Mumbai: With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 knocking at the door, it is time to recollect some of the finest innings played by Indian batsmen in the mega event over the years.
Though it is easier to list down the big hundreds but there are knocks which proved far beyond the century, apart from the mammoth partnership (318 for the second wicket) between Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid against Sri Lanka in 1999.
Here are the best five:
1. Ajay Jadeja (45 off 25) against Pakistan in Bangalore, 1996:
When it looked like the Indian batting would collapse, out came the batsman, with bent shoulders and same old smile. Jadeja never looked serious when he played the sport but the bowlers had a tough time believing that.
This time, it was Waqar Younis on the other end. He smashed the spearhead all over the park, four fours and two huge sixes, to take India to a respectable total of 287.
2. Sourav Ganguly (183 off 158) against Sri Lanka in Taunton, 1999:
It was a must-win tie for India and the left-handed opener ensured he did the job. He hit 17 boundaries and seven sixes, destroyed the economy rate of Chaminda Vaas – the main attacking fast bowler of Sri Lanka.
Along with Rahul Dravid – who scored 145 off 129 – he put up a partnership of 318 for the second wicket. India ended with 383 for the loss of six wickets in the end.
3. Sachin Tendulkar (98 off 75) against Pakistan in Centurion, 2003:
When he sliced Wasim Akram in the first over for a boundary, the bowler probably understood that the match is over.
The Master Blaster, with Virender Sehwag, punished Shoaib Akhtar and took the match away from the opponents in the first 10 overs. Chasing 274, they crossed the 100-run mark in 11 overs. Tendulkar hit12 boundaries and a six.
4. Yuvraj Singh (57* off 65) against Australia in Motera, 2011:
A composed innings under pressure. The target (261) wasn’t a tough one but the opponent was Australia and that too, in a World Cup.
They tend to perform better in big tournaments under pressure. When the scoreboard read 187 for the loss of five wickets after Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s dismissal, the match was evenly balanced. Yuvraj, along with Suresh Raina, did not take risks and sensibly drove Team India to victory.
5. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91 off 79) against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, 2011:
The captain led from the front in the World Cup final in 2011. Chasing 275, the made it look easy taking the aerial route twice and hitting eight boundaries. The trademark winning six is still a big hit.