Five top knocks by Indians at the Cricket World Cup
The ICC Cricket World Cup is the biggest prize there is, in the realm of international cricket. After emerging as the dark horse and winning the trophy in 1983, India repeated the feat in 2011 in its own backyard after a wait of 28 long years. We take a look at five of the best knocks by Indians at the event.
Shikhar Dhawan v South Africa (2015)
India announced themselves as top contenders to defend the World Cup they had prised away from Australia, courtesy a drubbing of title favourites South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was ironically the Melbourne resident, Shikhar Dhawan, who struck an emphatic ton to power India to its first ever win against the Proteas at the World Cup after three previous losses. The southpaw stitched 100-plus partnerships with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, on the way to his 137. His seventh ODI ton was the difference at the MCG that day.
Sachin Tendulkar v Pakistan (2003)
With India and Pakistan meeting in a World Cup encounter for the fourth instance at Centurion, South Africa, Pakistan were under huge pressure owing to not having won a WC match against their archrivals. Pakistan reached a good total of 273 courtesy Saeed Anwar’s century, having lost 7 wickets, with India working hard to pull things tight in the last few overs. When India came on to bat, the opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar attacked the Pakistan pace trio of Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis from the word go, enthralling the SuperSport Park crowd in the process. The Master Blaster scored 98 crucial runs as India beat Pakistan in a tense match.
Sourav Ganguly v Sri Lanka (1999)
India faced the defending champions Sri Lanka at the 1999 World Cup in England, and on a cold day in Taunton, Sourav Ganguly smashed an epic knock that steered India to a gigantic total of 373. The Prince of Calcutta’s 183, along with Rahul Dravid’s 145, was laden with shots in a second-wicket partnership of 318 runs between the two. The opener’s career-best effort off 156 balls, proved to be the major catalyst as Sri Lanka collapsed by a margin of 157 runs.
Kapil Dev v Zimbabwe (1983)
Having begun their match against Duncan Fletcher’s Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells on a challenging pitch, India found itself reeling at 17/5 thanks to Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran. Facing another early exit at the World Cup, India found its saviour in skipper Kapil Dev as he changed the entire nature of the match. His exhilarating knock of 175 not out from 138 balls, with 16 fours and 6 sixes, was the highest individual score in ODIs at the time, and also signified the first time of an Indian scoring an ODI ton. India reached 266/8, and won the match after a good performance from Madan Lal with the ball. The match was unfortunately not telecasted live due to a BBC strike.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni v Sri Lanka (2011)
After a painful wait of 28 years for the World Cup trophy, expectations were piled up on an Indian team during its pursuit of being world Champions in an event held in the Indian subcontinent. Facing co-hosts Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India found themselves chasing 275 after Mahela Jayawardene scored a classy century. With India at 114/3 in the 22nd over, Dhoni promoted himself ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh and joined the dashing Gautam Gambhir in the chase. The duo kept spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and pacer Lasith Malinga at bay, putting on 109 runs for the fourth wicket before Gambhir got out bowled off Thisara Perera for 97 runs. The Indian captain hit the six that won India its second World Cup, and his unbeaten 91 came off 79 deliveries.