The 1983 World Cup triumph against the West Indies started a new chapter in the history of Indian cricket. The thumping victory also gave the next generations confidence that they can topple opponents even at the grandest of stages.
Ever since the historic win, the men’s team has scaled greater heights, having won the 2011 World Cup at home and the 2007 T20 World Cup on South African soil. The women’s team has also come up the ranks over the last couple of years. The likes of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur and many others have grabbed the headlines through their performances.
But there have also been plenty of instances when both the men’s and women’s unit capitulated in crunch situations. From being in strong positions, they have allowed matches to slip away after being put under pressure.
In the article, let’s take a look at five instances when batting collapses robbed India off defeats: –
1. 2014 Adelaide Test
Prior to the tour of Australia in 2014, India’s most memorable Test victory in Adelaide was in 2003 when Rahul Dravid’s double ton got them over the line. In order to win their second game at the venue, the hosts needed to track down 364.
Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay got their team ever so close with a stand of 185 runs for the third wicket. But then off-spinner Nathan Lyon had other ideas. At a time when India needed 122 runs to win with plenty of overs left on the fifth day, Lyon pinned Vijay on 99. From there on, the visiting team lost eight wickets 72 runs.
Lyon also got Kohli’s prized scalp when the Indian skipper hit one down the throat of Mitchell March after scoring 141 runs. Among the last seven batters in the lineup, only Wriddhiman Saha could get into double digits.
2. 2017 Women’s World Cup final
Having already beaten England in the league stage, India had garnered confidence ahead of their final at the Lord’s Cricket Ground. It showed in their approach as they bowled Heather Knight and Co out for 228.
Thereafter, Poonam Raut’s 86 and Harmanpreet Kaur’s 51 made the Women in Blue the favourites going into the last 10 overs of their run-chase. In the last 44 balls, India needed 38 runs. Most importantly, they had seven wickets in hand. But Raut’s dismissal off Anya Shrubsole triggered a massive batting collapse.
Shrubsole kept pushing India on the back, picking up a six-wicket haul. The speedster, earlier, also got rid of Smriti Mandhana for a duck. Alex Hartley picked two wickets and gave Shrubsole support. India lost by nine runs, losing their last seven wickets for 28 runs.
3. 1997 Barbados Test
Before their third Test in the 1997 series against the West Indies, India had lost five of their six matches at the Bridgetown in Barbados. Having not won a single game, the pressure was on them, but Sachin Tendulkar and Co gave themselves a realistic chance to register their maiden win.
The visiting team needed 120 to script history, but luck had something gruesome in store for them. Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop and Franklin Rose ran riot and bowled India out for 81 in 35.5 overs.
Even as Bishop picked up four wickets, Ambrose and Rose got three wickets each. For India, barring VVS Laxman, who scored 19, none of the batters could get into double figures. The batsmen never got the measure of the conditions and opposition bowling and kept perishing one after the other.
4. 2020 women’s tri-series final
India women’s batting depth has been an issue and Australia exposed them again in the 2020 tri-series final. At the Junction Oval in Melbourne, Harmanpreet Kaur and Co got themselves on the driver’s seat courtesy Smriti Mandhana’s 37-ball 66.
In the last 34 balls, India required 41 runs with seven wickets in hand. Then charged in Jess Jonassen and changed the complexion of the game. The left-arm spinner guided her team to a 11-run victory with a spell of 4-0-12-5.
Fast bowler Megan Schutt got rid of Mandhana after which the middle and lower order didn’t have much clue about Jonassen. Taniya Bhatia, coming at number 10, smacked a couple of fours, but she couldn’t save the day for her team. Skipper Kaur and Deepti Sharma perished after scoring 14 and 10 respectively.
5. 1996 world cup semi-final
India’s match against Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup semi-final turned out to be a controversial one. After the hosts elected to field first, Mohammad Azharuddin’s men restricted Lanka to 251 for eight. In the run-chase, the Men in Blue were motoring along at 99 for two.
Opening batter Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 65 off 88 with nine fours with Sanjay Manjrekar as his partner with 25 runs. But then, the Men in Blue lost the plot completely. They lost seven wickets for 22 runs and from a position of command, India were staring down the barrel.
The crowd at the venue got restless with the fall of every wicket and the people started throwing cans, bottles and plastic bags on the field of play. The crowd behaviour turned out to be uncontrollable and the Lankans were awarded the game.
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