No. 19 April 26, 2009

Miandad seals it with a six

The shot that rang out around the world

Sharjah, 18 April 1986

Sharjah had become a hotbed of India-Pakistan rivalry, its stands crammed full of expats and its executive boxes jam-packed with celebrities. Television had begun to cast its mesmeric spell upon the people of South Asia, and the combatants were rising in stature on the world stage, flexing their pulling power.

Pakistan had never really won any tournament of significance, and even the imaginatively titled AustralAsia Cup looked beyond them as Javed Miandad orchestrated a faltering run-chase. Even down to the last over, India were in command, Javed's battling century futile.

A boundary was required off the last ball, with one wicket in hand. Pakistan's premier batsman took what seemed an eternity to survey the outfield, at one point looking as if he was counting the number of fielders.

Chetan Sharma knew what to do: a yorker would seal Pakistan's fate, and another victory over the old enemy. The thinking was perfect but the execution flawed. Sharma's yorker emerged as a low full-toss that Javed propelled with savagery over midwicket. Even before it cleared the boundary, Javed had raised his arms, sprinting off the pitch in celebration.

With one shot he became a national hero. Gifts were lavished upon him. And Pakistan began a run of success against India that was attributed to the psychological power of that six.

Kamran Abbasi is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine