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Pakistan’s past ODI battles at The Oval


Pakistan_England_ODI_The_Oval_CricketThe final lap of Pakistan's World Cup preparations is underway, with the first of five ODIs against top-ranked England in progress at The Oval. Unlike their impressive Test history at The Oval (five wins and three defeats in ten matches), Pakistan have an ordinary ODI record at the London venue, winning thrice and losing seven times. As the men in green aim to begin the series on a bright note, here is a look back at every ODI they have played at The Oval.

Lost to England by 94 runs, Second ODI, 1978

Looking to square the two-match series after being beaten by 132 runs at Old Trafford, where they were rolled over for just 85, Pakistan ran into David Gower, aged 21 and playing only his second ODI. The left-handed Gower struck a sublime 114* in 122 balls, and his third-wicket stand of 105 with Graham Roope carried England towards their eventual total of 248/6 from the allotted 55 overs. Pakistan’s reply was insipid, as they slid to 39/3 before being limited to 154/8.

Lost to West Indies by 43 runs, World Cup Semifinal, 1979

Pakistan faced the might of the defending champions in the second semifinal of the 1979 World Cup. The West Indies rode on an opening stand of 132 between Gordon Greenidge (73) and Desmond Haynes (65) to post a formidable 293/6 in 60 overs, but Pakistan were not deterred, as Majid Khan (81) and Zaheer Abbas (93) put on 166 for the second wicket. However, the latter’s dismissal induced a collapse, and the score nosedived from 176/1 to 250 all out in the 57th over.

Lost to West Indies by eight wickets, World Cup Semifinal, 1983

Four years later, Pakistan again found themselves taking on the West Indies in a World Cup semifinal. Opener Mohsin Khan (70) dropped anchor, but the Pakistani innings never really got going, and terminated at 184/8 after 60 overs – only two fours were hit in the innings. Vivian Richards (80*) and Larry Gomes (50*) combined for a third-wicket stand of 132* that gave the West Indies victory in the 49th over and a spot in the World Cup final for a third successive time.

Lost to England by seven wickets, First ODI, 1987

The first over saw Ramiz Raja get run out without facing a ball, but a third-wicket stand of 110 between Mudassar Nazar and Javed Miandad, who came together at 18/2, revived the innings. Miandad went on to score 113, guiding the total to 232/6 after 55 overs. Opener Chris Broad responded with a patient 99, and his stands of 76 with Bill Athey for the first wicket and 116 with Allan Lamb (61*) for the second wicket handed England a convincing win in the 54th over.

Lost to England by 39 runs, Second ODI, 1992

Trailing the five-match series 1-0, the visitors were dented by the absence of their pace aces Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis due to injuries. Alec Stewart (103) cashed in by scoring his maiden ODI hundred, before Neil Fairbrother (63) and Graeme Hick (71*) upped the ante to swell the total to 302/5 from 55 overs. Though openers Aamer Sohail and Ramiz (86) added 81, it proved too tall a mountain to climb for Pakistan, and the innings ended at 263 in the 51st over.

Beat Zimbabwe by 148 runs, World Cup Super-Six Stage, 1999

Smarting from defeats to South Africa and India in their last two games, Pakistan finished the Super Six round of the 1999 World Cup with their first ODI win at The Oval. Saeed Anwar (103) set the tone, and his opening partnership of 95 with Wajahatullah Wasti paved the way for a total of 271/9. Zimbabwe could muster only 123 in reply, with off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq taking a hat-trick – his second in ODIs and the second in World Cup history – to end the innings.

Lost to England by seven wickets, Second ODI, 2003

England drew level in the three-match NatWest Challenge with a lightning-quick chase. Pakistan crashed to 80/6 after electing to bat, and it was only due to Yousuf Youhana (75*) that they reached 185. By scalping the last three wickets, James Anderson (4/27) took the first ODI hat-trick by an Englishman. Marcus Trescothick sped to a 55-ball 86 in an opening stand of 109 with Vikram Solanki, and this start meant that the hosts needed only 22 overs to overhaul their target.

Beat England by 23 runs, Third ODI, 2010

A career-best haul from paceman Umar Gul enabled Pakistan to stay alive in the five-match series. Pakistan’s total of 241 revolved around a knock of 64 from Fawad Alam, who came in to bat at 31/3. England were 103/5 at one stage (captain Andrew Strauss scoring 57), before Eoin Morgan (61) and Luke Wright (48*) put on 98 for the sixth wicket. However, Gul (6/42), who had earlier struck twice, cut through the lower half, condemning England to 218 in the 46th over.

Lost to West Indies by two wickets, Champions Trophy Group Stage, 2013

This was the opening fixture for both teams at the 2013 Champions Trophy. Kemar Roach’s triple strike left Pakistan reeling at 15/3, before captain Misbah-ul-Haq joined Nasir Jamshed (50) for a fourth-wicket stand of 90. Misbah finished with a career-best 96* out of a total of 170. The West Indian reply was hampered by the lack of a substantial partnership, and at 94/5, it was anybody’s game. Ultimately, the Windies held their nerve to cross the line with 56 balls to spare.

Beat India by 180 runs, Champions Trophy Final, 2017

Few gave Pakistan a chance of making it past the group stage of the 2017 Champions Trophy after a 124-run hiding at the hands of India in their first match. However, the Sarfraz Ahmed-led side beat South Africa and Sri Lanka to enter the semifinal, where they toppled England to set up a rematch against India in the summit clash. The opening pair of Azhar Ali (59) and Fakhar Zaman made merry after India elected to field, raising a stand of 128 to build a solid foundation.

Fakhar was dismissed for 114 off 106 balls, but Mohammad Hafeez’s 37-ball 57* ballooned the total to an imposing 338/4. Mohammad Amir dashed Indian hopes in the first nine overs itself, as he removed Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and captain Virat Kohli with only 33 runs on the board. Hardik Pandya counterattacked with 76 in 43 balls, but all it did was reduce the margin. Pakistan’s stunning turnaround was complete when the innings wound up at 158 in the 31st over.

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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