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Inzi announces his arrival

Inzamam-ul-Haq's 60 in the semi-final scuppered New Zealand's dream

Sriram Veera

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Inzamam-ul-Haq pulls hard, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st semi-final, World Cup, Auckland, March 21, 1992
Inzamam's 37-ball 60 dismantled New Zealand's World Cup © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Inzamam-ul-Haq
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Inzamam-ul-Haq
60 v New Zealand, semi-final, 1992

The great World Cup dream seemed to be turning into a nightmare: Pakistan needed an improbable 123 runs in the final 15 overs. That was when Inzamam-ul-Haq chose to script a fantasy. Imran Khan had told his team to play like "cornered tigers" in the tournament but he himself had played like a wounded tiger that day. His laborious 43, as Pakistan chased 263, had consumed 93 balls. The other old hand, Javed Miandad, was still in the middle when a young Inzamam entered the arena.

One man had been there and done that while the other was itching to get a taste of the big hunt. It was a lethal combination. With Miandad constantly goading him, the feisty Inzamam went berserk. The pair put on 87 runs in 10 overs as the New Zealanders were stunned into surrender. Martin Crowe, who had had a dream tournament till that night, was off the field for the Pakistan innings due to a hamstring injury and his deputy, John Wright, was a mute witness to the carnage under lights. Even their surprise weapon, Dipak Patel, whose opening eight overs had yielded a miserly 28, leaked 22 when he returned for his last two.

Inzamam was simply unstoppable that day. He would shuffle to off and heave a full-length delivery over midwicket, and when the bowlers dragged it further outside off, he would unfurl a fierce cut. Although he was run out 36 runs short of the win, he had by then waltzed into the public imagination. The unknown Inzamam-ul-Haq would thereafter be Inzi, a household name.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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