Kiran More vs Javed Miandad, Sydney 1992
Bully of Baroda and champion sledger Kiran More vs the King of Karachi, the ultimate street fighter, Javed Miandad. They went at each other in the first-ever World Cup match between the two Asian giants. More was constantly chatting behind the stumps and appealing excessively, irritating the Pakistan great who was struggling with his timing. After a failed run out effort from More, Miandad mocked the Indian wicketkeeper’s style of appealing by jumping up and down in comic fashion!
Venkatesh Prasad vs Aamir Sohail, Bengaluru, 1996
In terms of high-voltage clashes, few match this classic at the Chinnaswamy. After a spell of insane hitting from Ajay Jadeja (25-ball 45), India got to 287/8. But Pakistan got off to an explosive start with Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail wiping away 84 runs in the first 10 overs. Anwar departed for a 32-ball 48, but Sohail was going great guns. A slap past point off Venkatesh Prasad armed him with the audacity and foolishness to gesture at Prasad that the next ball would be hammered over that region too. Prasad promptly castled Sohail off the next ball, and in a unique Bengaluru-meets-Baluchistan style, gave him an angry send off!
India’s history at Asia Cup
Gautam Gambhir vs Shahid Afridi, Kanpur, 2007
Unrivalled passion and unparliamentary language. Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi both talk like statesmen now, but on that misty November morning at Green Park, both sent greetings to their respective mothers and sisters in colourful Punjabi. It was Karol Bagh vs Karachi as Gambhir hit a boundary to Afridi over mid-wicket and started swearing at him. Afridi, naturally, retorted. Next over, they both collided at the bowler’s end as Gambhir ran a single. Heads clashed and chests rubbed as the players bumped into each other. It was the earthy humour of umpire Ian Gould that calmed things down.
Shoaib Akhtar vs Harbhajan Singh, Dambulla, 2010
“The language used was Punjabi and there was a lot of maa and behen in it,” was current PCB chief and former Pakistan skipper Ramiz Raja’s tactful, matter-of-fact assessment on air while describing the antics of Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh, during a tense Asia Cup clash. With 36 needed off four overs, Akhtar bowled Harbhajan a series of bouncers which the Indian could not connect. In Akhtar’s follow through, some unprintable words were exchanged. Harbhajan had the last laugh, hitting Mohammad Amir for a six to seal the game. The look from Shoaib and the roar from Bhajji after the hit said it all.
How India and Pakistan have fared at the Asia Cup
Kamran Akmal vs Gautam Gambhir, Dambulla, 2010
The same game had already seen a blow-up between Gambhir and Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal. After surviving a stumping chance against Saeed Ajmal, Gambhir was ruled not-out by the umpire after a vociferous appeal for caught behind by Akmal. The umpires called for drinks in the hope that things would cool down, but the two protagonists took matters into their own hands. Gambhir accused Akmal of faking appeals. Akmal shot back. Helmets clashed. The two Billys officiating, Doctrove and Bowden, tried to intervene but could not separate the two. It was left to ‘Captain Cool’ MS Dhoni to pull Gambhir aside.