A glance at India’s heroes in the last three ODI World Cup semi-finals
The World Cup semi-finals have always been a slightly dicey spot for the Indian cricket team to be in. In the last three ODI World Cups, India have qualified for the semis in all the editions but have won just one of them, which came way back in 2011. It was Sachin Tendulkar who played a crucial role in defining the Indian batting in 2011 but in 2015, India suffered a defeat against Australia and then in 2019, it was the same New Zealand who got the better of the Men in Blue.
Despite going down in the last two semis of the ODI World Cups, India found heroes coming up in numbers to showcase their true class. A tragic hero, maybe, but a hero nonetheless. However, this is not going to be a story of just the fallen heroes. From Sachin to MS Dhoni, here’s a quick look at the Indian heroes in the last three semi-finals of the ODI World Cups.
2011 - Sachin Tendulkar’s heroics kept India sailing in Mohali’s choppy waters
The surface at Mohali prepared for the 2011 semis had a lot of grass and a handful of cracks in it as well that made batting extremely difficult. However, with that being said, Tendulkar always had a special knock of proving to be the personification of defiance, no matter the odds. While the rest of the Indian team struggled to brave the Pakistani bowling unit, it was the Master Blaster who peppered them to the ropes with consummate ease. Sachin’s well-fought 85 helped India post 260 on the board that proved to be a bit too much for their neighbours to chase down.
2015 – MS Dhoni wages a lonely war against a supreme Australia
It was a meek submission from the Men in Blue in the semis but MS Dhoni continued to battle alone and despite cameos coming in handy from the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane, it wasn’t enough for India to stay afloat. Just when everyone felt that the game was about to change with Dhoni battering a couple of momentous sixes, things fell apart for the Indian fans as he was sent back to the pavilion in the very next ball for a warring 65.
2019 - The duo of Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni almost pulled off the unthinkable
Playing on a reserve day with six wickets down for just 92 while chasing 240, no one thought that at the end of the day, a run-out would change the game. India was down and out of the contest and there was no one coming to save them until a certain Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni who came fighting out of the ashes to push the Kiwis back to their den. The duo knitted together a crucial 116-run stand for the seventh wicket as Jaddu fought with a 59-ball-77 while Dhoni was biding his time to provide that grandstand flourish. Unfortunately, before he could launch in the final 10 balls of the innings where India needed 24 runs, his attempt to steal a double proved to be extremely costly as Martin Guptill’s directly hit caught him off guard. It was the last time that the Indian fans would see Dhoni walking out in the Indian colours.