And so, there were two.
The T20 Cricket World Cup, which kicked off nearly a month ago, is set for its grand finale: England v Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia on Sunday.
But wait, have we seen this one yet? For those old enough to remember, yes, the same place 30 years ago.
When Pakistan lost their first two Super 12 games, they were virtually out of the tournament. Apart from winning their remaining games, Pakistan would need divine help as well as one of the lowest ranked teams to beat Indian or South African powerhouses.
The Netherlands duly obliged.
Pakistan then beat Bangladesh and are now just one victory away from the trophy.
Here’s why the tournament invokes deja vu:
It all started with the defeat of Australia
Australia, co-hosts of the 1992 tournament, started as defending champions. They won the 1987 edition and started the 1992 tournament as one of the favourites, but lost the opening game against New Zealand and failed to advance to the semi-finals.
Fast forward 30 years, Australia kicked off the defense of their T20 crown with a loss to New Zealand.
England victory over their South Asian opponents
England started their 1992 campaign with a win over Asian team India in Perth. This time, England faced Afghanistan in the same city and the same result.
Bad start and loss of Pakistan against India
On the other side, Pakistan, eternal slow starters. They started the 1992 campaign with a 10-wicket loss to West Indies, faced India a few days later and lost by 43 runs.
This time around, Pakistan again lost to India, a defeat in the final in their opening match.
saved by the rain
In 1992, Pakistan were playing their third match of the tournament, against England, and looked set to lose when rain came to their rescue and the game ended, giving both teams a point each. This point moved Pakistan ahead of Australia in the table and sent them to the semi-finals.
Although the rain did not affect any of Pakistan’s matches, it did play a part in Pakistan’s final position on the table. South Africa faced Zimbabwe in a wet match and were heading for a big win when the skies opened up and the game was called off. A win would have earned South Africa two points and tied them with Pakistan.
Intensity 🆙 🔥
— Pakistani Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 11, 2022
Three at the trot
After three losses, a win and a point in a wet match, Pakistan’s run in the round robin phase of the 1992 tournament ended with three straight wins.
In 2022, after losing the first two games, Pakistan reset and won their last three games to earn six points.
Last Day Miracle
Pakistan entered the final day of the Super 12 knowing that even a victory would not be enough to book them a place in the semi-finals. They duly beat New Zealand to do their part of the job and then waited for Australia to do the rest against West Indies, who had a chance to progress with a win. But the West Indies lost and Pakistan clinched the last place in the semi-finals.
This year, Pakistan had to beat Bangladesh but, to qualify, either the Netherlands had to beat South Africa (not possible, right?) or Zimbabwe had to stun India ( again, what?). The Netherlands duly agreed and produced one of the most stunning upsets in World Cup history by beating South Africa.
Semi-final victory against New Zealand
It was the first time this had happened, but each case yielded the same result: Pakistan still beat New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup semi-finals. The trend started in 1992 in Auckland, New Zealand when Pakistan won by four wickets to advance to their first World Cup final.
The last semi-final meeting between the two teams produced the same result: a win for Pakistan by seven wickets.
In the other three, Pakistan beat New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup, 2007 World T20 and 2009 World T20.
Finally, as was the case in 1992, Pakistan and England will face each other in the World Cup final at the MCG, but this time around both teams have already won the title once and will be looking to add one. second.
Bonus (and you’ll love it)
Pakistan’s late push was aided by a young March-born attacking batsman (1992: Inzamam-ul-Haq, 2022: Mohammad Haris).
Pakistan’s main wicket takers until the final were a left arm pacer and a leg spinner (1992: Wasim Akram and Mushtaq Ahmed, 2022: Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan).
England’s top wicket-taker was an all-around player (1992: Ian Botham, 2022: Sam Curran).