India might have only won two of the 12 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, but the Men in Blue have been responsible for some of the most exemplary displays on the biggest stage of the game. Many of these performances can be attributed to the likes of star names who have represented India at the World Cup, including the likes of Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid to name a few. 

With the fans celebrating the 21st anniversary of the 318-run stand between Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid during the 1999 World Cup, we recollect five such partnerships between the Indian batsmen in the World Cup history:

202 – Ganguly and Sehwag vs Bermuda, Port of Spain (2007)

The 2007 World Cup was not the most memorable one for the Men in Blue, to say the least. With a star-studded squad at their disposal, the team succumbed against both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka during the group stages and their only win during the tournament came against a lowly Bermuda side.

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Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag were at the helm of this partnership, scoring 202 runs between them to set up India’s fifth-highest partnership (at present) in World Cup history. They eventually ended the match with a record 413/5, which was then a record in World Cup history. 

India then dismissed the Bermuda team for 156, winning the game by 257 runs, setting another record.

203 – Sehwag and Kohli vs Bangladesh, Dhaka (2011)

India bounced back from their disappointment of the 2007 World Cup with a new team, with a perfect blend of young and experienced talents. Led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian team were untouchable throughout the tournament, eventually winning the trophy on home soil.

India squared off against co-hosts Bangladesh in the first game of the 2011 ICC World Cup, in Dhaka. Virat Kohli, who scored one of his many centuries, set up a 203-run partnership with Virender Sehwag for the fourth wicket after being made to bat first. India ended their innings at 370/4, while bowling out their co-hosts for 283 runs, winning the game comfortably by 87 runs.

237* – Dravid and Tendulkar vs Kenya, Bristol (1999)

Coming into the tournament, the expectations from the Indian team were not too high. Having lost the first two matches against South Africa and Zimbabwe, India were under extreme pressure. However, the close calls in both games was a positive point for the team. 

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All this changed when India took on Kenya in their third match of the tournament. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar set up a comfortable third-wicket partnership of 237* for the Men in Blue, ending their 50 overs at 329/2. Tendulkar’s century had an added value as the Master Blaster had lost his father prior to the second match against Zimbabwe. Kenya were unable to match the Indian batsmen, making 235 runs. India won the match by 94 runs.

244 – Tendulkar and Ganguly vs Namibia, Pietermaritzburg (2003)

The 2003 World Cup saw India reach the finals of the tournament but fell short to a powerful Australian squad, who ended up winning their second consecutive World Cup. The Men in Blue, however, did not have the best of starts to their campaign, winning their opening game quite unconvincingly against the Netherlands before losing to Australia. 

However, a win against Zimbabwe in their third outing did much to boost the confidence of the team. This triumph was followed by a 181-run thrashing of debutants Namibia, a victory spearheaded by skipper Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. The duo scored 244 runs for the second wicket, making 311 runs while losing only two wickets. Meanwhile, Namibia could manage a measly 130 runs in 42.3 overs. 

318 – Ganguly and Dravid vs Sri Lanka, Taunton (1999)

Probably one of the best performances at the highest stage, India came into the match after a strong performance against Kenya, with Rahul Dravid notching a century in that innings as well. The pillage of the Sri Lankan team began after Dravid was brought in early after the wicket of Sadagoppan Ramesh.

Playing in their first-ever World Cup, both Sourav Ganguly and Dravid showed their mature stature against their Asian rivals, Sri Lanka, who were also the defending champions of the ICC World Cup. 

The pair added 318 runs, before Dravid was unfortunately run out at 145. Ganguly, on the other hand, continued the onslaught, losing his wicket on the penultimate ball of the innings, scoring 183 runs. India set a colossal total of 373/6 for Sri Lanka, while the Island nation only managed 216 runs in their 50 overs, with India romping to a 157-run victory.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Adrian Dennis