3 innings of 30 that changed India's 2011 World Cup campaign
Cricket has seen divine performances in both victory and defeat. Performances which are remembered for generations. Cricket has also seen more 'human' acts, which might be forgotten as time passes and may not even find a mention in the history books. But without them, history wouldn't be as we know it.
Yuvraj's all-round show, Zaheer's bowling exploits, Gambhir and Dhoni's match-winning knocks and Sachin's performances are the most remembered moments of India's winning campaign during the 2011 World Cup. Historic moments like those are often accompanied by a few acts which do not live long in the public memory, but go a long way in history's creation itself.
Let's have a look at 3 of the most understated innings in popular opinion, which ensured India held the trophy in their hands after a 28-year long wait.
#3 Raina's innings against Australia in the quarter-finals
The highlight of India's 2011 campaign was their performances in big moments, especially in the knock-out matches. Such matches came with added pressure. One bad over or one wicket at the wrong time and you might be out of the World Cup.
The quarter-final against Australia showed that India were peaking at the right time, capturing the big moments whenever they got a sniff. Although the target was only 260, against a team like Australia and in a World Cup knock-out match, it almost turned out to be a winning total. At the 38-over mark, half of the Indian batting was back in the pavilion with 74 runs still required to win. On normal days, it is moments like these when Australia seize the opportunity and run away with the match. But with Yuvi and Raina still at the crease, India had hope.
2011 World Cup was Yuvraj Singh's destiny. But the left-hander on the other end did make sure that India were not huffing and puffing to the target. Raina showed nerves of steel against a quality Australian attack, playing the finisher's role to perfection with a 28-ball 34 not-out, hitting two fours and a six. MS Dhoni said during the post-match presentation, '70-odd runs needed with the last batting pair, it basically meant if we played 50 overs with Yuvraj and Raina, we would make it. There was pressure, and it was about handling it'.
Raina later confessed that in the dressing room after the win, Sachin told him 'You have just won the World Cup for us'. In such a match, Australia were the only side in the world that could have knocked India out. But that day, the Indian team taught the world a thing or two about winning matches during such big moments.