Indian cricket has gone through many ups and downs to become a global behemoth in the game.
The Indian cricket team is wildly popular not just in their own country but across the globe as well. They have produced legends like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni among others, who have etched their names not only in history books but also in the hearts of crickets fans.
In this article, we’ll look at three iconic innings that have contributed massively to India becoming a cricketing superpower.
#3) MS Dhoni: 91*(79) vs Sri Lanka, World Cup Final 2011
Former Indian captain, MS Dhoni's image of hitting a helicopter six over long-on in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 at the Wankhede Stadium remains imprinted in the heads and hearts of Indian fans. As the ball sailed over long-on, India won the World Cup after 28 years, becoming the first team to win the coveted trophy on their home soil.
Despite a shaky start from the openers, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli stabilized the innings under pressure against a lethal Sri Lankan attack. After Kohli lost his wicket post scoring 35(49), the captain walked in with India close to 150 runs short of the target. He ensured that the chase was comfortable from there on, scoring 91 runs in just 79 deliveries while putting up a partnership with Yuvraj Singh to finish the chase and beat the Lankans in the all-important final.
#2) VVS Laxman: 281(452) vs Australia, Kolkata 2001
After conceding a massive 445 runs in the first innings, the batting collapsed to a poor 171 in their first innings. On the verge of losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the first time ever at home, the visitors asked India to follow on with the intention of wrapping up the test in three days to seal a historic victory.
However, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid had other plans, batting out an entire day and scoring runs all over the park as the pair not only recovered the deficit but also set up a competitive target of 384 to be chased on the last day of play, which the visitors failed to do so.
The team won the match despite following on from the first innings, a feat that was achieved only thrice in test cricket ever, and the first time ever by an Indian cricket team. This win boosted the confidence of Ganguly's men for years to come.
#1) Kapil Dev: 175*(138) vs Zimbabwe, 1983 WC
Despite winning the first two matches of the 1983 World Cup in England against favorites West Indies and Zimbabwe, India found themselves on the verge of getting knocked out after losing the next two matches and the score reading 9-4 batting first in the first innings of a must-win game.
An embarrassing defeat was on the cards until Roger Binny and captain Kapil Dev put up a fifty-run partnership for the sixth wicket. At lunch, India recovered to 124-7 in 36 overs to find some semblance of an innings as Madan Lal stood his ground with his captain.
What followed was an absolute onslaught that was unheard of in the days of 60-over cricket, with Kapil whacking the bowlers all around the park, taking the total from 17-5 to 266-8 almost single-handedly.
Kapil’s century was also Indian cricket’s first-ever century in the World Cup. This knock also broke the world record at the time for most runs in an innings in the One-Day Internationals. They went on to win the match by 31 runs, coming second in their group and winning the Prudential World Cup in style, upsetting the West Indies in the finals.