Well, the world cup is upon us. Though I remember the 1992 world cup very vaguely, my real affair with the world cup started with the 1996 edition. My brother and I used to cut the schedule from newspaper and paste it in the living room wall much to the dismay of my mother. World cup came at different stages of life - Teen, young adult, college, first job, MBA and now a married man with a child. This post is just rewinding on those moments that keeps World cups alive and kicking!
Edgbaston (SA Vs Aus) Semifinals - 1999
This is probably the greatest heartbreak I had and will ever have in a world cup ever. I was rooting for the South African team all along. If top best script writers of the world sat down and made a cricket match, they couldn't have done better than this. South Africa was going strong, then Warne pulled it back with his magic followed by a terrific counter attack from Klusener. When you thought Klusener is going to do it, Donald does the Duck! I haven't yet gotten over this match. What if Donald didn't drop the bat? What if Klusener waited for one more ball? Sigh..
Pump-the-chest and roar moment
Bangalore (Ind Vs Pak) Quarterfinals - 1996
Aamir Sohail & Saheed Anwar were coasting along in chase of India's 286, which was largely possible because of Jadeja's maverick slogging in the death overs. Aamir sends a Venkateshwar Prasad delivery screaming to the boundary and gestures to Prasad to go and fetch the ball from the fence. The next ball was a poetic vengeance. Prasad's sends half stump flying and gives Sohail a deserved send off. It goes without saying that I was pumping the chest and yelling at the TV.
Centurion - India Vs Pakistan - 2003
Of all the Sachin innings in the world cups, 97 against Pakistan (2003) will be remembered for the audacity of the shots against a pace attack that had Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. His six of Akhtar over Point will be etched in memory for long.
Note: I never moved from my chair for the entirety of Sachin's innings.
Special Mention: This six of Andy Caddick against England (2003). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ9E81QkbLs
New Delhi - Ind Vs Srilanka (1996)
270 against Sri Lanka driven by Sachin's 137. I was expecting a regulation Indian win. But Sanath Jayasuriya had different plans. When you look back now, his 79(76) doesn't read devastating. But it had such a detrimental effect that Manoj Prabhakar changed his career to spin bowling in the same match.
West Indies - South Africa Vs Srilanka - Super Eights - 2007
Chasing 209, South Africa was well on course at 205-5. But then Malinga takes 4 wickets in 4 balls to leave SA reeling for 207-9. Could have been 5 in 5 had that ball not missed the stump by an inch. Oh well. That's crazy cricket from both teams!
Bangalore - England Vs Ireland - 2011
We all really want under dogs to win (but not against our home teams!). This was David taking on Goliath. Ireland was almost done with 111-5 chasing England's 327. But Kevin O'Brian turned up to play a game of his own. What unbelievable hitting. That 102m six over midwicket is just awe-inspiring.
Special Mention: The other one also involves Ireland where they overcome Pakistan in 2007 World cup.
Phuket - India Vs Srilanka - Finals - 2011
Yes. I missed the final of the world cup that India won. I was holidaying in Phuket with my friends. We were roaming across the town to see if any bar/restaurant was showing the match, but none did. With no internet at hotel, I had to wait till next day to go to a internet cafe to find out who won the match!