If you ask a Pakistan cricket fan about one memory of Javed Miandad, he will surely quote the last-ball six that he hit against India to give Pakistan a miraculous victory.
On this day, 18th April, 1986, Pakistan and India were involved in the final of Austral-Asia Cup. The top three batters of India batted well to take them to a fighting total of 245 runs in their quota of 50 overs. In reply, unsurprisingly, Pakistan’s batting was struggling and Javed Miandad was there at the crease as a lone warrior.
The game came down to the last over, Javed Miandad was well set in the middle after scoring a century, he had Tauseef Ahmed, the last batsman at the other end.
Almost the whole Indian team gathered on the pitch to discuss who should bowl the last over. It was unanimously decided to give Chetan Sharma the ball because he was capable of producing extra pace and swing.
Tauseef was taking guard, Miandad walked up to him and asked him to just run, whether he touches the ball or not, just rush for a single. The eleventh batsman for Pakistan gave Miandad the strike after surviving the scare of a run-out when Mohammad Azharuddin missed a simple opportunity.
The contest come down to the last ball of the innings, Pakistan needed four runs to pull off a spectacular win. Miandad was batting on 110 from 113 deliveries, he was seeing the ball well enough, he was confident of his capability of hitting the ball powerfully.
He surveyed the field, counted the fielders again carefully and made a picture of the field in his mind. Miandad took some moments to calm down, got hold of his racing heart, looked up to the sky and said a prayer. It was all about hitting the ball hard.
Javed Miandad was a genius and an experienced campaigner by then, he knew what Chetan Sharma will try to bowl, “The Indians were together, excitedly talking strategy. The whole contest had been reduced to getting four from the last ball. I came up with my own strategy. I was certain Sharma was going to attempt a yorker and aim for my legs. So I decided to stand well forward of the batting crease. My plan was to lean back, make room for myself and give it everything I had,” excerpt taken from My Autobiography by Javed Miandad.
On the other hand, Chetan Sharma was on his bowling mark, he knew Miandad will throw everything at it. He observed that he is standing open chest, looking for the midwicket area. Sharma planned in his mind to bowl a fast paced short delivery to surprise him.
There was tension in the crowd, a jam-packed Sharjah stadium was praying for their teams and there was stunned silence.
Chetan Sharma started running for probably the most important delivery of his life, but nerves got the better of him and he had to stop in the midway. He then made his way back to his bowling mark, composed himself and made a firm decision of bowling a short delivery.
Sharma was scared, he did not want to lose the game, he wanted to steer his team over the line by avoiding a boundary off the dangerous Miandad.
He was running aiming for a pacy short delivery, but as he got to his last strides he changed his mind and decided to bowl a yorker, it was beginning of a disaster for him, Miandad wanted him to bowl that length and he served the treat to him.
Chandrakanth Pandit, who was keeping wickets for India in that game claimed in an interview that no one believed Miandad will hit the ball out of the boundary.
Chetan Sharma delivered a full-toss angling into the leg stump; Miandad was too good to miss out on such a juicy length. He swung the bat and connected well enough to clear the boundary comfortably.
Miandad and Tauseef Ahmed were off and running towards the dressing room with their hands in the air in celebration and screaming with joy.
On the other hand, Indian cricketers were shattered, their chins were down, their blood was soaked, they didn’t know what to do. Pandit said, “And then we all felt a sort of blackout. It was like a funeral in the dressing room afterwards. Chetan was on the floor. None of us knew what to do for nearly an hour. Nobody looked at anyone; we all just sat with our chins down, thinking about the possibilities. We could hear the celebrations outside but it was extremely depressing inside.”
It is still one of the most memorable victory for Pakistan that inspired a whole generation in the country to play cricket. It was Miandad special. This will remain as one of the best finishes till eternity.