In the 1979 ODI World Cup, India lost all their matches and yet gave a very consistent performance to win 6/8 matches in the very next one in 1983 to win the tournament. In the process they ended the 8-year-reign of the formidable West Indies.
After two years in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket (dubbed the mini World Cup), India were favourites and won all their matches in the league with comfort, won the semi-finals easily and triumphed in the final, which happened to be a low-scoring affair.
Now here’s the action replay…
In the 2007 ODI World Cup, India lost all their matches and yet gave a very consistent performance to win 7/9 matches in the very next one in 2011 to win the tournament. In the process they ended the 12-year-reign of the formidable Australians.
After two years in the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy (dubbed the mini World Cup) India were favourites and won all their matches in the league with comfort, won the semi-finals easily and triumphed in the final, which happened to be a low-scoring affair.
Howzat for history repeating itself?
However, in terms of overall consistency, and triumphing in all facets of the game, this probably could be called the most comprehensive. It is quite rare for India to emerge on top in all departments including even fielding and pace!
Victories: We won 2/2 of our practice matches and 5/5 of our main matches. The margins of all these matches in the run-up to the final were convincing: 5 wickets, 243 runs, 26 runs, 8 wickets, 8 wickets and 8 wickets respectively.
The final was the icing on the cake where we defended a paltry score of 129 in 20 overs.
Captaincy: Once again captain MS Dhoni was spot on with his field placements and bowling changes. Dhoni keeps going against the wisdom of commentators and seems to get away with it. It is time to acknowledge that Dhoni has great acumen.
Spin department: Sir Ravindra Jadeja emerged as the bowler of the tournament and got the Golden Ball. His 12 wickets were crucial and he also became the man of the match in the final. R Ashwin wasn’t far behind and took 8 wickets. This was one of India’s best spin performances on British soil.
Pace department: The semi-final was a surreal experience. It was mesmerizing to see the pace troika of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav hunt in a pack. The Sri Lankans couldn’t score off them and their economy rates were 3.66, 2 and 3.75 respectively.
Sharma returned to form and picked up 10 wickets and a man of the match award.
Openers: It’s risky to experiment with a new opening partnership in a major tournament but that didn’t deter Dhoni. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma surprised everyone by giving back to back century partnerships followed by back to back half-century partnerships.
Even in the final, Dhawan hit a fighting 31 to ensure India didn’t go in for a total collapse.
Batting: Dhawan scored a brutal 363 runs at an average of 91 to get the Golden Bat and man of the series award. Virat Kohli and Rohit were also among the top five batsmen in terms of amassing runs.
India continued to be dependent on Kohli as he top scored with 43 in the final.
Fielding: This was undoubtedly the fielding side of the tournament and maybe the best Indian one of all time. Runs were saved, difficult catches were taken and sharp run outs effected.
Suresh Raina took six catches, the highest in the tournament. Ashwin took three crucial catches in the final.
Wicket-keeping: India topped all the statistics of the tournament. Dhoni effected 9 dismissals and was electric behind the stumps.
One must say that England is India’s favourite destination for achieving impossible odds.
In 1983, they defended a paltry score of 183 in the final to beat the mighty West Indies and win the ODI World Cup.
In 2002, in the NatWest series final while chasing a target of 326, India was 146-5 at one stage and still won.
In 2013, they won the ICC Champions Trophy despite posting a highly modest score of 129 in 2 overs.
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/