Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the player of the series during the ICC World Cup 2003, but on the final frontier, even he stumbled © Getty Images
Sachin Tendulkar was adjudged the player of the series during the ICC World Cup 2003, but on the final frontier, even he stumbled © Getty Images

 

By Bharath Ramaraj

 

Days have turned into months and months into years since India lost that heart-wrenching final in ICC World Cup 2003 to Australia and ignominiously were knocked out of ICC World Cup 2007. But as the Indian team take on West Indies in ICC World T20 2014 Group 1 encounter on the same day on March 23, 2014, those memories keep flooding back and haunt Indians all the time.  The question on everyone’s lips now: Can India break the jinx of losing key World Cup clashes on March 23rd?

 

Even if 2003 World Cup final feels light years ago now, Indian fans still remember Ricky Ponting thwacking their bowlers to the boundary boards with utmost ease. Under the cauldron of bubbling tensions of chasing a monstrous target, Sachin Tendulkar trying to essay a pull shot and losing his wicket as well as the last wicket of Zaheer Khan caught by Darren Lehmann to end India’s wonderful campaign in despair.

 

A day that was prepared for in a festive manner ended as one of mourning for India © Getty Images
A day that was prepared for in a festive manner ended as one of mourning for India © Getty Images

 

In 2007, it was about the Indian batsmen falling apart against the wily old fox, Muttiah Muralitharan to bow out of the tournament in the first round itself. Even now, while traveling in a an auto rickshaw or standing in a bus-stand, one can hear expert analysis by fans on what went wrong on those two days.

 

Many believed the likes of sachin Tendulkar (centre), Anil Kumble (right), Rahul Dravid blew their last chance of World Cup glory. Only one of them proved it otherwise © Getty Images
Many believed the likes of sachin Tendulkar (centre), Anil Kumble (right), Rahul Dravid blew their last chance of World Cup glory. Only one of them proved it otherwise © Getty Images

 

If we switch our minds back to present,  the current Indian setup playing in ICC World T20 2014 have the experience and the class to overcome the jinx by beating West Indies and passing the trial by fire with flying colours. It won’t be an easy task, as they are up against the defending champions. Windies have the required firepower in the batting line-up to take the game away from the opposition. However ,on slow wickets of Bangladesh, Indian spinners should have their say and trouble the power-hitters in the Windies camp.

 

The Indian players who are about to take the field to stand toe-to-toe with the defending champions may not even think of those defeats that happened all those years ago. But it still haunts fans that on the same day, India lost couple of important games. It is up to the current Indian team to break the jinx and bring smiles to billion Indian fans.

 

ICC World T20 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

 

ICC World T20 2014 Schedule details

 

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)