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Six key moments in India's winning run at the World Cup

By Apostrophe Content and Entertainment
Last updated on: March 16, 2015 16:28 IST
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In the run-up to the 2015 World Cup, India seemed to stumble, but were a changed side once the tournament commenced. They were clinical in their victories and cruised into the quarter-finals.

Along the way they continued their hold over archrivals Pakistan -- winning their sixth match against the neighbours in the mega event. They then thrashed the more-fancied South Africa and took care of business in the other four first round matches rather comfortably.

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Here are the key moments that stood out in each of India's first round matches.

Vs Pakistan, Feb 15, Adelaide:

India’s Virat Kohli celebrates after getting to hundred against Pakistan

India’s Virat Kohli celebrates after getting to hundred against Pakistan. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Shikhar Dhawan had a torrid tour Down Under prior to the World Cup. He was dropped from the Test series and was a walking wicket in the Tri-series.

- The World Cup, as never before on Rediff.com

Scorecard

- Match Photos

If India were to mount any credible defense of the World Cup they won at home in 2011, they needed the left-hander to contribute in a big way and set the game up for the middle order.

The Delhi batsman did just that, knocking 73 in the World Cup opener to lay the foundation for Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina to drive home the advantage.

Dhawan would take that confidence to score two centuries in the next four games.

Vs South Africa, Feb 22, Melbourne:

India's Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after scoring a century against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

India's Shikhar Dhawan celebrates after scoring a century against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

At the MCG, with 80,000 blue-clad fans cheering them on, India took on one of the tournament favorites.

- Scorecard

- Match Photos

A target of 308 runs could be made to look inadequate if AB de Villiers has one of those days. On a day when he bounced Hashim Amla out, Mohit Sharma ended the contest when his strong, accurate throw from the deep caught the fleet-footed De Villiers short.

Rest of the competition sat up and took notice at the improved performance of not just the Indian bowling, but their ground fielding as well.

Vs United Arab Emirates, Feb 28, Perth:

Ravichandran Ashwin of India celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Naveed of the UAE at the WACA

Ravichandran Ashwin of India celebrates the wicket of Mohammad Naveed of the UAE at the WACA. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

As the Indian entourage moved west to the famed bouncy track of the WACA, in a pleasant turn of events, Ashwin put on a beautiful display of off-spin, to back up the great work done by the pacers in the first two matches.

- Scorecard

- Photos

With deft control of pace, dip, turn and the natural bounce on offer, Ashwin ran circles around the UAE batsmen to register one the most economical 10-over spells of the World Cup (he has since been overtaken by Daniel Vettori), to go along with his four-wicket haul.

Vs West Indies, March 6, Perth:

India's bowler Mohammed Shami (left) appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle

India's bowler Mohammed Shami (left) appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of West Indies batsman Chris Gayle during their World Cup match in Perth. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

In a return to more traditional exploitation of the WACA wicket, Mohammed Shami snuffed out any hopes the West Indies may have had of upsetting India by removing both the openers --Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle – and setting the path for a rout.

- Scorecard

- Photos from the match

The fast bowler would return later to dash any hopes of a recovery and remove the threat of any late-inning heroics from Darren Sammy.

Vs Ireland, March 10, Hamilton:

Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli exult after taking Kevin O'Brien's wicket

Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli exult after taking Kevin O'Brien's wicket. Photograph: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

On a wicket that didn't offer any assistance to the faster bowlers, and with the Ireland openers sitting pretty at 60-0 at the end of the Power-play, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had to press his slow bowlers into service and they came up trumps.

- PHOTOS: India maintain clean sheet, crush Ireland by 8 wickets

- Scorecard

Of the 30 overs they bowled between themselves – Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma – picked four wickets for 144 runs. A small target of 260 wasn't really going to test the Indian batsmen and the defending champions cantered home by eight wickets in under 37 overs.

Vs Zimbabwe, March 14, Auckland:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni in action against Zimbabwe

Mahendra Singh Dhoni in action against Zimbabwe. Photograph: Phil Waters/Getty Images

The last game of the first round turned out to be the most challenging for India.

Even as Indian bowlers wrapped up all 60 wickets on offer in the six matches, the middle order was truly tested in a steep chase of 288 against a disciplined Zimbabwean attack.

Scorecard

- Photos

However, the masters of run-chase, Raina and Dhoni put together 196 runs for the fifth wicket to snatch the game away from the Africans.

All in all, with an in-form bowling line-up, backed up by an athletic fielding outfit, and all batsmen scoring runs, India look to have a lot of their bases covered. Things are really looking up for them, and that's far more than anyone could have predicted on February 14.

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