India has won the World Cup twice now and enter the tournament as among the favourites to win it again. Here’s a look back at some of the memorable moments involving the Indian team over the years at the World Cup.
1983: India win their first World Cup
After they failed to make a mark in the two previous editions, no one had imagined that the Indian unit-led by Kapil Dev would go on to lift the World Cup in 1983.
They started the campaign with an impressive victory against the defending champions West Indies, and followed it up by repeating it against Zimbabwe. The Kapil Dev-led unit then got a taste of reality with Australia dominating the third fixture and winning the match by 166 runs. India then lost by 66 runs to West Indies.
However, after losing two consecutive matches, the team bounced back and went on to defeat Zimbabwe, Australia and hosts England before winning the epic finale in 1983.
1987: Chetan Sharma’s hat-trick, Sunil Gavaskar batting heroics
It was October 31, 1987, and India needed a huge win over New Zealand to finish top of their group, which would see India play their semi-final fixture in front of home crowd in Mumbai, instead of travelling to Pakistan.
New Zealand were headed towards posting an imposing total after scoring 181 in 41 overs, Then Chetan Sharma dismissed Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield in the final three deliveries of his sixth over to take the first hat-trick in the tournament’s history. His breathtaking spell helped India restrict New Zealand to 221/9.
After Sharma’s heroics, the Indian batsmen had the daunting task of completing the chase in 42.2 overs, but the opening pair of Gavaskar and Srikkanth lived up to expectations. The pair added 136 runs for the first wicket with Srikkanth smashing 75 off 58 deliveries, which included nine fours and three sixes. However, the task was not yet complete and Gavaskar scored his first and only ODI ton, making sure India completed the chase with 107 balls to spare.
1996: One man show
Many remember the 1996 World Cup for the wrong reason, with the semi-final between against Sri Lanka in Eden Gardens being called off due to crowd violence bringing a bitter end to India’s campaign.
Despite crashing out of the tournament, Sachin Tendulkar’s incredible batting performance through the tournament remains as a highlight. With a batting performance that showed his authority in this format of the game, Tendulkar amassed 523 runs in seven innings, with a top score of 137 and at an average of 87.17, making him the leading run scorer of the tournament.
Dismantling the Sri Lankan bowling attack, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid put on a record partnership of 318 runs for the second wicket and helped India post a gigantic 373/6 on the board. Both players were representing India for the first time at the tournament and displayed remarkable composure against their sub-continental rivals.
The rock-solid stand between the Indian duo remained as the highest partnership in the World Cup until Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels added 372 against Zimbabwe for the second-wicket in the previous World Cup.
2003: India fall short after getting to the finals
Led by Sourav Ganguly, India had a roller-coaster ride in this edition of the World Cup that was jointly co-hosted by South Africa, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
After a shaky start against the Netherlands, India crashed against a formidable Australian unit led by Ricky Pointing. However, the defeat also turned things around. The side then went on a winning spree of eight matches, before facing Australia again in the finals at The Wanderers in Johannesburg where they were beaten again.
2011: Once again crowned as World Champions
After missing out on the World Cup in South Africa eight years earlier, the Men in Blue led by MS Dhoni finally won a second World Cup trophy in 2011. This was also Sachin Tendulkar’s final appearance at the showpiece event and just like the other World Cups, the batting maestro was in splendid form in this edition. With an average of 62.50, he was the leading run-scorer in the Indian team, scoring 482 runs in nine matches and the second-highest scorer in the tournament.
The entire unit contributed, but it was Yuvraj Singh who was deemed as the main force behind India’s triumph. The left-handed batsman scored 362 runs in eight innings, which included four fifties and one hundred. In the bowling department, Singh took 15 wickets in nine matches and was India’s second highest wicket-taker after Zaheer Khan.