Those two balls
Every Pakistani cricket lover cherishes those few minutes when he saw Pakistan’s best fast bowler removing two batsmen off two successive deliveries, which eventually proved to be the World Cup winning balls. Yes, you guessed it right.
I am talking about the dismissals of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis by Wasim Akram. Suddenly the complexion of the game was changed. From 141 for 4, England were brought down to 141 for 6, eliminating all possibilities for the English.
England were slowly but gradually coming back into the game. They had not lost a wicket since Mushtaq Ahmad had removed their skipper Graham Gooch on 69. Lamb and Neil Fairbrother were very well set and going along nicely. Their partnership had become disturbing for the Pakistanis–those eleven in the ground, those sitting in the dressing room, those witnessing the match in the stadium, and millions watching on TV.
Imran Khan decided to use the best weapon in his arsenal. He asked Wasim Akram to try to get a wicket. And his protege did not disappoint him. Even if he had got one wicket, he would have done his job satisfactorily. But he exceeded expectations and the nation erupted in joy–not once but twice.
The first one was an unplayable delivery as the TV commentator later said. He came round the wicket to the right-handed Lamb who expected it to be an inswinger. Usually left arm fast bowlers bowl into right handed batsmen when bowling round the wicket. But this one was to bring the Trophy home. It could not be an ordinary delivery. It was an extraordinary one. It pitched somewhere about the line of middle stump moved out to a great extent and Lamb was stupified, his off stump was taken.
Then came Lewis, a dangerous all-rounder. He had the potential to take England home together with Fairbrother. But that was not to be. The first ball he faced–and the last one also–was a huge inswinger. It pitched way outside the off stump, swung in more than a yard and once again removed the bales. And the Pakistanis were berserk with joy–in all parts of the world.
England was never in the game again. It was all over. The rest that was mere formality. It was then that Pakistan had become the champions of World Cricket– for the next four years.
Those have been my favourite cricket moments ever since. I can never forget those two balls. In fact, no cricket lover who watched that game can forget those two balls even if he were an Indian. The Pakistanis have never been that happy again in the last 20 years. I was just ten years old then, with very little understanding of the game. But in the next 20 years I have not seen any two balls more gratifying than those two.