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Pakistan won their third title at Sharjah in 11 months, having overcome Sri Lanka and West Indies in October, and India and England the previous April. This time, their opponents were India and South Africa, who had just met in Test and one-day series in the subcontinent.
Pakistan arrived in disarray after their unsuccessful tour of Australia and subsequent home defeats by Sri Lanka, which had precipitated the resignations of first Wasim Akram and then Saeed Anwar as captain. Moin Khan resumed the position and turned initial reverses into ultimate triumph. Their player of the series was Waqar Younis, who had recently been sidelined, but hit back with 13 wickets at 13.46. In the process he became only the second bowler to take 300 one-day international wickets, following Wasim Akram. Just as important was Inzamam-ul-Haq, who scored 239 runs at 59.75. The only other batsman to approach 200 was the 18-year-old opener, Imran Nazir, who made a very favourable impression.
India had a disappointing tournament, with a single win over Pakistan their only reward, whereas South Africa started in stunning form, winning their first three matches. They had won all five on their only previous visit to Sharjah, in 1995-96, and seemed to be heading for a repeat performance until, already sure of going through, they relaxed in the last qualifying game and were routed by Shoaib Akhtar's pace. Their subsequent defeat by Pakistan in the final proved to be Hansie Cronje's last bow; a week later, Indian police accused him of match-fixing. Since South Africa's readmission to world cricket in 1991-92, he had played in all but two of their Tests and all but six of their one-day internationals, but the revelations that followed brought a once-distinguished career to an end.
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