Benson & Hedges Final, Melbourne, March 10, 1985 India vs Pakistan
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It was a match that an Australian commentator described before it started, "ten Muslims and one Hindu pitted against ten Hindus and one Muslim". Since this match was not being held in Pakistan, they played merely with cricketers and not umpires. It was natural for an India-Pakistan match even if played in Australia to invite dramatic atmospheric build-up but the way the Indians had played the tournament, winning all the preceding matches with ease, ideally the final should not have been called an even contest. But then historical bitterness between the two nations once again placed them as 'equals'. Pakistan was contained 176 for 9. All that the Indians had to do was not to mess up. They were also trying to achieve a fitting tribute, as Kapil told his team mates, to Sunil Gavaskar who had announced that it will be his last odi match as captain. Shastri and Srikkanth made a 100 for the opening partnership. The Indians had sealed the match. After Srikkanth got out, Azharuddin and Vengsarkar completed the formalities. Shastri had made 63 from 191 balls, making many impressionable boys who didn't know then why a man should be a sheet-anchor hate him whole-heartedly. Though the popular choice in India for the man of the series who would win an Audi was Srikkanth, it was Ravi Shastri who would get it. And for him it would be a transition from an old Premier Padmini. But the way the entire Indian team squeezed into the Audi and drove around the Melbourne ground, there were fears if it would work the next day. There are reports the Audi Shastri got home was another one as his prize was too dented.

There are unverified reports that the Indian team had a serious discussion about how the car should be sold and the money be equally distributed. After all it was an Audi and not Draupadi.

This That

  • The attendance of 35,296 was the highest in Australia at a match in which the home side was not involved

  • This team was adjudged by Wisden as the Indian 'Team of the Century' and the same team beat the same Pakistani side in the Rothmans cup the same year. India 125, Pakistan 88.
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