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5 memorable moments from Asia Cup history

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Asia_Cup_memorable_moments_CricketWith the 14th edition of the Asia Cup drawing to a close, cricket enthusiasts in the sub-continent have witnessed a number of exciting matches. The battle for Asian dominance was cracking and produced some riveting cricket.

From 1984, when the tournament first began, till 2016, the Asia Cup has been witness to some truly unforgettable and epic moments. This is a good time to take a stroll down memory lane and look back at some of the most memorable moments from the Asia Cup history.

India wins first edition of Asia Cup:

The first ever edition of the Asia Cup (known as the Rothmans Asia Cup) was played in 1984 between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah. The tournament was played in a round-robin format and had only three games. The maiden Asia Cup clash was between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, that the latter won by 5 wickets. In the second match of the tournament, India bundled out Sri Lanka for just 96 runs and registered a thumping 10-wicket win.

The decider was between arch-rivals India and Pakistan. On a slow Sharjah surface, India managed 188-4 in 46 overs courtesy a solid 56 by opener Surinder Khanna. India then bowled brilliantly and skittled Pakistan out for just 134 to win the first ever Asia Cup.

When Virat Kohli destroyed Pakistan:

A high-intensity India-Pakistan clash has brought out the best or the worst of many players from both sides. In the 2012 battle royale between the two Asian giants, it was Indian batsman Virat Kohli’s turn to emerge a hero. Before this match, Kohli had shown shades of his brilliance. But it was this game that allowed him to truly stamp his authority in world cricket and announce himself as a true batting superstar.

Chasing a mammoth target of 330, India lost opener Gautam Gambhir to only the second ball of the chase. But in came Virat Kohli and deftly began taking the game away from Pakistan. With fierce cuts, elegant flicks and solid drives, Kohli owned the Pakistani bowlers with great authority at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka. He went on to score 183 off 148 balls with 22 fours and a six, helping India chase down the target in just 47.5 overs. If his hurricane in Hobart against Sri Lanka earlier in the year was special, the Asia Cup masterclass truly put him in a different league.

Mendis’ mystery dismantles India in the 2008 Asia Cup final:

The final of the 2008 edition of the Asia Cup was played between India and Sri Lanka at Karachi. It became a momentous occasion as it announced the arrival of the star mystery spinner of that era – Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka. Batting first, Sri Lanka posted a formidable 273. The pitch was assisting the spinners but India had several batting stars in their lineup – Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni to name a few. India were strongly placed at 76-1 in 9.1 overs but then the magic of Ajantha Mendis took over the night.

No Indian batsman was prepared for his array of varieties – especially the ‘carrom ball’ and the finger-flicked leg-breaks. One by one, Mendis dismantled the entire Indian batting lineup with exceptional figures of 6/13 – the best in the Asia Cup history to date – in 8 overs. Sri Lanka won the match by 100 runs and clinched the 2008 Asia Cup title – their fourth at the time.

Bangladesh lose a heart-breaking thriller against Pakistan in the 2012 Asia Cup final:

The 2012 Asia Cup final was a huge moment for Bangladesh cricket. They had reached the finals of the event after beating India and Sri Lanka and were riding high on confidence. Bangladesh faced off against Pakistan in the final of the tournament at Dhaka on March 22, 2012. With the frenzied backing of the home crowd behind them, Bangladesh restricted Pakistan to 236-9 after opting to field first.

The wicket was slow and was assisting the bowlers, but Bangladesh began well and were 68-0 at one stage. However, Pakistan clawed their way back through some inspired bowling, picking up wickets at regular intervals. By the 48th over, Bangladesh were reeling at 217-8 with Mahmudullah still at the crease. They needed just nine runs from the last over but fell short by 3 runs, leading to heartbreak for the Tigers, whose players were seen crying inconsolably after the loss. Pakistan thus won the thrilling tie and were crowned the 2012 Asia Cup champions – their second title win.

Afghanistan registers historic, first-ever Asia Cup win:

Playing in the Asia Cup for the first time, Afghanistan showed their indomitable spirit and the fire to fight when they registered their first-ever win against a major side in the 2014 edition of the tournament. Having been asked to bat first, a brilliant sixth wicket stand between Asghar Stanikzai (90*) and Samiullah Shenwari (81) lifted Afghanistan from 90 for 5 in the 27th over to a solid 254 in their clash against Bangladesh at Fatullah.

The wicket had some spice, and the Afghanistan bowlers, led by captain Mohammad Nabi (3-44), showed great skills and kept a check on the opposition by bowling tight lines. Eventually, Bangladesh couldn’t handle the pressure and were dismissed for 222. Afghanistan thus scripted a historic 32-run win – their first of the Asia Cup. Since then, they have been on a upward path of constant progression.

 

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