#ThisDayThatYear: Imran Khan's valor handed Pakistan the coveted trophy
The Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia witnessed a spectacle full of grit and valence on March 25, 1992. A ferocious Imran Khan, who led Pakistan's wavered World Cup campaign, bowed out emphatically. Pakistan outclassed England in the grand finale to clinch their only World Cup title in the history. Here is how the dramatic final between the two teams unfolded.
Pakistan fought back despite losing early wickets
Batting first at a bouncy track, Pakistan lost both Rameez Raja and Aamer Sohail early on. Skipper Imran Khan, who promoted himself in the batting order, held one end firmly. Imran (72) added a 139-run stand with Javed Miandad (58), while Inzamam-ul-Haq also scored a handy 42 later on. Wasim Akram's crucial cameo (33 off 18) helped Pakistan put up 249/6 after 50 overs.
England got off to a shaky start
The likes of Wasim Akram and Aaqib Javed made early inroads in the England batting line-up, having reduced them to 69/4. Mushtaq Ahmed removed the England captain Graham Gooch on 29. Meanwhile, Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb added 72 runs for the fourth wicket, which brought England back in the contest. Then came one of the greatest fast-bowling spells in the World Cup history.
Wasim Akram's magic over rekindled the hopes of Pakistan
The two miraculous balls bowled by Wasim Akram not only made a turnaround for Pakistan, but got etched in the memories. Just when England were beginning to gain momentum, Akram ran bowling in around the wicket and delivered a stunning out-swinger, that rattled the off-stump of Lamb. On the very next delivery, he trapped Chris Lewis with an in-swinger while he was played-on.
Pakistan bundled out England for 227
England's final ray of hope Fairbrother was later dismissed by Aqib Javed as they tottered on 180/7. Mushtaq Ahmed and Imran Khan later cleaned up the tail, winning the match for Pakistan by 22 runs. Pakistan's journey from winning mere one of the first five matches to laying hands on the trophy in a dramatic way, was celebrated for years to come.
Pakistan bounced back in the second half of the tournament
Interestingly, Pakistan only won a single game (against Zimbabwe) out of the first five matches in the tournament. In a do-or-die scenario, they beat Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand respectively to book the semis spot. Pakistan later defeated New Zealand in the first semi-final.