India vs Pakistan matches in the 1990s and 2000s were as exhilarating as the ones now. Although since the last few years, India had raced miles ahead of Pakistan in terms of quality cricket, the 1992 World Cup winners have once again bridged the gap with their recent performances and the inclusion of some match-winners.
The star-studded Pakistan line-up of Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah have added the old thrill to IND-PAK matches, as a result of which Pakistan have managed to defeat India in two of their last three international matches – the T20 World Cup last year and in the recently-concluded Asia Cup.
Many members of the current Pakistan team grew up watching IND-PAK classics – the 1996 World Cup match in Bengaluru, the endless Sharjah epics, the 2003 World Cup tie in Centurion, the Saeed Anwar marathon in 1997 – the list is endless. But for one of the current stars of the Pakistan team, IND-PAK matches would be frightful. Mohammad Rizwan, the leading run-scorer of the Asia Cup 2022, revealed how he would be afraid of watching India-Pakistan matches in his formative years due to a certain Sachin Tendulkar.
“I used to be extremely scared when Pakistan played India; I used to think that I like Sachin Tendulkar but how do I cheer for him when he’s making runs against Pakistan? ” Rizwan had told Cricbuzz earlier this year.
Rizwan led the batting charts in the Asia Cup, which saw the Pakistan wicketkeeper batter score 281 runs, overtaking former India captain Virat Kohli by five runs. Rizwan notched up three half-centuries – 78 not out against Hong Kong, 71 vs India and 55 in the final against Sri Lanka – to go with a 43 against India in Pakistan’s Asia Cup opener.
However, Rizwan was criticised for his slow batting by several former cricketers, especially in the final where he scored at a strike-rate of 112 as Sri Lanka lifted the Asia Cup by winning the summit clash by 23 runs.
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