White ball cricket is not just about the big knocks. Of course, the big knocks at the top of the order lay the platform, but at times, the knockout punch comes through short cameos down the order and those cameos eventually prove to be the game-deciding factor. Here are the 5 most crucial cameos played by the Indian batsmen in ICC Tournaments:
#1 Suresh Raina (ODI World Cup 2011, Quarterfinal)
Raina walked in to bat at a time when India had lost half the side with the target still 70 odd runs away. Australia had three express fast bowlers and given Raina’s vulnerability against the short balls, it was going to be a very tough challenge for him.
However, the left-hander showed tremendous maturity and scored 34 runs off just 28 balls to win the game for India with Yuvraj Singh at the other end.
#2 Suresh Raina (ODI World Cup 2011, semi-final)
Raina is at no. 2 again, because he played a vital cameo in the semi-final of that World Cup as well against the arch-rivals Pakistan.
The Indian team was batting first in that game and there was a time when it seemed they might not be able to get past the score of 250, but Raina walked in at no. 7 and scored 36 crucial runs to help India drag the score to 260 which proved to be a match-winning score at the end.
#3 Virat Kohli (ODI World Cup 2011, final)
When Virat Kohli made his way to the ground to bat in the World Cup final of 2011, the game was evenly poised and could have gone either way.
Lasith Malinga was on a roll and was threatening to make a match-defining impact, but Virat scored 35 runs and put together an extremely vital third-wicket partnership with Gautam Gambhir which put India on the course of victory.
#4 Virat Kohli (Champions Trophy 2013, final)
Just a couple of years after the World Cup 2011, India won the Champions Trophy in England and Virat was the highest scorer for India in the final against the hosts. Because of the rain, the match was curtailed to 20-over aside, and Virat made sure India got to a respectable total with a cameo of 43 runs off 34 balls.
India scored 129 runs in 20 overs and although the score seemed below par at one stage, India eventually managed to defend the score and win the trophy.
#5 Ajay Jadeja (ODI World Cup 1996, quarter-final)
Although Navjot Singh Sidhu had played some solid cricket at the top of the order for India, the middle order didn’t quite live up to the expectations and the Pakistan attack was well on its way of restricting India to a below-par score.
But, Ajay Jadeja went absolutely ballistic in the death and scored 45 off just 25 balls to guide India to a score of 287. That cameo eventually proved to be the difference between the two teams.