India at the 1999 World Cup

The 1999 Cricket World Cup in England was one in which India were not expected to perform too well. Despite having the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, they weren't having too much of a good run. India was placed in Group A in the pool rounds against South Africa, Zimbabwe, hosts England, depending champions Sri Lanka and minnows Kenya.

India opened up with a close loss to South Africa in the final overs of the match. Although South Africa won by 4 wickets, the match was not without drama as South Africa had to score approximately a run a ball in the last 10 overs. The match featured a good performance from Sourav Ganguly (97 from 142 balls, 11 fours, 1 six) and Rahul Dravid (54 from 75 balls, 5 fours). None of the bowlers backed up the batting performance however, with Javagal Srinath the leading wicket-taker despite being very expensive. South Africa scored runs more quickly than India did, with Jacques Kallis (96 from 128 balls) leading the way.

India then appeared to have lost all form as they lost to Zimbabwe in a 3-run thriller. India were without the services of Sachin Tendulkar in this match as the star batsman flew to India after his father's death.The tailenders embarrassed supporters as India, chasing 252, went from 7/246 to all out for 249 with 3 overs left.

India made up for their early losses with a very convincing win over Kenya by 94 runs. India scored 2/329 through centuries from Sachin Tendulkar (140 from 101 balls, 16 fours, 3 sixes) who rejoined the team and Rahul Dravid (104 from 109 balls, 10 fours). The pair scored 237 in 29 overs at a run rate of 8.17 before Mohanty wiped up the Kenyan batsmen with a 4-wicket-haul.

They followed on with a record win against Sri Lanka by 157 runs. Sourav Ganguly (183 from 158 balls, 17 fours, 7 sixes) and Rahul Dravid (145 from 129 balls, 17 fours, 1 six) picked up two centuries at over a run a ball to get India to a total of 6/373, sharing a partnership of 318 runs in 44.9 overs. Sri Lanka were then rattled through a 5-wicket haul from Robin Singh (5/31 in 9.3 overs). They went on to seal a place in the Super Six competition with a win against home side England by 63 runs; once again Sourav Ganguly (40 from 59 balls, 6 fours) and Rahul Dravid (53 from 82 balls, 6 fours) starred with the bat, while a strong team effort with the ball got England all out for just 169.

India entered the Super Sixes segment as the team that came second in Pool A. Their strong performances in the Pool Stage did not give them a point boost going into the next segment, as they had taken losses to both of the other teams that had advanced through to the next stage from Pool A.

They began badly through a loss against Australia by 77 runs, with only Ajay Jadeja (100 from 138 balls, 7 fours, 2 sixes) and Robin Singh (75 from 94 balls, 5 fours, 3 sixes) putting up any resistance.

They then continued their now extremely strong record against Pakistan in World Cup's with yet another convincing victory over their long-term rivals; the win was by 47 runs. Rahul Dravid (61 from 89 balls, 4 fours) and Mohammed Azharuddin (59 from 77 balls, 3 fours, 1 six), led the way as India posted a total of 227/6 in 50 overs. Venkatesh Prasad then wiped up the Pakistani batsmen, taking 5 wickets for 27 runs as Pakistan was bowled all out for 180 (all out, 45.3 overs). The match was even more significant than usual as the two nations were at war with each other.

As events between the other teams unfolded, India were eliminated from the tournament, to India, the last match of the tournament against New Zealand was a dead rubber. In the end India lost the thriller by 5 wickets, as New Zealand achieved the target of 252 with just 8 balls to spare, despite a strong performance from Ajay Jadeja (76 from 103 balls, 6 fours, 2 six).

Despite being eliminated and being forced to play a dead rubber there were some plus-points for the Indian team leaving the world cup. The consistency and effectiveness of batting trio: Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly was yet to be fully experienced. Despite not making the semi-finals, Rahul Dravid, being involved in two mammoth partnerships, was the leading run-scorer of the entire tournament with 461 runs at 65.85. The top 3 highest scores of the tournament were that of Indians, with Sourav Ganguly's 183, Rahul Dravid's 145 and Sachin Tendulkar's 140* higher than any other scores in the tournament.

The Indian Squad for the 1999 World Cup...
  • Ajay Jadeja
  • Ajit Agarkar
  • Amay Khurasiya
  • Anil Kumble
  • Debashish Mohanty
  • Javagal Srinath
  • Mohammed Azharuddin (Captain)
  • Nayan Mongia (Wicket keeper)
  • Nikhil Chopra
  • Rahul Dravid (Reserve Wicket keeper)
  • Robin Singh
  • Sadagoppan Ramesh
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Sourav Ganguly
  • Venkatesh Prasad

Source: Wikipedia

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