Dubai: Very few remember that it was with the Asia Cup that Sharjah began its journey 26 years ago — and the first one-day international match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium was that of Rothmans Asia Cup.
Only India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated in this tournament but the exciting moments from the match live in every cricket fan's memory.
Mudassar Nazar, the former Pakistan all-rounder who is now the head coach of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Global Cricket Academy, who played in the first match of Asia Cup on April 6, 1984 against Sri Lanka recalls the moment.
"It was a tough match for our team. The wicket had a lot of grass unlike the wickets for the later matches and the ball moved around a lot."
Pakistan, led by Zaheer Abbas was restricted to 187 for 9 and Sri Lanka won the match by five wickets. The hero of the match was Sri Lanka's Roy Dias, who hit an unbeaten 57.
It was a packed stadium for the second match between India and Sri Lanka but the match turned out to be a one-sided affair. India restricted Sri Lanka to just 96 runs, which is among the lowest scores in the Asia Cup. Medium pacer Manoj Prabhakar produced one of his best spells giving away just 16 runs from his 10 overs and taking two wickets to bag the man of the match award.
The final belonged to India's wicketkeeper Surinder Khanna, who hit 56 runs and took two brilliant catches to defeat Pakistan by 54 runs. A young Sunil Gavaskar with a drooping moustache receiving the trophy from the pavilion of the Sharjah Stadium is among the unforgettable scenes from Sharjah.
The Sharjah stadium also staged the fifth edition of the Asia Cup in 1995. India lost the second match of the tournament to Pakistan by 97 runs. Pakistan's medium pacer Aqib Javed produced one of the best spells of Asia Cup (5 for 19 from his nine overs).
This Asia Cup is also remembered for Sachin Tendulkar's splendid unbeaten 112 against Sri Lanka and skipper Mohammad Azharuddin's unbeaten 90 that steered India to victory in the final over Sri Lanka.
UAE and Hong Kong have played twice in the Asia Cup in 2004 and 2008. Both the nations failed to win any match but gained invaluable experience by playing against the best in Asia.