2007 T20 World Cup Final, The Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg- Pakistan needed just 6 runs off 4 balls to lay their hands on the maiden T20I trophy. Joginder Sharma had the ball in hand; Misbah-ul-Haq was facing him. Misbah’s lap shot went high in the air and deposited in Sreesanth’s palms. These are some of the most vivid T20 memories of the Indian cricket fans.
2016 India’s tour of Australia, 3rd T20I at Sydney- Yuvi had been struggling to middle the ball. A blink of the eyes and he was the Champ again. He smashed a four and a six of the first two balls of Andrew Tye’s final over. We could see glimpses of the vintage Yuvraj hitting Stuart Broad out of the park six times, one after the other.
2016 T20 World Cup at Mohali- India’s emphatic win over Australia. Kohli played the knock of his life to bail India out of trouble. As Kohli and Dhoni walked towards the pavilion after finishing the match, you could not have asked for more.
These may be some of the closest and hard fought Indian wins in T20Is. However these are certainly not the victories with the highest margin (by runs).
In the recently concluded 3-match T20 series against Sri Lanka, the Men in Blue have piled up record after record. The comprehensive victories at Cuttack (93 runs) and Indore (88 runs) have registered themselves as the highest margin T20I wins.
So, to refresh our memory, let us have a look the times that Team India has completely decimated the Opposition.
#5 India wins by 73 runs, 2014 vs Australia
In the 2014 T20 World Cup, MSD & co. met Australia at Dhaka in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the group stage. Australia won the toss and put India to bat first.
The Men in Blue were tottering at 66-4 at one point after early departures of Rohit, Rahane and Kohli. Yuvraj Singh's 60-run knock then helped India shrug off the initial jerks. The stylish southpaw was well complemented by a 24-run contribution from MS Dhoni as the duo extended the total to a decent 159.
Australia could never get going as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The Indian bowlers showed exemplary discipline and did not let the Aussies cut loose. The new ball bowlers, Bhuvi and Ashwin bowled tight line and lengths and as a result, Australia was left struggling at 27-3 at the end of the powerplay overs.
Eventually, the star-studded Australian batting line-up got bundled out for 86 in the 17th over. Ashwin was the stand out performer, picking up 4 wickets and rightfully bagged the Man of the Match award.
#4 India wins by 75 runs, 2017 vs England
This match will be remembered for MS Dhoni’s one and only T20I half-century. The three-match series against England was levelled at 1-1 and the final match at Bengaluru was do-or-die for both the teams.
Batting first, India lost Virat Kohli on the first ball of the second over. However, it did not affect the scoring rate much as Suresh Raina (63) and MS Dhoni (56) stuck into England, scoring quick half centuries. This set the platform for Yuvraj (SR: 270) and Pandya (SR: 275) to launch an assault in the final overs and take the total past 200.
After England lost Sam Billings for nought, his opening partner Jason Roy scored a quick-fire 32. The 64-run partnership between Joe Root and skipper Eoin Morgan further threatened to take the game away.
Chahal then stepped up his game to pick up his career-best figures of 4-0-25-6. The last seven English batsmen crumbled under pressure and could just contribute 8 runs. India won the match by 75 runs as England got all-out for 127.
#3 India wins by 88 runs, 2017 vs Sri Lanka
The Men in Blue posted the second highest T20I total ever in a match that saw Rohit Sharma bring up his 2nd century in T20 Internationals. Sri Lanka never looked threatening enough to break the opening partnership between KL Rahul (89) and Rohit (118).
The stand-in skipper lost his wicket in an attempt to hit virtually every ball out of the ground. However, it did not hamper the run rate as India went on to score a whopping 260 runs.
The total was always going to prove too much for Sri Lanka. However, unlike their recent performances, they showed some fighting spirit on a batting paradise in Indore. Despite gritty knocks from Kusal Perera (77) and Upul Tharanga (47), Sri Lanka fell well short of the total.
Spin twins Chahal and Kuldeep proved their wicket taking ability yet again to bowl out Sri Lanka for 172.
#2 India wins by 90 runs, 2012 vs England
In a relatively old match played at Colombo in the Group stage of the 2012 T20 World Cup, England won the toss and elected to field first. Surprisingly, Irfan Pathan came out to open the innings with Gautam Gambhir but the experiment did not work as the former got out at 8 runs off 8 balls.
The inning was then stabilized by Kohli (40) and Gambhir (45). After Gambhir got out, Virat stitched a partnership with Rohit (55), who accelerated the run scoring in slog overs with a strike rate of 166 to take the score to 170 in the stipulated 20 overs.
England was never really in the game as only three Englishmen got a two-digit score. Apart from Craig Kieswetter’s 35-run knock, no batsman created an impact big enough and they were bundled out for just 80 runs.
Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh shone through with 4 wickets, getting the Man of the Match. He was ably assisted by Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawla who picked up two wickets each.
#1 India wins by 93 runs, 2017 vs Sri Lanka
A series played under the shadow of Virat-Anushka marriage saw a lot of records being forged and broken. The opening match at Cuttack saw KL Rahul celebrate his comeback to the side with a breezy 61-run knock.
MS Dhoni came out to bat at number 4 in this match after being criticized for his slow starts. Dhoni (39) was successful in giving a final flourish this time along with Manish Pandey (32). MSD clobbered a six off the last ball of the innings to take India to 180.
Sri Lanka was always behind in the game and ultimately faltered under mounting scoreboard pressure. Chahal continued his run of form to pick up four wickets. Pandya and Kuldeep also chipped in with three and two wickets respectively.
© Cricket World 2017