There is something about comebacks. Whenever one feels that his side is down-and-out, something happens out of the extraordinary and one is left gobsmacked after witnessing it. The feeling of retaliation is enough for any individual to get hooked at the edge of his seat and making him forget everything around him.
One cannot afford to miss even a millisecond of his favourite team scripting an iconic comeback into the game. Any individual can feel numb, excited, gobsmacked, thrilled, emotional at the same time after witnessing such enthraling moments in the game. That’s just raw emotion and Indian fans went through it on Wednesday as Virat Kohli and Co. thumped New Zealand in a nail-biting thriller; which culminated with Rohit Sharma winning it for India with two consecutive sixes in the Super Over.
Hence, on this occasion, we walk down memory lane and relive some of the epic come-from-behind victories that Team India pulled off successfully.
Here’s the list of Five times Team India scripted memorable wins from the brink of defeat:
5. South Africa choke again in a low-scoring nerve-jangler
Occasion: 2nd ODI of the 5-match series, 2011; India won by 1 run
Low scoring nerve-jangler and an eventual South African collapse! Now, we have seen that on numerous occasions, haven’t we? Remember that 1999 tied World Cup semi-final against Australia where South Africa needed just a solitary run from the last four balls and they insinuated a choke at epic proportions? The Proteas did that again twelve years later in the second match of the 5-game series against the visiting Indians.
Batting first, India, despite a brilliant half-century from Yuvraj Singh [53 off 68 balls] were bowled out for 190 in 47.2 overs as Lunwabo Tsotsobe wrecked through their famed batting-unit, notching up figures of 4-22 in ten overs. Chasing 191, Graeme Smith held the fort with a brilliant 77 off 98 balls, and for the longest time, the result of the game looked like a foregone conclusion. Expect, it wasn’t.
Munaf Patel [4-29] claimed the all-important wicket of Graeme Smith for 77 but with South Africa needing just 39 runs to win and five wickets still in their bag, India needed one of the two things to happen: A brilliant game-changing spell from one of their bowlers or a South African choke. In the end, it was a bit of both as the Proteas, in what can only be termed as an incredible brain-fade, lost their last five wickets for a mere 37 runs, with Munaf Patel running through the tale to give India an unthinkable win.
4. Shrewd Dhoni outthinks England to script a come-from-behind win
Occasion: ICC Champions Trophy final, 2013; India won by 5 runs
Another one of those games where India looked to be dead and buried for the longest time before MS Dhoni conjured up some magic to script a turnaround for the ages. It was the final of the 2013 Champions Trophy played in a 20-over-a-side affair after the rain had threatened to turn the entire affair into a damp squib for almost 7 hours.
When the game finally got underway, India found themselves in a lot of trouble with their top-order falling in a heap to Ravi Bopara [3-20] and James Anderson [1-24]. At 5-66, India needed someone to get them to a competitive total and they found that someone in the form of Virat Kohli [43 off 34 balls] and Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a whirlwind 25-ball 33 to take the total to 7-129 after 20 overs.
India needed early wickets to have any chance of defending a total of 129. But, even though they reduced England to 4-46 in 8.4 overs, Eoin Morgan  and Ravi Bopara  managed to break free. The duo accumulated 64 runs for the fifth wicket and by the time Morgan was tonking Ishant for nonchalant sixes, the equation had already been reduced to 20 off just 16 deliveries.
But, as they say, it ain’t over under its over. And, MS Dhoni certainly didn’t think so that it was over. He took the punt of asking Ishant to bowl the slow bouncer and placed the fielder at short square-leg. Incredibly, both Morgan and Bopara took the bait and failed miserably as on both occasions Ravi Ashwin claimed the catch at the same position for precisely that attempted pull.
All of sudden, England were reduced to 6-110. The pressure got to the hosts and it was testified in the very next over when Buttler’s stumps were completely bamboozled by Jadeja and to top it all, Tim Bresnan ran himself out in a comical manner.
With five required off the last ball, England needed James Tradewell to do a Javed Miandad to India. But, he didn’t as he missed the ball by a mile and so did Dhoni, but he was too excited and pumped to care about it. It was jail-break of epic proportions; one that paved way for yet another triumph for MS Dhoni- the leader and heartbreak for England.
3. Misbah-ul-Haq again bottles the run-chase
Occasion: ICC T20 World Cup 2007, Group Stage encounter; India won via bowl out
The 2007 T20 World Cup is arguably one of the best-ever global ICC events of the 21st century. And, I’m not saying that because India won the whole damn thing- to an extent, yes- but because of so many marquee moments that the tournament threw up.
Yuvraj’s six sixes off Stuart Broad, Zimbabwe’s incredible win over Australia, yet another South African choke, the eventual India-Pakistan final and that Misbah-ul-Haq‘s fatal scoop off Joginder Sharma are some of the many moments that no cricket fan can ever forget. But how can one forget that bowl-out between India and Pakistan in the league-stage where the eventual scoreline (3-0) looked more like a soccer endgame tally than that of cricket.
India eventually won the bowl-out with Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and Robin Uthappa hitting bulls-eye even as their counterparts missed the stumps by a country mile. After restricting India to 9-141 in 20 overs, the Men in Green, despite losing wickets at regular intervals, looked prime to overhauling the target with Misbah Ul Haq holding together their run-chase.
But, there was something with Misbah, final over, low-scoring potboilers and India. Every time he was faced with that situation, he threatened to be Pakistan’s hero for the longest time before eventually fizzling out in the end. He did that in the finals but that wasn’t the first time.
The first time it happened was in the league-stage fixture where after hammering Sreesanth for two boundaries in the first four balls, he failed to get a single of the remaining two deliveries and got run-out in the process paving way for an eventual tie and a subsequent Indian win.
2. Shami’s yorker and Rohit’s nonchalance trumps Kane Williamson’s masterclass
Occasion: 3rd T20I of the 5-match series, 2020; India won via Super-Over
There is something about New Zealand, Ian Smith and Super-Overs and Wednesday’s encounter was just another example of it. But, how did the game go there in the first place? Chasing 180, Kane Williamson [95 off 48 balls] was playing like a Ferrari on a highway. He had taken India’s best bowler- world’s best white-ball bowler- Jasprit Bumrah to the cleaners, was hitting the ball like a dream; had racked up his highest-ever T20I score and most number of sixes in a single innings in the shortest format and had reduced the target to 2 off just 3 balls when he was eventually dismissed by Mohammed Shami.
But, New Zealand still found a way to tie the game. With just a single required off the final delivery, Shami, who had previously bowled back-of-a-length deliveries in the over, switched to Plan A and nailed a brute of a yorker against Ross Taylor. The match ended in a tie, and once again it was Ian Smith calling the shots in the commentary box.
Jasprit Bumrah’s bad day in the office was testified to the hilt when Williamson and Guptill hammered 17 runs off him in the Super-Over. India needed 17 to enforce another Super-Over but with the first four deliveries yielding ten runs, even that was out of the picture.
Rohit Sharma, who had played so brilliantly in the actual game, survived a definite run-out chance on the very first ball of the Super-Over when Tim Siefert failed to collect the ball. And, Rohit made the Kiwis pay for it. With 10 required off the last 2 deliveries, he nailed Southee for back-to-back sixes, paving way for yet another iconic anecdote from the legendary Ian Smith –“He hits big, he hits too big. He’s done it! Sharma has done it! India is delirious. Unbelievable scenes of joy again and New Zealand have to go down on their knees and suffer once more.”
#1 MS Dhoni’s leadership trumps Bangaldesh’s inexperience
Occasion: ICC T20 World Cup 2016, Group-stage fixture; India won by 1 run
Ask any Bangladeshi fan what is the most cherished moment of their cricketing history, the instant reply will be that 2007 World Cup fixture where they shocked their big brothers India with a thumping victory at the Port of Spain, one that eventually paved way for the Men in Blue’s first-round exit.
Ask them, the most heartbreaking moment, and the opposition would be the same- India. And, quite incredibly both occasions featured Mushfiqur Rahim; just that they were on extreme ends of the spectrum. While the 2007 win was a moment of incredible joy for Mushfiqur and the whole of Bangladesh, the 2016 loss in the ICC World T20 fixture in was nothing short of a heartbreak.
But Mushfiqur and Bangladesh had themselves to break that day. Chasing 7-146, Mushfqiur had nailed Hardik Pandya for back-to-back boundaries to reduce the equation to 2 runs off 4 balls. But instead of getting the job done with singles, Mushfiqur went for the glory shot.
He wanted to nail Pandya’s low full-toss outside the ground but instead, he found out a Shikhar Dhawan in the deep. The next batsmen did the same and Dhoni had preempted it. A shrewd captain that Dhoni was, he placed Jadeja at deep mid-wicket instead of Dhawan and asked Pandya to bowl low full-toss.
Mahmudullah took the bait, went for the shot but couldn’t get past Jadeja, who took a brilliant diving catch. Mahmudullah’s wicket brought the equation down to 1 of 1. Bangladesh would have run regardless of whether the batsman connected with the ball or not.
But, little did they know that Dhoni had once again preempted it. He took one of his gloves out, asked Pandya to bowl a back-of-a-length delivery wide outside off-stump, the batsman missed and then proceeded to pull out his ‘Usain Bolt’ moniker to out-run the batsmen, giving India an unthinkable, an unfathomable 1-run win.
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