The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Razzaq still ruing missed catch

Centurion: It was a mistake which has almost brought Pakistan’s World Cup campaign to a grinding halt and Abdul Razzaq is still counting the cost.

Razzaq saw to his horror a lofted drive from Sachin Tendulkar hit his left palm and spill out to the ground and immediately felt the life drain out of him.

“I immediately realised the big mistake,” said Razzaq reflecting on his team’s six-wicket defeat to old foes India in the high-voltage match on Saturday.

“I was in a daze for it would have given us a good grip on the game,” a devastated Razzaq said.

India, 57 for two at that stage, would have been hit hard by Sachin’s loss on 32 because in the previous over Pakistan captain Waqar Younis had hustled out Virender Sehwag and captain Sourav Ganguly off successive balls.

Wasim Akram could not believe his eyes.

“Tujhe pata hai tune kiska catch chhoda hai (Do you know whose catch you have dropped)'” Akram screamed at Razzaq who wished the ground would open and he would escape the fury of his former captain.

Akram was furious as Razzaq had ignored his command to stand at the edge of the circle at mid-off and had come too far inside the ring.

“Tu agar wahan khada hota to aasan catch tha (Had you stood there it would have been an easy chance),” thundered Akram at a sheepish Razzaq.

Razzaq had his own reasons to come inside the ring. “I knew Sachin is very good at placements and wanted to stop those sharply run singles.”

Razzaq was also aware Sachin does not lift a ball straight down the ground so early in his innings.

Former Indian Test player Sanjay Manjrekar agreed. “It is very uncharacteristic for Sachin to lift a ball straight down the ground so early in his innings,” he said. “But he escaped and India was relieved,” Manjrekar added.

Razzaq’s lapse could be compared to Herschelle Gibbs’ folly of dropping Steve Waugh at a critical stage of the 1999 World Cup which paved the way for Australia’s triumph and buried South Africa in ignominy.

Later, Sachin rubbed in the salt further and literally brought blood to the wound when he smacked a back drive at Razzaq who split his finger in an attempt to stop the shot. However, he stayed on to bowl a few more overs.

The legendary Akram, his outstanding career coming to an end, was often involved in disagreements with Waqar about the field placements granted to him.

He had a particularly long argument with his skipper after Virender Sehwag had spanked a square drive to the cover fence as he sought an extra cover in that area.

Akram later also took up the cause of Shahid Afridi who similarly appeared disgusted at Waqar’s stubbornness to set a field which he did not want.

Meanwhile, an emotional Saeed Anwar, dedicated his century on Saturday to his daughter Bismah who died in Lahore in August 2001 following a mysterious illness.

“Her death was God’s wish and turning to religion has given me the strength to cope with the tragedy,” Anwar said.

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