The India-England rivalry is not as great as the Indo-Pak or the Australia-England rivalry. But still, their matches are closely followed. Of course, if it is a match between a former colonizer vs one of its colony, it surely evokes some patriotic emotions in both the countries.
1) Natwest series final, 2002 - It is a match which almost every Indian remembers. A match which involved more twists and turns than a Hollywood action movie. India and England had progressed to the final of the tri series which also involved Sri Lanka. England won the toss and decided to bat first in batting friendly conditions at the Lords. Marcus Trescothick and Nasser Hussain played brilliant knocks of 109 and 115 respectively to put up a daunting target of 326. The Indian batting started of well, with both Ganguly and Sehwag taking on the bowlers. Then after the dismissal of Ganguly, a middle order collapse occurred which reduced India to 146 with the loss of 5 wickets!
Then the two prodigies came together at the crease. Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif played brilliantly to keep India in the hunt. Then Yuvraj departed, leaving India at a precarious position of 260 odd runs. Harbhajan provided some support to Kaif’s innings, eventually falling for 15. Finally, Kaif won the match for India along with some good running between the wickets from Zaheer Khan. This, without doubt, is one of the best matches between the two sides, with Ganguly making it even more memorable with his wild celebrations after the match.
2) Super 8’s, World T20, 2007 - This Super 8 match was a must win match for India. India decided to bat first. India got off to a great start, with an opening partnership of 136. Eventually both the openers got out, and in came Yuvraj Singh. Before the 19th over, a target of 190-200 was expected from India. Until Flintoff and Yuvraj had a spat, and Yuvraj got his bat to do the talking. Poor Broad, what can one do in front of a fired up Yuvraj? Without doubt, he became a spectator of a rain of sixes of his over, in fact a six in each of his delivery. This was happening only for the 4th time in cricket and first time in T20 cricket. India set a target of 218, their highest score in T20. The part which made the match more interesting was that the English were not ready to accept defeat either. They put up a spirited fight with contributions from everyone. Alas, the target was too much for them and they lost the match by 18 runs. Yet, this match holds the record for the highest aggregate of runs in a T20 match.
3) First test, Chennai - After the terror attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, the touring English team was sent back due to security concerns. Yet, the English team came back to India to complete the test series, a decision which was later appreciated by the cricketing community. The first 3 days of the match were tilted in favour of the English team. Strauss played a major role in the team’s performance in both the innings and set India a 4th innings target of 387. This target was a very stiff one, considering the deteriorating conditions at the Chidambaram stadium. But that did not stop a determined Sehwag from showing that miracles are possible. He batted as if 387 was just a small target, bashing the bowlers with ease. Eventually he got out on 83, but India ended the 4th day with confidence. Gambhir got out pretty early the next day, and Dravid and Laxman followed him. India had already lost 4 wickets and there were still more than 150 runs left to achieve. But Sachin and Yuvraj had other ideas. Together they formed a steady partnership, and slowly inched towards victory. Finally, India won by 6 wickets, with Sachin achieving the target with a boundary and also reaching to his 100. Sachin later dedicated this victory to the victims of the 26/11 tragedy.
4) Group stage match, 2011 World Cup, Bengaluru - It was a much anticipated match, and was a crucial one for both the teams. India went on to bat and scored heavily initially, thanks to a well played century from Sachin. But due to a collapse in the later stages of the match, India managed 338, but could have scored more than that. The chase was heavily in England’s favour, with Strauss and co toying with the Indian bowlers. This match also witnessed a small controversy in the application of DRS, when a controversial decision was given in favour of Ian bell, which finally would decide the outcome of the match. Finally when victory was pretty certain for England, an inspired Zaheer Khan was instrumental in an Indian fight back, and after half an hour of tension, the match ended with the most suitable result, a tie. This match played a crucial role in deciding the Super 8 groups.