#WontGiveItBack was the caption with which our World Cup campaign was promoted on Star Sports India & other Social Media platforms. We played fierce, competitive & ruthless Cricket throughout the World Cup winning 7 out of 7 games. Our form prior to the World Cup was poor to say the least. We were not able to win a single game in the entire Australian Tour which consisted of 4 Tests followed by a Tri-Series involving England. Leave alone Australia Indian Team was even defeated by England twice in the Tri-Series which was a major concern for all Indian Cricket lovers.
To make matter worse for Indian Teams & its fans our opening encounter in the World Cup was with our archrivals Pakistan against whom we enjoyed a winning record of “5-0” in World Cups. After looking at India’s performance against Australia & England plenty of fans even made statements like “Forget the World Cup just win against Pakistan and it will be like winning World Cup for us”. Finally historical day arrived on a glorious Sunday on 15th Feb 2015 at Adelaide & Team India really played like champs to defeat Pakistan convincingly. Fans were ecstatic & post match celebrations were of the nature as if India has already won the World Cup. Even I celebrated by drinking two bottles of Budweiser (My loyal Brand of Beer).
Virat Kohli scored a swashbuckling century along with Mohammad Shami who picked up 4 Pakistani wickets were heroes in India’s victory against Pakistan. India’s next match was against the strong South African side who were considered as tournament favorites along with Australia. However Team India floored the Proteas at the Packed MCG courtesy brilliant hundred by Shikhar Dhawan & classy 79 by Ajinkya Rahane which allowed India to post 307. Chasing this huge target South Africa folded out for 177 due to some brilliant bowling by R.Ashwin who claimed 3 South African wickets & some spectacular fielding added to South African downfall.
Team India made an easy meal of minnows UAE in their next encounter before making a heavy weather of the mediocre Target of 182 set by West Indies in their next match at Perth. Captain Cool Mahindra Singh Dhoni in partnership with his CSK Teammate Ravichandran Ashwin guided India to an easy victory against the Team from Caribbean. Having already qualified for the Quarter finals India’s next 2 encounters were against the minnows Ireland & Zimbabwe. To retain their Number One position in Group India needed to win both the games which they did in style. So as the Group stage came to an end, Indian Fans who had written off Team India before the tournament now started believing that Team India can defend the World Cup Trophy.
Since India topped their group we had a luxury of playing Bangladesh in quarter final. Bangladesh are no pushovers and which team would know it better than India who were knocked out of 2007 World Cup because of shock defeat by Bangladesh in group stages. Bangladesh was playing some good cricket in World Cup & deserved to qualify for the Knock-Outs. They beat England in a crucial game & also gave tough fight to favorites New Zealand. #RiseOfTheTigers hashtag was justified and was trending ferociously on Social Media platforms. However India in spite of being in some trouble against the Tigers when they were reduced to 115/3 in 28 overs managed to post 302 because of sublime hundred by Rohit Sharma. Target was too much for Bangladesh and they were folded for 193 in 45 overs courtesy Umesh Yadav’s 4 wicket haul.
After remaining unbeaten & claiming 70 wickets in 7 matches stage was set for a Semi-Final showdown against the dangerous Aussies at SCG on 26th March. Whole India was on Holiday to watch the match & it was Sea of Blue at SCG as if it was a home game for India. Many Cricket pundits were of the opinion that India can beat Australia because of their current form. Even Aussies were a bit nervous going into the match. However, Australia displayed a clinical performance and shattered the dreams of millions of Indians as they thrashed India by 95 Runs. Batting first Australia riding on brilliance of Steven Smith & Aaron FInch posted a mammoth target of 328. Chasing 329 despite of a solid opening partnership of 76 in (12.5 Overs) Indian batsman crumbled under pressure & India were bowled out for 233. So the journey of World Champions finally came to a halt at Sydney on 26th March 2015.
It was a journey full of some beautiful memories which will remain with Indian fans forever. From Rohit & Shikhar’s batting to consistent fast bowling by Umesh, Shami & Mohit, Indian fans enjoyed every bit of the action. Shikhar Dhawan & Ajinkya Rahane’s batting & R.Ashwin’s classical Off-Spin bowling at MCG will surely remain in the minds of 87,000 odd supporters who were at MCG for a long time. Virat’s historical century against Pakistan, Raina & Dhoni’s match winning partnership against Zimbabwe to Rohit Sharma’s classic of 137 against Bangladesh. Team India has given lots of great memories for Indian fans to cherish.
However one bad game at SCG and our dream of retaining the most prestigious crown in the history of the game was shattered. Lots of people have started criticizing the team after the loss at Sydney but it’s more out of disappointment than frustration. However this is the time when our Heroes need our support so it’s the duty of all Diehard Indian Cricket Fans to support Team India who gave us so much to cheer in this World Cup. Every team can have a bad day at the office and for Team India it was unfortunately at SCG against the mighty Aussies. So we have to accept the defeat & wish our team & captain success in future tournaments because it is only the Game of Cricket which is worship by billions which unites India.
- Well Played Team India
-We are Proud of You