74 days to go: When rain changed the course of World Cup 1992

Rain had the last laugh in the group game between Pakistan and England at Adelaide on 1 March 1992.

Published: 17th March 2019 01:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:29 PM   |  A+A-

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Often the harbinger of hope, it is not often that rain becomes an unwelcome visitor, who is shooed away. But any time, it interferes with sports and changes the complexion of a game, the brickbats come out from all directions.

But in the World Cup 1992, Pakistan had rain to thank as it managed to change the course of the tournament.

74 days to go before World Cup 2019, here is a look at the significance of Pakistan's lowest World Cup total and how a single point made all the difference in the end.

Adelaide Oval was the venue and it was the group game between Pakistan and England. Both sides had contrasting starts to the tournament but were both looking for a win that would help their semi-final push.

Pakistan's all-time low

On a track with more than a tinge of green and a fast bowling quintet to call on, England, unsurprisingly elected to field after winning the toss.

It didn't take the bowlers long to ensure that Graham Gooch's decision was the right one. Phil DeFreitas got rid of Rameez Raja and Inzamam-ul-Haq in successive balls before Derek Pringle sent back stand-in skipper Javed Miandad and Aamer Sohail.

Blink and you would have missed Pakistan getting reduced to 42/7 and in danger of registering the lowest World Cup total. Wasim Haider's 13 and Mushtaq Ahmed's 17 helped them avoid that mark but they were still bowled out for 74, which at the time, was the lowest total at the World Cup by a Test nation.

When rain had the last laugh

With plenty of time and no pressure, it seemed as though it was only a matter of time before England registered one of the biggest wins in the tournament's history. At lunch, England were at 17/1 from six overs.

While Ian Botham and Robin Smith returned after lunch, needing 58 from 44 overs, they only batted for two more overs, adding seven more, before the heavens opened up.

Seven more overs had to be bowled for the contest to be decided. England needed a further 39 from those overs. While it was unfair considering the nature of the pitch, it was far from impossible.

But they never got the opportunity to go for it as the rain never relented. As a result, the points were shared and Pakistan were spared of an embarrassing loss.

How crucial was that one point? Well, Pakistan scraped through to the semis thanks to that one point after a terrible start to the tournament that saw them win just win one of their first five games. 

Three successive wins against Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand, gave them nine points, one more than Australia. If England had won the game, (as would have been the case if the rain gods didn't intervene), it would have been Australia going through to the semis courtesy of their superior net run rate.

There would be no Imran's tigers, tale of triumph or an incredible comeback story if rain hadn't become Pakistan's harbinger of hope in 1992.


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