97 days to go: The most iconic 97 in ICC World Cup history

With 97 days to go before the start of the 2019 World Cup, a look at the most iconic 97 in the tournament's history.

Published: 22nd February 2019 07:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:35 PM   |  A+A-

India's Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir's knock set the platform for India's 2011 World Cup triumph | AFP

Online Desk

For a generation of fans who only had second-hand stories of India's triumph in the 1983 World Cup, it was Gautam Gambhir's knock that ended a 28-year wait and helped India claim their second World Cup in 2011. That he just fell short of what would have just been the seventh century in a World Cup final is somewhat forgotten thanks to MS Dhoni's searing six that took India over the line.

In many ways the fate that has befallen Gambhir's most famous ODI knock encapsulates his career too. Far too often, he gave his all on the cricket field, only to find that he was always the bridesmaid but never the bride.

With 97 days to go before the ICC World Cup 2019, it is only fair that the southpaw's iconic knock at the Wankhede stadium is showered with the praise it deserves.

Walking to the crease in the first over of a World Cup final, when the team has lost one of its best batsmen in a tricky chase, Gambhir set the tone off the first ball he faced. It was a misfield at square leg that turned a flick off his pads into a boundary . 

Not long after that, Malinga got rid of Sachin Tendulkar. Silence enveloped not just the stadium but the entire nation.

More than 250 was still required and a relatively inexperienced Virat Kohli joined Gambhir at the crease. That was when Gambhir embarked on the first of two acts to set up what would be the most memorable run chase under MS Dhoni.

First, his 84-run partnership with Kohli for the third wicket ensured that India weren't blown away by a menacing Malinga in their pursuit of the World Cup title.

Then, came an even more crucial 108-run stand for the fourth wicket with captain Dhoni, who promoted himself in the most important game of his career until then.

Throughout the knock and these two partnerships, Gambhir displayed all the qualities that endeared him to millions of fans everytime he took the field. He had his slice of luck as well as Nuwan Kulasekara dropped him on 30. The opener made the most of the opportunity presented to him by setting the perfect platform for the final flourish.

While it was Dhoni who hit the winning runs and Sachin who was carried around by teammates, India will forever owe a great debt to Gambhir for his patience, perseverance and penchant for doing what needed to be done.

And that is why, even though there have been six scores of 97 in the World Cup, including two by Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, Gambhir's 97 will forever remain the most iconic 97 in the history of the World Cup.


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  • Saravanan

    Why gambhir never had a set back in Indian squad.
    2 years ago reply
  • Saravanan

    Why gambhir never had a set back in Indian squad.
    2 years ago reply
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