Ganguly`s best knocks
Love him…hate him…you can’t ignore him! Through his 19000 runs and 100 plus wickets over 12 years in international cricket, there have been moments of Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, sometimes dazzling fans with sheer wizardry, at other times striking down opponents with his unbreakable grit…or even getting under their skins with his uncanny ability to back his guts. He has seen it all…capturing the imagination of cricket lovers across the globe. Now, as the ‘man who never quits’ walks into the sunset, we at Zeecric take this opportunity to relive some of his best moments on the field.
131 and 136 versus England, at Lord’s and Nottingham, 1996: With back to back centuries in his first to Tests, Sourav Ganguly announced his arrival in style. On a comeback trail after being dropped from the team in 1991, and amid snide whispers of him being a beneficiary of the famous quota-system, Ganguly’s exploits in face of adversity, brought to fore, the tremendous mental strength he possessed. His off-side play was a purist delight, and in the process, Maharaj got rechristened as the ‘Prince of Kolkata by none other than Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
5/16 versus Pakistan, at Toronto, 1997:Having established his batting credentials, Sourav Ganguly did the star turn for India, now, with the red cherry in his hand. At the scenic Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club stadium, Ganguly bamboozled Pakistani batsmen with his swings wreaking havoc throughout the 5-match affair. In this particular match, after being restricted to just 182 runs in their 50 overs, Ganguly broke the backbone of Pakistan with wickets of Ijaz Ahmed, Saleem Malik, Hasan Raza, Moin Khan India to inspire India to a 34 run win. Pakistan didn’t know what hit them…India had found its ‘Secret Weapon’. Ganguly’s shadow loomed large over the series as India clinched the Sahara Cup 4-1.
183 versus Sri Lanka, at Taunton, 1999: After demoralizing defeats to South Africa and Zimbabwe, it was a must win match for India if they wanted to extend their stay in the World Cup. At Taunton in that summer of 99’, Sourav Gangult tore into the Sri Lankan attack…ruthlessly. Enroute a majestic 183, he shared a 308 run partnership with Rahul Dravid, who helped himself to a classy 145. This was the first ever 300 plus partnership in one day cricket and the highest for any wicket at that time. Ganguly’s 183 was also the highest individual score by an Indian in ODIs briefly.
153* versus New Zealand, at Gwalior, 1999: One-man army Sourav Ganguly scored unbeaten 153 out of the Indian total of 261 as India eked out a fighting 15-run win over New Zealand. Ganguly single-handedly carried the Indian batting as the wickets kept falling at regular intervals at the other end. Such was his dominance that no other player managed even a fifty in that innings. He then rolled his Golden arm over and picked a crucial wicket as well to add to his bounty.
141* versus South Africa, at Nairobi, 2000: A vintage avataar of Sourav Ganguly greeted South Africa in the semi-finals of the 2000 ICC Knock-out trophy. His brash, aggressive and upfront attitude as a leader inspired the young turks and galvanized the seniors. Ever the big match player, Captain Ganguly led from the front in this crunch game, unleashing a breathtaking display of nerve wracking shot-making. The mighty South Africans were completely routed. His unbeaten knock, studded with 6 sixes, ensured a 95 run victory for India as the stormed into the finals. He struck another sublime ton in the final, which however went in vain as the Indian juggernaut ran into the Kiwis. However despite the setback, the start of the golden era of Indian cricked had been heralded. And Dada was at the helm.