After completing a 94-run victory, the rejuvenated Indians proceeded to demolish Sri Lanka in their next game. The association between Dravid and Tendulkar stood as a record for precisely one match, for against the holders, Sourav Ganguly (183 off 158 balls with 16 fours and seven
sixes) and Dravid (145) strung together a partnership of 318 runs off 45 overs for the second wicket – the highest stand for any wicket in ODIs. A total of 373 for six in 50 overs – the second highest in the World Cup – was the springboard for a 157-run victory and India were firmly back on track. They did not look back and with a comfortable 63-run victory over England in their final league match the Indians qualified for the Super Six finishing second to South Africa in the
But the joy associated with the Indians’ entry was a bit diluted since they carried forward zero points. The six qualifiers carried forward points and net run rate gained against fellow Super Six qualifiers but not those gained against teams eliminated at the preliminary stage.
Having lost to both South Africa and Zimbabwe, the two other qualifiers from the group, India were at a distinct disadvantage and probably would have to win all their three Super Six matches against Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand to make it to the semifinals. This was going
to be a tough task and India faltered at the very first step when they lost to Australia by 77 runs.
In pursuit of a target of 283, India lost four wickets for 17 and all that a fighting 100 not out by Ajay Jadeja and his fifth-wicket partnership of 141 runs with Robin Singh (75) could do was to delay the inevitable. A 47-run victory over Pakistan – their third successive success against their arch-rivals in the competition – provided hardly any comfort and their campaign ended limply with New Zealand winning by five wickets. India, in fact, finished at the bottom of the Super Six table with two points.
If it was any consolation, the Indians put up some of the best individual performances in the tournament, the batting being particularly spectacular. The high totals and the record partnerships
underscored this. Among the run-getters Dravid with 461 runs finished top of the heap while Ganguly (379) was not far behind. Dravid got two hundreds (Saeed Anwar was the only other batsman to emulate this feat) while Ganguly’s 183 was the top score in the tournament and the second highest in the history of the competition.
Venkatesh Prasad (against Pakistan) and Robin Singh (against Sri Lanka) were among the few bowlers to notch up five-wicket hauls. Nayan Mongia had five dismissals behind the stumps against Zimbabwe to equal the ODI record. But as a team there is no doubt that India failed to live up to the usual high expectations.