Champions Trophy is back, and we are back to cheering our lungs out for Team India. It certainly won’t be a walk in the park, but considering the depth in Indian team, we think Virat Kohli’s men stand a good chance of victory.
The tournament started in 1998, and has turned up many nailbiting encounters that were better than a good thriller. Let’s take a look at few such epic matches.
The England team would have found this defeat a bitter pill to swallow, mainly because they played brilliantly throughout the match but choked towards the end. The game was reduced to a T20 because of rain, and India didn’t do themselves any good by posting a paltry 129. England started their innings shakily, but the ship was steadied by some good batting by Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara. Then, Ishant Sharma bowled a superb 18th over and sent both Morgan and Bopara back to the pavilion in consecutive deliveries. In the end, England were 5 runs short of India’s total.
Another final that had us gripped to our seats, was the India vs New Zealand final match in 2000. A superb century from Sourav Ganguly was in vain, as Chris Cairns saw his side home in a tense last over finish. The highlight of the chase was the sixth wicket partnership between Cairns and Chris Harris (worth 122 runs) that came at a crucial time.
Who doesn’t like last-ball finishes? This match was a treat for neutrals, but for someone supporting West Indies, it was a nightmare. South Africa needed 13 runs off the final over (they were fined an over for slow over-rate), and they couldn’t ask for a better first ball which was dispatched for a six by Shaun Pollock. The over also saw the fall of two crucial wickets (Pollock and Lance Klusener), but South Africa sealed the victory by a wonderful boundary off the last ball.
We really hope that the upcoming India vs Pakistan is of a similar level. This one will go down in history as one of the greatest India vs Pakistan encounters ever. India set a modest total of 200, with Pakistan’s Naved Ul Hasan playing the wrecker-in-chief as he took four key wickets for just 25 runs. Pakistan had to work hard to chase down even that, and three wickets fell with just 27 runs on the board. Then Yousuf Youhana and Inzamam Ul Haq formed a key partnership worth 75 runs to tilt the match in Pakistan’s favour. In the end, Pakistan chased down the target with just 4 balls to spare.
A heartbreaking match for any Pakistani fan, Australia snatched victory fron jaws of defeat and won the match by 2 wickets in the last ball. At one point though, Australia were cruising at 140 for 2. However, a batting collapse happened and they needed 19 to win with just two wickets in hand. Thankfully for them, Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz kept their cool and scored those runs. This was one of the rare matches where Indians supported Pakistan, since Australia’s victory would have led to their exit. Which was what happened.
Hopefully, this edition of Champions Trophy throws up a few more of such tense matches.
Featured Image Courtesy: ICC’s Facebook Page