The eighth edition of the Champions Trophy is just around the corner, and the cricket fraternity would be relieved at the prospect of the tournament progressing without any hassles after the confirmation of India's participation in the tournament.
The 'Mini World Cup', as it is popularly known, returns this year after it was originally supposed to have been scrapped off after the 2013 edition, in which India triumphed under the leadership of MS Dhoni by defeating hosts England in a closely-fought final. India, as a result of that victory, currently are the joint-most successful side in the history of the competition alongside Australia, with both teams winning it twice.
For the Indian team, whose recent calendar was dominated by Test cricket and the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the mega-event would mark their return to the 50-over format. They begin their campaign against Pakistan on 4 June in a blockbuster encounter at the Edgbaston in Birmingham. That will be followed by clashes against Sri Lanka and South Africa on 8 and 11 June respectively in their remaining Group B matches. Hosts England face Bangladesh in the opening game of the tournament.
In our build-up to the tournament, in which we have taken a look at the top spells, and have revisited some of the previous editions such as the inaugural one in 1998, and we take a look at some of the most memorable innings' in the history of the Champions Trophy, arranged in chronological order:
Sachin Tendulkar, 141, India vs Australia at Dhaka, quarter-final, 1998:
The year 1998 was one that truly belonged to the 'Master Blaster'. From his domination of the Australians in the Test format in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the turn of the year, to the historic ‘Desert Storm’ knocks at Sharjah, all of which are cherished memories of Indian cricket fans.
This was a game in which Tendulkar stood above everyone else both with bat and ball. Coming in to bat at a time when India lost the wickets of Sourav Ganguly and Mohammad Azharuddin quite early in the innings, Tendulkar took on the Damien Fleming-led attack to crack a 128 off 141 balls to setup a winning total of 307/8. He then bamboozled the Australian batsmen with a mixture of off-breaks and leg-breaks to capture 4/38, and capitulate Australia for 263.
Chris Cairns, 102 not out, India vs New Zealand, final, 2000:
India, getting used to the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly after the storm of the match-fixing scandal, performed admirably throughout the tournament. They brushed aside the top dogs in Australia and South Africa, hammering the latter by 95 runs. The captain himself was in brilliant form, which he carried over to the final against New Zealand as his 117 guided to a competitive 264.
The Black Caps were nearly down and out when regular loss of wickets, thanks to a destructive spell by Venkatesh Prasad, saw them in a spot of bother at 132/5. That’s when all-rounder Cairns, who had played the entire tournament in pain after failing to fully recover from an injury, hit an unbeaten, match-winning century to guide New Zealand to their only ICC title till date. His was a resolute innings under pressure, and his partnership with Chris Harris (46), helped bring the Kiwis back to their feet.
Virender Sehwag, 126, India vs England, group stage, 2002:
Going back to Ganguly’s captaincy, 2002 was a positive year for Indian cricket. Not only did India register their famous win over England in the NatWest Tri-series final, but they went on to finish as joint runners-up alongside Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy that took place a couple of months later.
India sealed their spot in the semi-final after demolishing England by eight wickets by making a mockery out of the 270-run target. And it wouldn't quite have been as easy for India had it not been for the bulldozing that Sehwag subjected the English bowlers to that evening. While Ganguly was going steady at the other end, Sehwag went hammer and tongs in his own manner.
The Indian captain had barely crossed his half-century when the 'Nawab of Najafgarh' was finally dismissed, departing after putting up a quickfire 126, which contained 21 boundaries and a six. Sehwag essentially had laid the foundation for India to get to the target with ease, and Ganguly led from the front after his departure, helping himself to a century as well.
Shane Watson, 105 not out, Australia vs New Zealand, final, 2009:
‘Watto’, by then an established all-rounder in the Australian setup, got off to a poor start in the tournament with consecutive ducks against West Indies and India, followed by a below-par 24 against Pakistan. While he was an economical option with the ball, he needed to get back to his batting form in order to reaffirm his credentials as a genuine all-rounder.
Watson could not have picked a better occasion to get back among the runs than the semi-final, smashing an unbeaten 136 against arch-rivals England, forging an unbroken 252-run stand to setup an easy win. However, it was another unbeaten century in the finale that is worth mentioning in this list.
With both fellow opener Tim Paine and skipper Ricky Ponting departing for identical scores of 1, Australia were in the dire straits while chasing a modest 201-run target. Watson did not have the support of Ponting either in this chase to ease things for him. He did, however, lead the counter-attack with Cameron White, and continued to carry the torch for the title holders after White’s dismissal for 62, ultimately getting them over the line with six wickets and a little under five overs to spare.
Shikhar Dhawan, India vs South Africa, group stage, 2013:
Dhawan may have made his international debut back in 2010, but it was only in 2013 that he started making headlines.
It all began with his breathtaking 187 on debut against Australia on Test debut in Mohali. He then carried his Test success over to the 50-over format later that summer, topping the run-charts in the Champions Trophy and being adjudged the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for the same.
In India’s lung-opener, in which they were up against Graeme Smith’s South Africa, Dhawan was the main aggressor in the 126-run opening stand, as he went on to notch up his maiden ODI hundred in that game. With 12 fours and a six in a scintillating display, Dhawan set the base for the match-winning total of 331, which South Africa would fall short of by 26 runs.
Updated Date: May 29, 2017 14:41 PM