With the group stage matches completed, Indian fans will be eagerly hoping that their team crosses the first hurdle on Tuesday when they play New Zealand in the semifinals. India finished on top of the table with 15 points after Australia lost to South Africa in their last group match on Saturday to finish second. India suffered its only reverse of the tournament when it went down to England at Edgbaston, Birmingham. They have played consistently well throughout the tournament despite a scare against Afghanistan who almost pulled off an upset. Ahead of the semifinals, here is a lookback at how India has performed in knockout matches over the years:
1983, England (Winner)
While the 1983 World Cup is best remembered for India lifting the trophy at Lordâ€™s in London against the West Indies, the victory was preceded by an impressive semifinals against the hosts. England chose to bat after winning the toss. Skipper Kapil Dev pocketed three important wickets in his 11 overs, while medium pacers Mohinder Amarnath and Roger Binny picked up two wickets each. None of the English batsmen managed to ace the Indian bowling and there was not a single fifty in the innings. Up against a modest total of 214 set by England, Yashpal Sharma and Sandeep Patil scored impressive half-centuries. With all rounder Mohinder Amarnathâ€” who ended up winning Man of the Matchâ€” scoring 46 runs, India reached their target in under 55 overs and marched into the final.
The 1983 World Cup final will go down in cricketing annals as one of the biggest upsets of all time. Under overcast conditions and on a seaming pitch, West Indies won the toss and chose to bowl. Up against the â€˜Foursome Fearsomeâ€™ â€” Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garnerâ€” India were all out for 183 in 54.4 overs. Despite the below par score and faced with a strong batting line-up, the Indian bowlers put up an impressive fight. Both Amarnath and Madan Lal picked up three wickets each while pacer Balwinder Sandhu bagged two wickets, including the prized scalp of opener Gordon Greenidge. Skipper Kapil Dev took a running catch to dismiss the great Viv Richards, which many believe was the turning point of the match. Thereafter, the West Indies folded up for 140 to give India victory by 43 runs.
1987, India-Pakistan (Semi-finalist)
The 1987 Cricket World Cup saw the Australians being crowned champions for the first time since the inception of the tournament. However, the loss for India in the semi-finals was a bitter pill to swallow as it came on home soil.
India faced off against England in the semi-finals in erstwhile Bombay, where it elected to field after winning the toss. However, England opener Graham Gooch and skipper Mike Gatting shared a century partnership taking the Indian bowlers to task. Despite Maninder Singh picking up 3 wickets and captain Kapil Dev another two, England managed an impressive 254 in their allotted 50 overs. While there was hope after Krishnamachri Srikkanth's half-century, the middle and lower order could not sustain the pressure and caved in. Eddie Hemmings picked up four wickets with his right-arm off break, while fellow Englishman Neil Foster bagged three. It was a missed opportunity for the Indians as they had the match in their grasp, as only 55 runs were needed off the last 10 overs with 5 wickets in hand. India was eventually bowled out for 219 and lost the match by 35 runs.
1996, India-Pakistan-Sri Lanka (Semi-finalist)
While the 1996 World Cup was won by Sri Lanka, no Indian fan would forget the â€˜night of shameâ€™ that preceded the finals after a particularly eventful match between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta. Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin won the toss and opted to field on a newly laid strip â€” a decision that later proved to be the teamâ€™s undoing.
With the Sri Lankan openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana dismissed early, the Indians sensed an opportunity. However, the Sri Lankan middle order held fort with Aravinda de Silva and Roshan Mahanama both scoring half-centuries. India managed to restrict Sri Lanka to 250, which was a par score. But as the pitch started deteriorating fast in the second essay, India stuttered its way through the chase even as Sachin Tendulkar proved his mettle once again with 65. The Indian chase just petered out as Sanath Jayasuriya picked up three wickets with Vaas, Muralitharan, Dharmasena and de Silva bagging one each.
With the Indian innings in shambles at 120 for 8, the crowd at the stadium went berserk. They set fire to the seats and started throwing glass bottles onto the pitch. The match could not be completed due to the crowd trouble and it was awarded to Sri Lanka by match referee Clive Lloyd.
2003, South Africa (Finalist)
The 2003 World Cup saw Australia pick up the trophy for the second consecutive time (third overall). In the semifinal, India faced Kenyaâ€” the only non-Test playing team to qualify for a semi-final, at Durban. With Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Sourav Ganguly scoring 83 off 101 balls and 111 off 114 balls respectively, India set up a challenging total of 270. Ace left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan snared three wickets, while Ashish Nehra picked up two to dent the Kenyan chase. Kenya was all out for 179, taking India into the finals against Australia.
In the summit clash, Australian captain Ricky Ponting was in sublime touch as he scored an unbeaten 140 runs to propel the team to an imposing total of 359 â€” the highest score in a World Cup final. He was well supported by Damien Martin who chipped in with 88. The Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners with only Harbhajan Singh managing to pick up 2 wickets. With a daunting chase ahead of them, India got off to a terrible start as they lost Tendulkar for just 4 in the first over. India were quickly reduced to 59 for 3 with Sehwag providing the only resistance, before he was eventually run out for 82. The Indian side folded up for 234 as the other batsmen fell in trying to increase the scoring rate. Glenn McGrath picked up three wickets while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds bagged two each.
2011, India-Sri Lanka-Bangladesh (Winner)
The 2011 World Cup will remain a sweet memory for Indian cricket fans as the country won the trophy after 28 years. It was also Sachinâ€™s sixth and last World Cup. In the semifinals, India played Pakistan at Mohali, Chandigarh. Batting first after winning the toss, India posted 260 for 9. Sachin top-scored for the Indians with 85 but was helped by numerous let-offs. Suresh Raina chipped in with a useful 39-ball 36 towards the end. Wahab Riaz was the stand-out bowler with 5 wickets. Pakistan got off to a steady start before losing Kamran Akmal with the score on 44. But they never got any partnerships going with only Misbah-ul-Haq scoring 56 runs. Pakistan were bowled out for 231 with all the five Indian bowlers picking up 2 wickets each. Sachin was named Player of the Match.
In the final, India was up against Sri Lanka at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium. Sri Lankan won the toss and chose to bat. With a brilliant hundred from Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan side put up a sizeable total on the board. India's chase was anchored by a solid 97 from opener Gautam Gambhir. Captain MS Dhoni remained unbeaten on 91 and saw the Indians through in the company of Yuvraj Singh who chipped in with 21. Lasith Malinga picked up two tickets while Thisara Perera and Dilshan managed a wicket each. Yuvraj Singh was named Player of the Series.
2015, Australia-New Zealand (Semi-finalist)
The 2015 World Cup saw the defending champions lose the title to their Australian rivals. Australia defeated India in the semi-finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground and went on to beat New Zealand in the finals. Led by a 93-ball 105 from Steve Smith and 81 from Aaron Finch, Australia finished on a massive 328 for 7 in their allotted 50 overs. Umesh Yadav impressed with four wickets. After a 76-run stand between the openers, Dhawan fell for 45. India quickly slumped to 108 for 4 with the top order back in the hut. There was a 70-run partnership between skipper Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane before the latter was dismissed by Starc for 44. The required rate kept mounting and Dhoni played a lone hand of 65. India was bowled out for 233 with James Faulkner picking up 3 wickets for the Australians.