th over. 

  Akram Khan injected impetus with a 52-ball 64, and the last ten overs fetched 97 to take the total to 249/6. Ganguly was in his element, adding 85 in 11 overs with Sachin Tendulkar for the first wicket, 67 with debutant Hemang Badani for the second, and 100* with Mohammad Azharuddin for the third en route to 135* in 124 balls, with six fours and seven sixes. India duly cruised to an eight-wicket win in the 41st over.

Yousuf_ODI

       Yousuf Youhana, as Mohammad Yousuf was then known, accumulated 295 runs at 147.50 for Pakistan at the 2000 Asia Cup in Bangladesh (source – espncricinfo)

Match 3 – India v Sri Lanka

  Not for the first time, Jayasuriya proved to be India’s nemesis, as he hit 11 fours on his way to 105 in 116 balls. The southpaw set the tone by adding 58 with Aravinda for the first wicket, before sharing in a second-wicket alliance of 104 with Atapattu (42). India fought back to leave the score at 209/6, but a seventh-wicket stand of 58 between Romesh Kaluwitharana and Chaminda Vaas bolstered the total to 276/8.

  Tendulkar (93 in 95 balls) responded with intent, but lacked support. His third-wicket stand of 67 with Rahul Dravid took India to a steady 123/2 in the 26th over, but Sri Lanka kept pinching regular wickets thereafter. Seamer Kaushalya Weeraratne (3/46), who had made his debut against Bangladesh, took three quick wickets, including that of Tendulkar, to hasten India’s slide towards 205 in 45 overs.

Match 4 – Bangladesh v Pakistan

  Pakistan had arrived from the Caribbean just the day before, but made their intentions clear with a record display. In the previous meeting between the two teams at the 1999 World Cup, Bangladesh had notched a stunning 62-run win. However, any chance of an encore was put paid to, as Pakistan built a total of 320/3 – the stage was set by an opening stand of 83 between Saeed Anwar and Imran Nazir.

  Nazir (80) further added 75 for the second wicket with Yousuf Youhana (as Mohammad Yousuf was then known), who also scored 80. Youhana put on 78 for the third wicket with Inzamam-ul-Haq (75*), who in turn joined forces with Shahid Afridi (45*) for a stand of 84*. In reply, Bangladesh were routed for 87 in 34.2 overs, with Abdul Razzaq taking 3/5. The margin of 233 runs was then the biggest in ODIs. 

Match 5 – India v Pakistan

  Four-time winners India had to win this clash if they were to stay alive for a spot in the  final. Anwar and Nazir began with a rapid opening stand of 74, before both batsmen fell in the same over to the leg-spin of Anil Kumble (3/43). Soon after, Ajit Agarkar removed Inzamam, while Kumble added the scalp of Afridi, as Pakistan wobbled to 103/4. Wicketkeeper-captain Moin Khan joined Youhana at this stage.

  The pair grew their fifth-wicket stand to 92, until Moin was out for 46. Youhana kept going, and ended up with 100* in 112 balls, with nine fours and a six off the last ball of the innings. His knock steered Pakistan to 295/7, and to add to India’s woes, a slow over rate led to them losing two overs. Razzaq (4/29) helped reduce India to 75/4, and despite Ajay Jadeja’s 93, the innings wound up at 251 in the final over. 

Match 6 – Pakistan v Sri Lanka

  With both teams having qualified for the final to be held two days later, this last league game was not of much consequence. Though they rested Anwar, Razzaq and Wasim Akram, Pakistan secured a seven-wicket win to top the table. Sri Lanka suffered five run-outs in their total of 192, even as Azhar Mahmood returned a tidy 3/24. Atapattu (62) and Upul Chandana added 62 after coming together at 107/5. 

  Left-arm pacer Sajeewa de Silva dismissed Nazir with the score at 24 in the fourth over, before the in-form Youhana joined Mohammad Wasim (44) for a second-wicket partnership of 107. Youhana also added 57 for the third wicket with Inzamam, and proceeded to score an unbeaten 90 from 130 balls. Pakistan’s win arrived with only ten balls remaining, but they were in control throughout.

Match 7 (Final) – Pakistan v Sri Lanka

  Coming into the summit clash, Pakistan had never won the Asia Cup before – their only other appearance in the final was against Sri Lanka in the 1986 edition, which had resulted in a five-wicket defeat. On the other hand, the Lions had won the title twice, in 1986 and 1997. Anwar guided Pakistan with a steady 82 in 115 balls after Moin opted to bat, and shared in a 68-run stand with Youhana for the third wicket.

  By the time Anwar got out, Sri Lanka had managed to keep things pretty tight – the score read 173/4 in the 40th over. At that point, Moin joined Inzamam in the middle, and the duo changed the complexion of the game. ‘Inzy’ made 72* from 88 balls, while Moin clobbered 56* from just 31 balls, as they blitzed to an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 104 in the last ten overs to enable Pakistan to reach 277/4.

  Sri Lanka stumbled to 46/3 in reply, before Atapattu and Aravinda added 71 for the fourth wicket. Atapattu put on another 79 with Russel Arnold (41) for the fifth wicket, and at 196/4 in the 40th over, the game was on. However, the remaining wickets fell for only 42, Atapattu being seventh out for 100 off 124 balls. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 238 in 45.2 overs, thus handing Pakistan their maiden title.

  Wasim Akram, Mohammed Akram and Arshad Khan picked up two wickets each in what was a combined bowling effort from the men in green. Moin was declared Man of the Match for his game-changing innings, while Youhana was deservedly named Man of the Tournament for topping the batting charts with a tally of 295 runs at 147.50. On the bowling front, Razzaq led the way with eight wickets at 9.25 apiece.

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