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Lucknow's Cricket Legacy: From 1952's Historic Clash to Hosting World Cup Matches in Ekana Stadium
In Lucknow, the history of international matches dates back to 1952 when India and Pakistan played their first Test match. Led by Lala Amarnath, Team India faced a tough challenge, ending up with a significant defeat against Pakistan despite Amarnath's leadership.
In 1952, post India's independence in 1947, Pakistan became a separate nation. Five years later, in 1952, Pakistan attained Test team status, and their first series was against India. Lala Amarnath captained India, while Abdul Kariem led the Pakistani cricket team. The first Test match of the series took place at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in Delhi, with India emerging victorious.
The second match of the series occurred in Lucknow, where no major stadium existed for international cricket. Therefore, the match was played on the university grounds along the banks of the Gomti River.
Despite India winning the series 2-1, the Lucknow match witnessed a significant victory for Pakistan. Lala Amarnath led the Indian team, comprising stalwarts like Polly Umrigar, Vijay Hazare, and Vinoo Mankad, but they faced a resounding defeat at the hands of Pakistan.
37 years later, in 1989, Lucknow hosted its second international cricket match at the KD Singh Babu Stadium, featuring Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pakistan secured a victory over Sri Lanka by 6 runs. Imran Khan, who later entered politics and became Pakistan's Prime Minister, played a stellar inning, scoring 84 runs during this match.
In 1994, India and Sri Lanka engaged in a Test match at the same stadium, where Sachin Tendulkar played a remarkable inning, scoring 142 runs. Navjot Singh Sidhu, now active in Indian politics, also contributed with a captivating innings, scoring 124 runs.
Despite the absence of an official match, Lucknow witnessed an international T20 match in 2018 between India and West Indies. Rohit Sharma's splendid century led India to victory by 71 runs.
In 2018, the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow hosted its first-ever World Cup match between India and England. The match generated tremendous excitement among cricket fans, and Rohit Sharma captained India with strong determination.
Today, the Ekana Stadium is hosting the fourth match of the World Cup, and despite the absence of the Indian team in this particular match, the enthusiasm of cricket fans remains high. The Ekana Stadium is set to host the fifth and final match between Pakistan and the Netherlands.
This history showcases Lucknow's journey in hosting international matches, from its humble beginnings in 1952 to becoming a venue for prestigious events like the World Cup. The city's cricket fans have witnessed iconic moments, and the Ekana Stadium continues to be a prominent cricket venue, fostering the spirit of the game.