Top 10 iconic moments in Indian cricket since Independence

Cricket has only developed and evolved since India attained Independence and the Indian Cricket Team has achieved newer heights on every step of their cricketing journey.

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Team India in the fifth T20i against West Indies
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Team India (Photo Source: Twitter)

It has been 75 years since India attained Independence. These seven and a half decades have seen many ups and downs in the country, but cricket in India has only developed ever since. Not just cricket, every sport took the path of development, and we witnessed history being created, the most recent instance of this was at the just-completed Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, where India finished fourth and won an incredible 61 medals, including 22 golds.

The achievements at the CWG 2022 came despite not having the shooting discipline as their strong suit. India may not be regarded as a sporting superpower like the United States or China, but they have been moving up the rankings recently. India’s seven medals at the Tokyo Olympics last year marked their highest medal total at the quadrennial competition.

In addition to Neeraj Chopra winning India’s first-ever gold medal in athletics at the Olympics, the Indian badminton team also made history by winning the Thomas Cup for the first time. The game of cricket has also developed, and over the years Indian cricket has experienced some extraordinary moments and attained some great heights.

Let us have a look at the top 10 iconic moments in Indian cricket post independence in 1947:

India’s first-ever back-to-back overseas Test series wins in West Indies & England- 1971

India defeated Windies 1-0 in five-Test series in 1971:
India defeated Windies 1-0 in five-Test series in 1971. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

This was without a doubt India’s greatest cricketing moment up until the 1983 World Cup victory. However, it continues to be one of the most significant events in India’s test cricket history. The two victories against West Indies and England were the stepping stones of India’s long journey of becoming the No. 1 Test side, 38 years down the line.

First, Ajit Wadekar’s team defeated the legendary Sir Gary Sobers-led West Indies by 1-0 in their own backyard in a five-match series in the Caribbean. Then, they defeated Ray Illingworth’s powerful Ashes-winning English side by 1-0 in a three-match Test series.

Bhagawat Chandrasekar’s brilliance bowled England out for 101 in the second innings of the third Test at the Oval, and India eventually won the match by chasing down 170+ in the fourth innings, capping off their first-ever Test series victory in England following their valiant efforts in the Caribbean.

India’s first World Cup win- 1983

1983 WC Triumph
1983 WC Triumph. (Photo Source: ICC/Twitter)

The first World Cup victory for India in its cricket history stands out among all other accomplishments because, first of all, it wasn’t an easy one and, secondly, it ushered in a new era for Indian cricket.

On June 25, 1983, at Lords, Kapil Dev’s devils defeated the most powerful team of that time, the West Indies, by 43 runs to win the Prudential World Cup, proving all experts wrong. India was not expected to win the tournament, but the team persevered and after Kapil Dev’s legendary 175 against Zimbabwe, that saw records being tumbled.

They defeated Australia in their final league game to advance to the semi-finals, where they upset favorite England, and then they defeated the great and powerful, all-conquering, West Indies in the championship match to usher in the crowning achievement in Indian cricket.

Also read: 5 Records held by Indian cricketers that are impossible to break

India’s mini world cup win- 1985

India 1983
India 1983. (Photo by Adrian Murrell/Getty Images)

Two years after winning the World Cup in 1983, India took part in the “Mini-World Cup” tournament in Australia with all the top national sides participating. Seven teams competed in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket, including India, Australia, England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies.

Before entering the tournament, India had lost a series to England at home, so there weren’t as many people expecting them to win the event. The Indian team was among the underdogs to win the competition, despite their valiant victory over West Indies in the 1983 World Cup finals as they had lost three straight series, post the 1983 World Cup win and, prior to their arrival in Australia.

However, Gavaskar’s astute leadership abilities and India’s strong play against all of the top teams contributed to their victory. India famously clinched the victory by defeating arch-rivals Pakistan by 8 wickets in the finale.

India’s 2001 Test series win over invincible Australia

India vs Australia Kolkata 2011
Indian Team celebrates after winning the Historic test against Australia at Kolkata, 2001(© Allsport Australia/ALLSPORT)

At the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in March 2001, India triumphed in one of the most memorable Test matches under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. Back then, Australia, under the mystical leadership of Steve Waugh, was dominant both at home and away conditions and was backed by a 15-match winning streak, which they converted into 16 by winning the first Test against India.

On the other hand, Indian cricket was still experiencing the difficult circumstances of the match-fixing case. Sourav Ganguly’s team displayed outstanding resiliency at Kolkata after being forced to follow on, while the Australians were ready to outmaneuver India after crushing them in the first test.

The 180 by wall Dravid and the 281 by VVS Laxman, the greatest test inning by an Indian ever, turned the series around. India overcame all odds to win in Kolkata before orchestrating another victory in a nail-biting finish in Chennai to win the series 2-1.

India’s first-ever T20I World cup win- 2007

World Twenty20 in South Africa, 2007
World Twenty20 in South Africa, 2007. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

T20I cricket was a relatively new format that was starting to gain popularity when the first-ever World Cup was held in South Africa in the 20-over format. India, led by a young captain named MS Dhoni, shocked everyone by winning the tournament by 5 runs over arch-rival Pakistan.

India chose to bat in the event finale after winning the toss. Gautam Gambhir scored an impressive knock of 75 runs, leading the team to a score of 157/5 in the first innings. Pakistan kept losing wickets at regular intervals and failed to gain the required momentum.  As the middle-order batter, Misbah-ul-Haq was attempting to score runs.

Pakistan only needed 13 runs in the final over with just one wicket in hand. Joginder Sharma was brought in by Dhoni to bowl the final over.  Misbah attempted to tackle him with a scoop shot over the short fine leg, but Sreesanth made no errors in taking the game’s final catch as India scripted history.

India attained the No. 1 spot in ICC Test Team Rankings for the first time- 2009

MS Dhoni Cricketing tweets
Indian cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni (R) and Sachin Tendulkar (L) lift teammate Virendra Sehwag (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

India attained the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for the teams introduced in June 2003 on December 6, 2009, for the first time. India attained the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for the teams introduced in June 2003 on December 6, 2009, for the first time.

Team India achieved the highest rank, under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, after winning their fourth straight series with an innings victory against Sri Lanka at Mumbai’s Brabourne Stadium. They held the position up until 2011, when the English side dethroned them, but took that spot again in 2016.

Under the leadership of former India captain Virat Kohli, India was once again vying to become the No. 1 team in 2021 when they faced off against New Zealand in the first-ever World Test Championship final, the Kiwis emerged victorious in the series and took the No. 1 spot thereon.

India’s 2nd World cup win- 2011

Team India after world cup 2011 win
Team India after world cup 2011 win. (Photo Source: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

28 years after claiming the first-ever World Cup, India managed to break the curse when they defeated a strong Sri Lankan side in the finals of the ODI World Cup in Mumbai in 2011. Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, India had lifted yet another major ICC Title.

Chasing 275 runs in order to win the coveted cup, India lost their key players Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar quickly. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli shared an 83-run stand before the latter departed. Dhoni promoted himself up in the batting lineup and joined Gambhir in the chase.

The duo shared a record 109-run stand before Gambhir lost his wicket, falling three runs short of a well-deserved century. Yuvraj Singh walked out to the field, but it was the skipper who continued to score the big runs and cut the chase short. Dhoni hit a humungous six to finish off the chase in style as India lifted the iconic World Cup.

India’s Champions Trophy win- 2013

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by Christopher Lee-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

India was successful in winning the champions trophy for the first time in 2013 against England, and the achievement also made MS Dhoni the only skipper to have won all three ICC Trophies. India won the opening match of the tournament, beating South Africa, and kept improving, eventually defeating England in the event finale, in a game that was cut short to 20 overs due to rain.

India won a thrilling game as the Men in Blue bagged a five-run victory and added another significant ICC championship cup to their list of achievements after scoring a modest 129 while batting first. It appeared that England would easily surpass the target, but the English batters did not have any answers to India’s bowling attack.

The game came down to the final over where England needed 14 runs to win off the final six deliveries. And if that pressure wasn’t enough, it came down to the final ball. The tussle between the two players- Ashwin and Treadwell was to determine the outcome of the game. England needed a six off the final delivery. Treadwell missed, Ashwin maintained a cool head, and India triumphed.

India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia- 2018-19

Indian Cricket Team. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

There was a time when winning a Test series in Australia seemed like something unachievable, but Virat Kohli led the Indian side in a way that they accomplished the unthinkable and the team registered their name in the history books.

India dominated the Australians in their own backyard in the final two Tests, winning the series 2-1, thanks to outstanding bowling by the aggressive Indian bowling attack and outstanding batting by the experienced Cheteswar Pujara throughout the series.

It was a four-match series where India won the first and third match, losing the second one in the course. With a 2-1 lead in India’s favor, the fourth game ended in a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground and consequently, India lifted the silverware.

India’s sensational 2-1 Test series win in Australia with an injury-hit team- 2020-21

Australia vs India
Australia vs India. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

This was a unique Test series victory in Australia that defied all the odds. This was a unique Test series victory in Australia that defied all expectations. India was staring death in the face after being all-out for 36 in the first Test, their original skipper Virat Kohli taking a paternity leave, and their ace bowlers getting sustaining injuries.

However, India leveled the series at the MCG, survived a last-day scare at the SCG, and then rose above all injury woes to breach a fortress and script an iconic triumph at the Gabba to win the series against a full-strength Australian side.

This was made possible by vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s cool demeanor and some exceptional cricket by many rookies in the side like Mohammad Siraj, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, and a few others who took the responsibility on their shoulders. The victory will be remembered by every cricket fan for ages. A documentary was made on the four-match series because it was that special.

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