No team has ever won a championship without overcoming adversity in at least one game. While there are always favorites to win a competition, and ability is a must, what is even more important is the will—a strong attitude that refuses to give up even in the face of failure. India has won three World Cups, two in the 50-over format and one in the 20-over format, but none of them have been without the threat of losing it on the last day. Even in events when they did not win, they were able to win some incredible games.
When the squad is under pressure, you learn a lot about a player’s character. When it’s one-way traffic, players aren’t put to the test as much as when it’s two-way traffic, but when the whips are cracking, it’s a test of not just your abilities as a player, but also your temperament.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011’s quarter-final
In their chase of a goal of 261, India had lost half their side in the 38th over. The equation was almost a run per ball, which was not a major concern, but the fact that Australia possessed three express fast bowlers and India’s no. 7 bowler was a major concern. Suresh Raina was vulnerable to pace and bounce, but Australia had the advantage. Raina, on the other hand, handled the short balls admirably in that game. India advanced to the semi-finals thanks to a match-winning combination between Yuvraj Singh and Raina.
India vs Pakistan 2007 Final
This is the competition in which Dhoni’s courage as a skipper was showcased. A fiery Umar Gul tore India apart, taking three wickets and allowing only 28 runs in the process, limiting India to 157 runs. Imran Nazir came out firing and played so well that many people felt the match would be finished by the 15th over. The penultimate over was the deciding factor. Pakistan needed 13 runs from it but only had one wicket. Despite having a fantastic game, Joginder Sharma was given the last over, which surprised many. And Indian supporters feared the worst when Misbah struck Sharma for a six in the second ball of the over. However, Misbah tried the scoop on the following ball and lost his wicket, giving India the victory they so richly earned.
India vs England, 2017
In the series opener, India lost four wickets for just 63 runs while chasing a 351-run mark. Four of India’s top five batsmen had returned to the pavilion, and the situation appeared to be hopeless from there. Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav, on the other hand, had different plans. They both got hundreds and put on a 200-run stand for the 5th wicket in just 147 balls. Despite the fact that Kohli and Jadhav were dismissed after reaching their hundreds, Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin completed the task for India, with Pandya staying unbeaten on 40.
Natwest Trophy Final, 2002
The men in blue were pursuing a 327-run target against England when they lost half their team for a score of only 146. With just Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif remaining, the equation had been reduced to 181 runs in 26 overs. Both were young players with little expectation of them at the time, but the way they battled in a difficult situation demonstrated their character and drive. While Yuvraj was bowled in the middle of the chase for 69, Kaif led the pursuit to victory with an unbeaten 87, and India won by two wickets.
India vs Pakistan group stage 2007
India’s comeback in the World Cup is the mother of all comebacks. By probably the most exciting match these two teams have ever played—and the closest Pakistan has ever come to defeating their arch-rival. Misbah-ul-Haq made it appear as though Pakistan would coast to victory at one stage. Pakistan did approach the line, but they were unable to cross it, and the game finished in a draw. India has never lost a game in which they were on the defensive most of the time. Pakistan missed the stumps on all three occasions in the bowl out, but India struck them all three times, giving India the victory.