5 Times India Narrowly Missed Out on Winning Cricket World Cup

India’s history at the ICC Cricket World Cup – known unofficially nowadays as the 50-over World Cup, due to the presence of a T20 World Cup as well – is a rather mixed one. On the one hand, they have won the tournament twice and are one of three teams along with Australia and the West Indies to be multi-time World Cup winners.

However, there is also a sense that India have been one of the World Cup’s underachievers as there have been times when they have seemed primed to win the tournament but have slipped up at the final hurdle.

In this article, we will take a look at five times India could have won the World Cup but ended up falling short just when it mattered the most.

2019 World Cup – Semi-Finals

There is admittedly a bit of recency bias involved here but India falling at the semi-final hurdle against an underdog New Zealand side in 2019 is still a loss that rankles, despite the fact that it is evident that the Kiwis were deserved winners as, in the crunch moments, they outdid the Indians.

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India had dominated the group stage of the 2019 World Cup, qualifying for the semi-finals by topping the round-robin group that saw them face off against all the teams in the tournament. Therefore, it was evident that they started the semi-final against New Zealand as favourites.

However, in a final that is remembered for MS Dhoni’s run-out and Ravindra Jadeja’s counterattacking heroics, it was the failure of India’s vaunted top order that ended up costing them the most and also ensured their wait for an ICC tournament carried on, despite their star-studded squad.

2003 World Cup – Final

2003 was one World Cup where India started as both favourites but also went in with an underdog spirit. This is because, despite having a squad full of future legends, they had a tendency to slip up against big sides. And never was that more evident than when they were bundled out for 125 by Australia in their second game.

To their credit, India staged a resurgence for the ages and were able to make it to the finals – once again against Australia. But they were undone in the final, where they were chasing a mammoth 360 to win thanks to an unbeaten ton from Ricky Ponting in the first innings.

India folded once again, although this time there was at least some semblance of a fight from the side but they were undone by an Australian side that was full of world beaters. It remains arguably the toughest loss in ICC tournaments for India.

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2015 World Cup – Semi-Finals

Coming into the 2015 World Cup, India were undoubtedly one of the favourites. After all, they had won the previous edition of the World Cup at home and had also clinched the 2013 Champions Trophy as well. However, this was an India side that promised a lot but delivered very little.

There was the customary win against Pakistan as well as a win in the quarterfinal against Bangladesh that is remembered for a controversial no-ball call not given to the Tigers. However, they entered the semi-final against hosts Australia as the underdogs.

A tame showing in the semi meant that they bowed out having made it to the final four but any chance they might have had of defending their title against a New Zealand side that were there for the beating was gone, and it was indeed Australia who went on to win the final at Melbourne.

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1987 World Cup – Semi-Finals

Another World Cup where India came into the tournament as defending champions, having won their first ever World Cup in 1983 – and another underwhelming showing which ended with them falling in the final hurdle before the actual final, despite them boasting of a strong squad as well as home advantage.

It all started well enough, as India ended up winning their group and qualifying for the semi-finals with consummate ease. Their only group stage loss came to eventual winners Australia, but there was enough hope that they could go on to lift the trophy at home.

Unfortunately, they would go on to lose the semi-final to eventual runners-up England. Chasing 255 to win, India ended up getting bundled out for just 219. India had a chance of becoming the first team to win the tournament at home, but unfortunately could not capitalize.

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1996 World Cup – Semi-Finals

13 years later, the Cricket World Cup returned to India – as well as Pakistan and Sri Lanka – and once again India were left wondering what could have been as they fell short at the semi-finals once again. Only this time, the result of the match read very differently but we’ll get to why that was the case later.

India qualified for the quarters by finishing third in Group A and then went on to get what was a customary win against neighbours and arch-rivals Pakistan in the quarterfinals. They were the favourites to win the semis but ended up suffering a batting collapse.

But what made things worse was that the match was awarded to Sri Lanka by forfeit, as the match officials were unable to control a rowdy Kolkata crowd. The defining moment of the game was that of Vinod Kambli walking off the field in tears as the game was abandoned, with India suffering a semi-final heartbreak once again.

Also Read:

1) Ind Vs Pak ODI World Cup History

2) CWC 2023 Schedule, Teams, Logo, Host, Venues, Timetable, Tickets, Final Date

3) Most Cricket World Cup Final Losses List Since 1975

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