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India's Champions Trophy moments

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ICC_Champions_Trophy_cricket_logoIndia begins the defense of their title at the Champions Trophy against Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham on the 4th of June. India has the best Win-Loss ratio among all teams in the Champions Trophy and has also won the most matches- 15. 

Most Indian fans will be hoping for a sterling show from their team. While the aim should be to win a match as comprehensively as possible, most spectators enjoy a closely contested game. Here we relive some of the most exciting and nail biting finishes India were involved in Champions trophy history.

India vs Australia, 1st quarter-final, ICC Champions Trophy, Gymkhana Club Ground, Nairobi, 7th October 2000

This was the first quarter-final and Steve Waugh won the toss and elected to field. Prior to this tournament, Sachin Tendulkar had been playing cautiously while opening the batting as opposed to his usual carefree style of going after the bowling. Glenn McGrath was in prime form as usual and Tendulkar made a conscious decision to go after him and upset his rhythm by taking advantage of the field restrictions. Normally, Tendulkar is a calm character who doesn’t respond to sledging even when provoked. However, in this match he gave as good as he got and launched a breath-taking assault on McGrath. He scored a quick free 38 off just 37 balls studded with three fours and three sixes. This provided India a good launching pad.

In India’s previous match against Kenya, a youngster by the name of Yuvraj Singh had made his debut, but did not get a chance to bat. In this match, he made an instant name for himself by playing an audacious innings. He scored 84 off just 80 balls with 12 fours. India’s tail wagged and they posted a respectable score of 265/9 off their 50 overs. Australia had a very poor over rate and had to chase down the target off 48 overs. 

Another youngster who made his debut in the tournament was Zaheer Khan. No Australian batsman made a huge score but they all chipped in with useful contributions to take their team close to the target. The newcomer Zaheer Khan bowled with a lot of pace and fire and was spot on with his yorkers. Australia needed 42 runs off 6 overs with 3 wickets in hand when Steve Waugh went for an expansive drive of Zaheer and was bowled. India won by 20 runs and it gave the team belief that they could go a long way in the tournament. Yuvraj Singh was named the Man of the Match.

India vs South Africa, ICC Champions Trophy, 1st semi-final, R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo, 25th September 2002

In this tournament, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag were opening the batting for India while Tendulkar was shifted to the number 4 position. Sehwag played his customary attacking game and got India off to a blazing start. He scored 59 off just 58 balls, studded with 10 fours, before he was caught by Lance Klusener of the bowling of Jacques Kallis. India suffered a mini-collapse before Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh staged a recovery scoring 49 and 62 respectively. India mustered a total of 261/9 off their 50 overs.

In reply, South Africa lost the early wicket of Graeme Smith, but Herschelle Gibbs and Kallis put India’s attack to the sword. They put on a partnership of 178 for the second wicket. South Africa needed just 70 runs off 13 overs and with 9 wickets in hand looked to be coasting to victory. However, Gibbs had to retire hurt due to injury.  

India came roaring back into the game when Yuvraj took a blinder of a catch at short fine leg to dismiss Jonty Rhodes off Harbhajan Singh. 

There was a sudden flurry of wickets and the pendulum started to swing India’s way. Ganguly shrewdly realized that the wicket was aiding spin and introduced Tendulkar and Sehwag to bowl spin. South Africa needed 15 runs off the last over and Kallis raised their hopes by hoisting Sehwag for a huge six over deep mid-wicket off the first ball. However, Sehwag dismissed him and Klusener and India had won by a margin of 10 runs. 

The old adage that a game of cricket is not over till the last ball is bowled was proved right as India looked out of the game with 13 overs to go. Sehwag was named the Man of the Match.

India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy, Pool Match, Edgbaston, Birmingham, 19th September 2004

Pakistan won the toss and inserted India in to bat. Sachin Tendulkar was not playing in the tournament due to injury and India got off to a horrendous start. They were tottering at 28/3 in the 10th over. The match had a carnival type atmosphere due to the presence of lots of Indian and Pakistani expatriates. Rahul Dravid came to India’s rescue as he so often did throughout his career, with a calm, patient and measured 67. Ajit Agarkar scored a quick fire 47 off just 50 balls and India managed a mini-recovery to post 200 in 49.5 overs.

Irfan Pathan opened the bowling for India and gave them hope of defending the meagre total by skittling out Pakistan’s top order and leave them reeling at 27/3. Most fans from both countries know the pressure of a game between India and Pakistan and at this stage the game was very much in the balance. 

Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana steadied the ship and took Pakistan closer to the target. Pakistan were soon reduced to 152/6 in the 41st over. Shahid Afridi took the wind out of India’s sails by striking Irfan Pathan for two huge sixes. Even though he was soon dismissed, Youhana and Naved-ul-Hasan took Pakistan to victory. Pakistan won by 3 wickets with 4 balls to spare. 

Yousuf Youhana was the Man of the Match for his unbeaten 81. Quite often, low scoring matches are the best to watch from a spectator point of view and this match had both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats with fortunes fluctuating from one side to another.

England vs India, ICC Champions Trophy Final, Edgbaston, Birmingham, 23rd June 2013

Due to rain, the match was reduced to 20 overs a side. England won the toss and inserted India in to bat as it helps to know the target in a shortened match. The pitch was conducive to the pace bowlers and India lost wickets in quick succession and were in deep trouble at 66/5 in 13 overs. They needed a total of at least 120 to make a match of it. Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja struck some lusty blows to give India a semblance of a chance. Kohli scored 43 off 34 balls and Jadeja 33 of 25 to propel India to 129/6 off their 20 overs.

In reply, India’s new ball bowlers came to the party and were accurate taking advantage of the atmospheric conditions. Dhoni pulled off a couple of excellent stumpings and was spot on with his bowling changes and field placements. In the 18th over, Ishant Sharma struck off consecutive deliveries to dismiss Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. 

Ravichandran Ashwin needed to defend 14 runs in the final over and apart from a solitary boundary struck by Stuart Broad, he bowled a tight over and India had won an incredible match by 5 runs. Ravindra Jadeja was the Man of the Match for his all-round display. India won the 7th edition of the Champions Trophy, for the 2nd time in history.

 

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