Comebacks are never easy but brave warriors or outfits make these a habit. A good performance during normal times counts for nothing if in adversity the same is elusive. Some people tend to give up the moment they come across certain obstacles, however for some they offer opportunities to showcase their true characters. In cricket also we have seen several teams making their way back from impossible scenarios and some moments simply refuse to fade from our memories. As India’s NatWest triumph in England 2002 completed 19 years yesterday, it is time to focus on a similar historic fightback in the history of Indian cricket. These are special in many ways as they spawned a new template for chasing excellence by defying insurmountable odds.
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Prudential Cup, 1983, India VS Zimbabwe
First of all, it has to be mentioned that Zimbabwe were no pushovers then as they had a competent squad back in the ’80s. Kapil Dev-led India had to win the match to remain relevant in the World Cup further and the venue was Tunbridge Wells. However, Kapil’s devils got off to the worst possible start with the scoreline reading 17/5 as all the established batsmen were back in the dressing room. Even a total of 100 looked like a miracle. But, Kapil Dev Nikhanj, the gutsy Haryana lad, had other plans. He smashed Zimbabwe bowlers all around the park and scored a mammoth, undefeated 175, helping India post a competitive total of 266/8. India not only won this match but also lifted the world cup by beating the mighty Windies in the final of the prestigious tournament.
Sharjah Cup, 1998, India VS Australia
This knock is also known as the Desert Storm of Sachin Tendulkar. India had to chase down a huge score of 284 posted by Australia and this was before the advent of players like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli as the men in blue did not have the distinction of being the great chasers. However, this is where Sachin unleashed his magic and scored a majestic 143 runs and helped India reach the final, which also they won. Chasing a truncated 276 from 46 overs, India could manage only 250 but got to the last hurdle on the basis of a better net run rate. No wonder, Australian captain Steve Waugh said that our side lost only to Sachin, not to India.
Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2001, India VS Australia
This is a Test match and it cannot be ignored while chronicling the great Indian comebacks as it prepared the team for greater glories ahead. In the year 2001, Australia were in India for a bilateral series involving three Tests and five ODIs. India lost the first Test in Mumbai and they had to win this one at Kolkata to stay alive in this series. However, it was downhill for the team, to begin with as they were dismissed for a meagre 171 against OZ’s competitive 445 in the first essay. The skipper Steve Waugh enforced the follow on and again India lost wickets in a hurry, including the prized scalp of Sachin. At 232/4 the match was going away from the hand of India but VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid stitched together a partnership of 376 for the fifth wicket and helped India outclass the Aussies. The rest as they say is…..
Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2021, India VS Australia
This series will remain etched in the memory of cricket fans forever. The situation was very critical as India lost their first day&night Test following a dramatic collapse in Adelaide and there was no Virat for the rest of the series. Ajinkya Rahane captaining the side in the absence of Virat had his task cut out for the match being held in Melbourne. However, in a departure from the usual norm, India started off very well by bowling out the Aussies for a paltry 195. Then the visitors posted a competitive 326, thanks to Rahane’s century, and dismissed the Oz for a meagre 200 in the second innings and won the match by chasing down 70 with the loss of two wickets. This victory, after the hiding they got in the day and night Test, gave the team the self-belief that Australia can be humbled at their own den, they did the same with elan.