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.
Here are the key moments that stood out in each of India's first round matches.
Vs Pakistan, Feb 15, Adelaide:
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.
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:
At the MCG, with 80,000 blue-clad fans cheering them on, India took on one of the tournament favorites.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.