India will face New Zealand in the semifinal of the 2023 ODI World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday. The last-four stage has become a stumbling block for the Men in Blue of late, with the team losing in the semis in back-to-back editions (2015 and 2019).
As New Zealand - India’s bogey team in knockout matches at ICC events - awaits Rohit Sharma’s men, here is a look at the top five Indian run-scorers in ODI World Cup knockouts, which include quarterfinals, semifinals and the final.
SACHIN TENDULKAR - 339 RUNS
The Master Blaster has featured in seven ODI World Cup knockout games - the most for an Indian - and is the leading run-scorer for his country. He has scored four half-centuries in seven innings, with his 85 against Pakistan in the 2011 semifinal at Mohali being arguably the most crucial of them.
His 68-ball 53 against Australia in the 2011 quarterfinal set the platform for India’s chase while his 83 in the semifinal against Kenya in 2003 helped India to a match-winning 270.
Tendulkar’s only World Cup knockout fifty that went in vain was a 65 against Sri Lanka in the 1996 semifinal at Kolkata that ended on a dramatic note after fans set stands ablaze in the wake of India’s batting collapse.
MS DHONI - 244 RUNS
The former India skipper’s six off Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara that sealed India’s win in the 2011 World Cup final and sent the nation into delirium is perhaps the most iconic moment in Indian cricket history. His unbeaten 91 in that game is arguably one of the most memorable and pivotal knocks played by an Indian skipper.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, the snapshot of his run out in the 2019 semifinal against New Zealand at a critical juncture of the match evokes an intense feeling of heartbreak in Indian fans. His 72-ball 50 in that game went in vain, and so did his run-a-ball 65 against Australia at Sydney in 2015.
GAUTAM GAMBHIR - 174 RUNS
India’s most consistent batter at the 2011 World Cup, Gambhir made vital contributions in all three knockout games in that edition. While his fighting 97 in the final against Sri Lanka in 2011 is remembered the most, his 50 against Australia in the quarterfinal and 27 against Pakistan in the semifinal, which included a crucial 68-run stand with Tendulkar for the second wicket, were also valuable knocks.
ROHIT SHARMA - 172 RUNS
The current India skipper is only one amongst two Indian batters - the other being Sourav Ganguly - to score a century in an ODI World Cup knockout match. His 126-ball 137 against Bangladesh in the 2015 quarterfinal laid the platform for India’s match-winning total of 302.
In the semifinal that followed against Australia, Rohit struck a promising 76-run opening partnership with Shikhar Dhawan before eventually falling for 34 as India fell well short of the target.
Rohit couldn’t carry his stellar league-stage form into the semifinal in 2019 and was dismissed by Matt Henry for 1. His demise precipitated a staggering top-order collapse which India couldn’t recover from.
VIRENDER SEHWAG - 168 RUNS
The talismanic opener’s brisk 25-ball 38 against Pakistan in the semifinal of the 2011 World Cup played a major role in setting the tempo of the Indian innings. He struck Umar Gul for five fours in an over early in the match to put Pakistan on the back foot. However, he fell for a duck in the final against Sri Lanka and scored just 15 against Australia in the quarterfinal.
In the 2003 final, with India chasing a mammoth 360 against Australia, Sehwag was the only Indian who took the attack to the opposition with an 81-ball 82. However, it wasn’t enough as the Aussies romped home by 125 runs.
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