Ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be held in England from May 30 to July 14, here’s a recap of how past Indian teams have fared at the World Cup.
Prudential World Cup 1975
India were beaten in two of three matches, managing to defeat only East Africa (composed of players from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) for their first ODI win. It was in this World Cup that Sunil Gavaskar batted 174 balls to score 36 not out.
Kapil’s India arrived in England in 1983 without expectations. In two World Cups they had beaten only East Africa and lost to Sri Lanka, a team yet to be granted Test status. What unfolded was a magical and memorable journey that culminated in a historic day at Lord’s, one that put India on the map and forever changed the course of the 50-over game.
India, with just 17 wins in their first nine years of playing ODI cricket, were considered fortunate to just be at a World Cup final. What transpired under Kapil’s captaincy made cricket a global sport.
Reliance World Cup 1987
Now defending champions, India won five of seven matches in the 1987 World Cup which they co-hosted. One of them was the semi-final against England, the other to eventual winners Australia by one run.
A shaky start to the World Cup in England meant that India were always playing catch-up. Defeats to South Africa and then Zimbabwe were followed by their first win, over Kenya, in which Sachin Tendulkar hit a memorable hundred after his father’s death.
Now captained by Ganguly, the Indian team’s campaign, barring the final, was the stuff of dreams. Having lost to Australia early on, India strung together a memorable run of 10 wins from 12 matches until they ran into Ricky Ponting’s team again.
The fast bowling was overall very efficient and the batsmen lived up to expectations. Their win over Pakistan was one for the ages and extended their dominance over their geographical neighbours to a fourth World Cup. In short, India were too good for everyone bar Australia.
Sachin Tendulkar swept the Man-of-the-Series prize for his 673 runs in 11 matches.
Needing to win their next two matches to stay alive, Dravid’s team smashed minnows Bermuda and then lost to Sri Lanka to crash out.
ICC World Cup 2011
India came into the World Cup billed as favourites and duly lived up to those expectations, though their captain MS Dhoni admitted after it was over that the entire team had been twisted into knots of anxiety due to the pressure.
Dhoni’s team beat Bangladesh, tied with England, beat Ireland and Netherlands, lost to South Africa and beat West Indies to enter the knockouts.
In the quarter-finals, India overcame defending champions Australia to set up a tantalising semi-final in Mohali. There, they stifled Pakistan’s challenge to set up an all-Asia final in Mumbai. The grand finale, played out in front of a spanking new Wankhede Stadium with politicians and Bollywood’s glitterati in attendance, saw India beat Sri Lanka to lift the World Cup trophy after a 28-year gap.
ICC World Cup 2015
Dhoni’s team entered the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand in the middle or poor form but transformed themselves, thanks largely to the fast bowlers. Seven wins in a row took India into the knock-outs, where they lost to eventual winners Australia in the SCG semi-final.
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