With India’s 2015 World Cup campaign coming to an end in the semi- finals, we look back at five impressive individual performances by Indians during the course of a memorable journey.
Virat Kohli (107 vs Pakistan at Adelaide): His tournament may have ended in a whimper, but Kohli’s World Cup campaign began on a fabulous note, with yet another century against his favourite rivals. The king of chases was in his elements batting first this time. Kohli scored a patient 107 from 126 balls, and featured in an excellent partnership with Dhawan (76), which set up the match nicely for the team. Kohli hit only eight fours in his innings, but was aided by a quick fifty from Suresh Raina. Kohli’s anchoring took India past 300, and they won the game by 76 runs in the end.
Shikhar Dhawan (137 vs South Africa at Melbourne): If Kohli shone at Adelaide, it was Dhawan’s turn to sizzle at Melbourne. India lost Rohit Sharma for a duck in the match, but Dhawan buoyed by his 76 against Pakistan went on to play a fantastic innings. He hit 137 from 146 balls, an innings that featured 16 fours and 2 sixes. Dhawan’s breezy knock ensured that India again crossed 300. This time, Ajinkya Rahane did what Raina did against Pakistan, with 79 from 60. But, it was Dhawan’s knock that stood out. South Africa crumbled in reply, and India won by 130 runs.
Rohit Sharma (137 vs Bangladesh at Melbourne): The Indian opener finished the league round with only a couple of half-centuries against the minnows, and plenty of disappointments. But, in the quarter-final, he stood up, and made a difference. Although, it must be said he was lucky, to his credit, Sharma made great use of the opportunities, and came up with a fantastic knock. He blasted 137 from 126 balls, a knock that featured 14 fours and three sixes. His knock was instrumental in India crossing 300 yet again. They went on to win the quarter-final by 109 runs.
Mohammed Shami (4 for 35 vs Pakistan at Adelaide): India were defending 300 plus at Adelaide, but they would still have wanted their bowlers to stand up and deliver. Shami did exactly the same to kick off India’s World Cup campaign on a perfect note. He began India’s charge by sending back Younis Khan with a brilliant short ball. He added the scalps of Misbah-ul-Haq, Shahid Afridi and Wahaz Riaz as India skittled Pakistan out for 224.
Suresh Raina (110 not out against Zimbabwe at Auckland): A hundred against Zimbabwe doesn’t count for a lot in international cricket. But, Raina would have been pleased with his effort for sure. India were chasing a challenging 288 courtesy Brendan Taylor, who played the innings of a lifetime against in his farewell match. Raina came in with India having crumbled to 71 for 3. He eased his way to an unbeaten 110 from 104 balls with 9 fours and 4 sixes as the Indians won by six wickets.
--By A Cricket Analyst