KARACHI: On this Independence Day, The Express Tribune looks back at 14 shining achievement of Pakistan’s sporting history, where the athletes from different sports made this nation proud.
1. 1992 World Cup victory
Under the inspiring captaincy of legendary Imran Khan, Pakistan went on to win their first and only cricket World Cup so far in 1992 at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by defeating pre-tournament favourites England.
The story of the triumph is a more poignant one considering the fact that at one point, as the Men in Green were at the verge of elimination from the World Cup, and they had to win four out of four to have any chance of making it to the semi-finals.
Swing of Sultan Wasim Akram was the star performer of the tournament, and also picked up the man-of-the-match award for his all-round performance which led the side to a famous victory.
2. Most number of World open titles
Pakistan’s Jansher Khan is the undisputed master of the World Open with eight titles to his name.
While doing the honours, the Peshawar-born athlete also equaled the record of Jahangir Khan for most successive World Open titles, when he lifted the trophy five consecutive times from 1992-1996.
He also stayed on top of the squash ranking for nearly 13 years from 1988 to 2000.
3. Sohail Abbas goal record
On October 8, 2004, Pakistan’s penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas scored his 268 goal to break the record of Netherland’s Paul Litjens for most international goals by a player. The feat was achieved against India in Amritsar.
Later, Abbas, who played primarily as a defender, became the first player in the history of international hockey to score more than 300 goals for his national side.
He also holds the record for highest number of goals in a calendar year, where he netted 60 times in 1999.
Abbas, who was famous for his raw power, was also the fastest to score 100 and 200 goals, whereas he also holds an unmatched record of one double hat trick and 21 hat tricks in international hockey, and is the highest goal scorer of all time with 348 goals.
4. 2009 World T20 triumph
Seventeen years later, once again, this time under the leadership of another Khan, famously known as Younus, Pakistan claimed the highest prize in the shortest format of the game.
After narrowly missing out on the title in 2007, Younus took over the captaincy from Shoaib Malik, and after a disappointing start of the campaign against England, the team gained momentum and went on to beat Kumar Sangakkara’s Sri Lanka to clinch the title at Lord’s.
It was Shahid Afridi, who was the star performer for the team in the semi-final and final, as he along with Shoaib Malik contributed significantly with the bat in both matches, and his bowling performance in the semi-final was also important for the team’s progress to the final.
5. Jahangir Khan’s winning streak
Pakistan’s Jahangir Khan holds the record for the longest winning streak in squash, where he remained unbeaten for five years from 1981 to 1986.
The player, who originally belonged from Peshawar, went on to win 555 consecutive matches, over the period of five years and eight months, which is the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sports as recorded by Guinness World Records.
6. Shahid Afridi’s fastest ODI century
On October 04, 1996, the world of cricket witnessed the arrival of prodigy, named Shahid Khan Afridi, who in his debut innings set a world record by scoring a remarkable century off just 37 balls against Sri Lanka at Nairobi.
The Khyber Agency-born all-rounder hit 11 massive sixes along with six fours in his innings, which was recorded as the fastest Limited over century back then.
The record lasted for more than 17 years and was eventually broken by New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, who scored a century off 36 balls against West Indies on January 1, 2014 at Queenstown in 21-over-a-side-match.
However, Anderson’s record lasted just over a year, as South Africa’s AB de Villiers scored an astonishing hundred against West Indies off just 31 balls at Johannesburg on January 18, 2015.
7. Hockey World Cup record
The Pakistan hockey team holds the record for most number of wins in the sports’ biggest event. The Green Shirts lifted their first trophy in the first every Hockey World Cup in 1971, when they defeated Spain 1-0 in Barcelona, Spain.
The second victory came seven years later in 1978, when the Shaheens defeated the Netherland in a five-goal thriller, finishing with a 3-2 triumph.
The third one was perhaps the most celebrated one, as the team went and won the title on the Indian soil in 1982, when they defeated West Germany 3-1 in the final.
The culmination of the record came in 1994, when Pakistan once again defeated the Netherlands, this time on penalties in Sydney, Australia.
8. Saeed Anwar’s 194 against India
On May 21, 1997, Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar scored the highest number of runs in an innings by a player in an ODI match, when he scored a memorable 194 against arch-rivals India in Chennai.
The stylish left-hander hit 22 fours and five sixes in a innings where he faced 146 balls, and stamped his authority on the world of cricket.
Saeed’s record remained intact for nearly 13 years, when in February 24, 2010, India’s Sachin Tendulkar broke his record against South Africa in Gwalior.
However, the current record for the longest innings in the 50-over format held by India’s Rohit Sharma, as he scored a mammoth 264 against Sri Lanka in Kolkata in 2014.
9. Youngest ever World Open champion
Jahangir Khan became the youngest squash player in the history to win the World Open Championship in 1981.
At the age of 17, Jahangir went on to defeat Australia’s Geoff Hunt 7–9, 9–1, 9–2,9–2 in Toronto, Canada and announced his arrival on the international stage.
10. Asian Games record
The Pakistan hockey team are also proud owners of the most number of gold medals at the Asian Games, where the Greenshirts won a record eight times in just 15 tournaments.
For many Pakistani fans, the most satisfactory part would be to see the record of their team against arch-rivals India, who were at the receiving end throughout, and lost seven times out of eight in the final.
In the 1992 Asian Games, which was organised in New Delhi, Pakistan crushed the hosts 7-1, which is still the biggest victory in the finals of the game’s hockey event by a goal margin .
Pakistan’s latest victory came in 2010, where they defeated Malaysia 2-0 in Guangzhou, China.
11. Misbahul Haq record equaling century
On November 2, 2014, Pakistan Test captain Misbahul Haq scored a century off just 56 balls to equal Sir Vivian Richards’ record for the fastest century in the longest format of the game.
The middle-order batsman also became the second quickest hundred maker in Test in terms of time, after completing his century in 77 minutes, just three minutes more than Australia’s Jack Gregory, who holds the record for scoring a Test century in the shortest span of time.
The 42-year-old also hit 11 fours and five huge sixes in his innings.
12. Most number of wins at British Open
Pakistan’s Jahangir Khan holds the record for the most number of wins at the British Open, where he snapped up 10 consecutive victories from 1982-1991.
It was the same era when he and Jansher Khan, went on to win the title for consecutive 16 times from 1982 to 1997.
Out of the top four leading British Open winners of all time, Pakistan boasts of three, which includes Jahangir (10), Hashim Khan (7) and Jansher (6).
13. Wasim Akram’s 500 ODI wickets
On February 25, 2003, Pakistan’s legendary fast-bowler Wasim Akram became the first man in history to take 500 One-Day international wickets, when he dismissed Netherland’s Nick Statham in the ICC World Cup pool A match at Boland Bank Park, Paarl.
Wasim, who is also known as the Sultan of Swing, went on to pick two more wickets in the match, which were his last in the international cricket as he was dropped after the Men in Green faced first-round exit.
His record was eventually broken by the Sri Lanka’s off-spin great Muttiah Muralitharan nearly six years later on February 9, 2009, when he dismissed India’s Gautam Gambhir in the 48th over of the innings.
He currently holds the record for most wickets in the 50-over format with 534 wickets.
14. Pakistan’s first Olympic gold medal
Pakistan’s hockey team came into reckoning at the world stage in 1960, when the Greenshirts in their third attempt secured their first ever gold in Rome Olympics.
The victory was even sweeter as the victory came against arch-rivals India. Pakistan ended India’s dominance at the hockey event in the Games, thanks to a a goal by Naseer Bunda, which secured a 1-0 victory at Olympic Velodrome.