Diwali has always lightened up the streets of India, and the Indian Cricket Team has always made sure that the entire nation celebrates the ‘festival of lights’ with the best of emotions after watching their beloved team play. Diwali and Indian cricket have had held a great bond together, with memorable wins and records always boosting up the emotions of the cricketing fraternity to enjoy the special festival with a great boost.
With Diwali just a day away, let us remember some special moments when the Men in Blue light up a billion hearts with their unforgettable performances:
1. India vs Australia, Reliance World Cup, 1987
The 15th match of the Reliance World Cup 1987 was a memorable affair for the Men in Blue. It was a grand collision of two teams – Australia vs India.
The Aussies won the toss and elected to bowl first. India had a great start with Navjot Singh Sidhu, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar scoring half-centuries and taking India to a score of 289. Mind you, 289 at that time was a mountain of a score.
In reply, Australia at one stage were 100 for 1. But the spin duo of Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri were at the helm of slowing down the run rate of the dominant Aussies. Maninder Singh was behind the important dismissals of Geoff Marsh, Allan Border and Dean Jones, while Shastri sent the dangerous David Boon packing.
An injury to Chetan Sharma made skipper Kapil Dev give Azharuddin the bowl and he dismantled the Aussie tails by dismissing 3 wickets.
India won the match by 56 runs, and the Diwali was a special one once again for the Indian cricket fans.
2. India vs Sri Lanka, Jaipur, October 2005
This clash between the Asian giants was the third match of the series, and India was coming to this game with blooming confidence after having won the first two matches.
Sri Lanka had a go first and heroics from Kumar Sangakkara (138) and Mahela Jayawardene (71) had taken them to 298 for 4 in 50 overs.
In reply, India lost Sachin Tendulkar early and to everyone’s surprise, an inexperienced Mahendra Singh Dhoni walked out at No. 3 ahead of Rahul Dravid. And what followed was total destruction by the Jharkhand lad. His unforgettable knock of 183 not out in just 145 delivers with 15 fours and 10 sixes helped India chase the target with 23 balls to spare. And the 2005 Diwali turned out to be a historic one.
3. India vs South Africa, Hero Cup semi-final, Kolkata 1993
India was bundled out for 195 with skipper Azharuddin scoring 90 alongside Pravin Amre hitting a good 48. With 195 on board, India needed a miracle against the mighty South Africans.
The miracle was none other than three run outs and the match went down the wire. With 13 needed in 2 overs, the South Africans scored 7 runs in the 49th over, however, lost David Richardson went back to the pavilion after a run-out.
South Africa needed 6 in the last over with 2 wickets in hand, and Kapil Dev was hesitant to bowl the last over. A young Sachin Tendulkar took the ball from Azhar to bowl the last over. After a single off the first delivery, Allan Donald came to face Tendulkar, but a bowling masterclass from the Master Blaster turned the second, third and fourth delivery into dots. Again after a single, McMillan failed to score 4 off the last ball and India won the game by 3 runs.
The 1993 Diwali will forever be memorable due to Sachin’s heroics with the ball.