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Indian cricket team's performances in the knockout stages of World Cups

Indian cricket team's performances in the knockout stages of World Cups

As I write this, India reached the semi-finals of the 2023 World Cup and will play against New Zealand. India dominated the 2023 World Cup like never before, won almost all the matches, and was the only unbeaten team in the campaign.

So it is the right time to go back and recollect our World Cup knockout campaigns from 1987 onwards.

1987 Reliance World Cup:

The Indians entered the 1987 Reliance World Cup as favourites, with the tournament being jointly hosted by India and Pakistan. Pakistan hosted one leg of the World Cup while the other was in India, and the final took place in India.

During this World Cup, Sunil Gavaskar scored his only ODI century against New Zealand in a crucial match aimed at securing the top spot in the table, presumably to avoid facing Pakistan in the semi-final. Gavaskar's century, achieved in less than 100 balls, improved India's overall run rate.

In the semi-final clash between India and England, England emerged victorious. Graham Gooch scored a century, utilizing the sweep shot effectively against the Indian spinners. During this period, a score of 250 plus was considered a par score. Unfortunately, Indian middle-order player Dilip Vengsarkar was unavailable due to health or fitness issues, leading to Chandrakant Pandit replacing him. Eddie Hemmings was significantly impacted by taking four wickets and dismissing Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ravi Shastri, and Chetan Sharma.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Australia beat Pakistan in the other semi-final, met England in the final, and won the World Cup for the first time.

Benson Hedges World Cup, 1992:

Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted this World Cup. India did not qualify for the knockout stages of this World Cup. Pakistan's team won the 1992 World Cup. This was the first World Cup played with a white ball and coloured jerseys. In the tournament's later stages, the New Zealand team tried Mark Greatbatch to use the field restrictions to hit over the top of the 30-yard circle. Also, they used Deepak Patel, an off-spinner, to open the bowling during the power play. Imran Khan came back from retirement, I think, to the Pakistan team after a gap, and Ian Botham played in the World Cup after a long hiatus. Kapil Dev opened the batting in the match against Zimbabwe for the first time, and I think only time. South Africa was the favourite; rain and a revised target spoiled their path to the finals.

Wills World Cup, 1996:

Quarter-Final India Vs Pakistan 1996:

India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka jointly hosted this World Cup. India beat Pakistan in the quarter-final clash held in Bangalore. India batted first and scored 287, which was an excellent score. Navjot Singh Sidhu was the top scorer. Ajay Jadeja played a blinder of an inning, hitting pace bowler Waqar Younis all around the park. He scored 45 of just 25 balls. Later, Pakistan scored only 248/9, and India moved to the semi-final against Sri Lanka.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Amir Sohail was made captain in place of injured Wasim Akram for this match.

Semi-Final India Vs Sri Lanka 1996:

Sri Lanka played a new brand of cricket during the entire World Cup. Their openers, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kaluvitharana, gave flying starts throughout the World Cup. But during the semi-finals, both got out in the first few overs. But Aravinda De Silva played a good innings. Mahanama and captain Arjuna played well and put in a formidable 251 for India to chase. India started off well, but after the wicket of Tendulkar, India lost 6 wickets in a short time from 98 for 2 to 120/8. The match was stopped due to crowd behaviour and was awarded to Sri Lanka. India strategically planned to use Anil Kumble to bowl the new ball with Srinath to tackle the Sri Lankan openers. But both openers got out in the first over to Srinath. India might have altered its plan to go with its regular seam bowler, Venkatesh Prasad. Aravinda and Mahanama, both good players of spin bowling, put an outstanding total on the board.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Sri Lankans went on to win the World Cup in 1996, beating Australia in the finals.

ICC World Cup 1999:

England hosted this World Cup. The Indian team did not qualify for the knockout stages of this World Cup, finishing last in the Super Six behind Zimbabwe. This was a World Cup to forget for Indian fans. Australia beat Pakistan in the final, marking the beginning of Australia's dominance in the cricket world.

ICC World Cup 2003:

This was hosted jointly by South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. India, under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, was an aggressive side with a talented bunch of youngsters: Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan, and Kaif, to name a few. They played well throughout the tournament and qualified for the knockout stages.

Semi-final India Vs Kenya 2003:

India played a relatively easier semi-final against Kenya and won the match comprehensively with a big margin of 91 runs. Captain Sourav scored an unbeaten century, supported by the little master Sachin with 83. Kenya was bundled out for 179, with Zaheer Khan taking 3 wickets.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Finals India Vs Australia 2003:

India won the toss and put Australia into bat first. Australia dominated the Indian bowlers, putting a mammoth 359 on board. Their skipper Ricky Ponting scored a big hundred, supported by their top-order batters, losing only 2 wickets. The Indian fast bowling was disappointing, with Srinath and Zaheer bowling badly, giving away so many runs and going wicketless. India lost Sachin early while chasing; Sehwag was the lone contributor to the scoreboard. India lost 3 quick wickets for 63 runs, and the chase became impossible. India lost the match by 125 runs, continuing Australia's dominance during that era.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

ICC World Cup 2007:

The West Indies hosted this World Cup. As Indian fans, it was a World Cup to forget. India, not qualifying for the Super 8 for the first time, won only one match in the group stage against the associate nation team Bermuda. India lost matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Australia continued their dominance in world cricket, winning this World Cup by beating Sri Lanka.

ICC World Cup 2011:

India hosted this World Cup and won it for the second time after a gap of 28 years. After the early exit in the 2007 World Cup, Dhoni captained the Indian team with a mixture of talented youngsters and experienced players. They dominated right from the group stages and beat Australia in the quarter-finals by chasing down 261 easily. India beat Pakistan in the semi-final by 29 runs. India met Sri Lanka in the finals and chased 274 with 10 balls to spare. Throughout the World Cup, Yuvraj contributed with both bat and ball and was the player of the tournament.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

ICC World Cup 2015:

Quarter-final India Vs Bangladesh 2015:

Australia and New Zealand hosted this World Cup. India beat Bangladesh easily in the quarter-finals. India put a big 300-plus score on the board elected to bat, restricted the opposition to 193, and went on to the semi-finals to meet Australia.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Semi-final India Vs Australia 2015:

Australia won the toss and opted to bat. They dominated the Indian attack, putting a huge score on the board. All the fast bowlers went for runs. While chasing, India struggled, with only captain Dhoni crossing half-century, and was all out for 233. India lost the match by 95 runs. Australia continued their domination in the World Cups, easily beating New Zealand in the finals.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

ICC World Cup 2019:

England hosted this tournament. India dominated the World Cup group stages, reaching the semi-finals in style under their new captain, Virat Kohli.

Semi-final India Vs New Zealand 2019:

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat first, putting a competitive total of 239 on a tricky wicket. The match continued to the reserve day due to rain. While chasing, India lost their top order for just 5 runs on the board. India was reduced to 5 for 3 and 24 for 4. A counter-attacking 77 by all-rounder Jadeja and a 50 by Dhoni made the chase very close to the target. But the run-out of Dhoni in the penultimate over destroyed the World Cup dreams of Indians. India lost the semi-final by 18 runs.

New Zealand met England in the finals, and England won the World Cup for the first time after much confusion in the final.

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Courtesy: Cricinfo

Concluding remarks

I just compiled the Indian team’s performances in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Give your thoughts on this.

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