Cricket World Cup History: Ranking the top five innings played by Indian batsmen in World Cup history 

MS Dhoni (left) and Gautam Gambhir (right), the two heroes of India's 2011 World Cup win
MS Dhoni (left) and Gautam Gambhir (right), the two heroes of India's 2011 World Cup win

The Indian team is the joint second most successful team in the history of the World Cup. The Men in Blue have won the tournament on two occasions, a record which is bettered only by Australia and equalled by the West Indies. A lot of this success has been due to the presence of some world class batsmen in the Indian line-up.

India has always been blessed with some of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game. World Cup is the biggest stage in cricket and big players rise on big occasions. So it is not a surprise that we have seen some incredible innings from Indian batsmen in the World Cup.

It is not easy to select just five brilliant knocks as the Indian batsmen have scored a lot of brilliant knocks in the greatest cricket tournament. But, these innings have been handpicked on the basis of the impact they had on the match and time they came in.

Here's a look at them:

#5 Sourav Ganguly - 183* vs Sri Lanka

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav Ganguly

India took on Sri Lanka in the group stage of the 1999 World Cup. India got off to a poor start losing the wicket of Sadagoppan Ramesh early in the innings. But Ramesh's opening partner Sourav Ganguly stiched a brilliant partnership for the second wicket with Rahul Dravid.

The pair put on 318 runs for the second wicket, breaking the record for the highest partnership in ODIs in the process. Sourav Ganguly put on an exhibition of incredible hitting as he scored 183 off just 158 balls. The left-hander hit 17 fours and seven sixes in that innings to help India post a target of 374 for Sri Lanka.

This target was always going to be too much for Sri Lanka, and India registered a comfortable 157 run victory. It turned out to be a poor World Cup for the Indian team as India finished sixth but Indian fans will never forget this innings from 'Dada'.

Also read - Man of the match world cup 2019

#4 Gautam Gambhir - 97 vs Sri Lanka

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir

Chasing a huge total of 275 in the final of the 2011 World Cup, India got off to a pretty bad start. Virender Sehwag got out on the second ball of the innings which brought Gautam Gambhir earlier on the crease than he would have hoped for.

The left-hander understood the situation and played the role of an anchor, pacing his innings to perfection and providing stability to the chase. He didn't panic even when Sri Lanka looked on top after getting wickets of both the openers quickly. Gambhir took his time on the crease and depended on singles and doubles instead of going for expansive shots.

Gambhir's stroke-play kept the scoreboard ticking, which brought India back in the game. The left-hander was unlucky to miss out on a century as he got out for 97. The Delhi opener failed to complete his century but he managed to put India on the cusp of victory in the World Cup final, which was eventually won by the Indians.

#3 Sachin Tendulkar - 98 vs Pakistan

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

India vs Pakistan is always a blockbuster clash and there is always a lot of pressure on both teams to win the encounter. In the 2003 World Cup game between the two arch-rivals, the stakes are even higher. Pakistan set a target of 274 for India which was very difficult considering the bowling attack of the Men in Green.

India needed Sachin Tendulkar to fire in order to chase the target and as expected, he did fire. The 'Master Blaster' toyed with the bowling attack which had the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar. Sachin was unstoppable in that innings as he scored 98 off just 75 balls.

The right-hander missed out on a well deserved century when he was caught on point off the bowling of Shoaib Akhtar. But the damage was already done, and Rahul Dravid accompanied by Yuvraj Singh ensured that India did not face any more hiccups in chasing the target.

#2 MS Dhoni - 91* vs Sri Lanka

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

In the 2011 World Cup final, after losing the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag early, Gautam Gambhir along with Virat Kohli had stabilized the innings. When Virat got out, there was a lot of work left to be done. Yuvraj Singh, who was fantastic throughout the tournament was set to come in, but MS Dhoni had different ideas.

The Indian captain came to bat himself as he trusted his gut feeling and backed himself to do well against Muttiah Muralidharan who had been introduced into the attack. The fact that he had the confidence to promote himself over in-form Yuvraj Singh is a testament to his bravery. Dhoni started off cautiously but as he settled, he started opening his arms.

The wicket-keeper batsman hit eight fours and two sixes to guide India to victory in the World Cup final. The Indian captain finished the proceedings in style with a brilliant six straight over the bowler's head. This innings will always be a part of Indian cricket's folklore.

#1 Kapil Dev - 175 vs Zimbabwe

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev

If there's one innings that can be regarded as the one that changed the way the Indians played the game of cricket, then this is the very inning.

India took on Zimbabwe in a must-win encounter but they got off to the worst possible start. Kapil Dev must not have been expecting to be on the crease when the scoreboard was in single digits. When the Indian captain came out to bat, India were in all sorts of trouble, struggling at 9 runs for 4 wickets.

Soon India were bowled down to 17 for 5 and the hopes of the team seemed to be done and dusted. Kapil Dev was not in a good to give as he launched a counter on Zimbabwe bowlers. When India was reduced to 140/8, even reaching 200 looked difficult but Kapil Dev continued his attack.

Syed Kirmani, the wicket-keeper of the side provided him support by staying put on the other end as the two built together with an unbeaten partnership of 126 runs. Sadly, this match was not broadcasted and no pictures of the innings are available but Indian fans can create the whole picture in their mind just by admiring the sheer grit and class that the Indian captain put up. This win was instrumental, as the Indian team, brimming with motivation, went on to win the 1983 World Cup.

Edited by Satvik Pandey


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