Best ODI teams in history: MS Dhoni’s India makes history at home at the 2011 World Cup – Sport360 News

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It has been almost 50 years since the first ODI was played between Australia and England on the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). While the T20s are the darling of cricket today, it’s the 50-year format that initially helped increase the popularity and exposure of the sport.

The format gave birth to the ICC World Cup in 1975, a quadrennial competition, which has become the benchmark in terms of greatness of the game. Over the years, several teams have been dazzled by their brilliant performances in bilateral series and ICC competitions.

In this series, we look at eight of the best ODI teams in history. The winning team of the India World Cup in 2011 is the subject of our attention below.


Openers: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag

Medium order: Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (WK, C), Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan

Spinners: Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Piyush Chawla

Pacers: Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra, S Sreesanth


After what turned out to be a disastrous campaign for the 2007 Caribbean World Cup, the Indian ODI party has been in a state of flux for several months. Several veterans saw the door as a new era opened under the command of MS Dhoni.

The seeds of rebirth were sown at the first World T20 in 2007, where an un-primed Indian side led by Dhoni turned out to be the unlikely winners.

ODI’s fortunes, however, continued to fluctuate, as the team suffered several hiccups along the way over the next few years. In the end, everything went well just in time for the Home World Cup, with Dhoni’s men reaching a second title for the country in 2011. It would be more successful two years later, when the men in blue won the ICC Champions Trophy in England.

Captain – MS Dhoni

A man who would eventually earn the nickname “Captain Cool”, Dhoni turned out to be exactly the kind of leader India needed to rebuild itself. After breaking into the scene as a swashbuckling boxer drummer, the Ranchi player was a surprise choice for the skipper.

However, he instantly proved his doubts by inducing India to triumph over the 2007 global T20 in South Africa. With a calm and collected demenour devoid of emotions, Dhoni orchestrated the team behind the stumps.

He brought the missing steel to high-level ICC tournaments and challenged them to crumple the feathers of the conquering Australians.

As a drummer, Dhoni has always led the way and his exploits with the bat saw him rise to the top of the ODI rankings in 2009. Gradually, he went from an aggressive drummer to one of the best finishers in the story. His finishing qualities will prove decisive for the triumph of India at the 2011 World Cup, his six victories sending a billion fanatics into delirium.


Great top three

Sachin Tendulkar

In Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, India had a first pair that could be trusted to give them a good start. Despite the final stages of his career at ODI, Tendulkar beat like a man possessed at the 2011 World Cup. His 482 points in the tournament were only improved by Tillakaratne Dilshan of Sri Lanka, the “Master Blaster” crushing two tons and as many half-centuries in the process.

The Delhi duo, Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, amassed nearly 800 points between them during the campaign, the duo completing a formidable top-three for India.

Overall feat of Yuvraj Singh


Although there have been several notable contributions to the conquest of the World Cup in India, none of them has been greater than that of Yuvraj Singh. The flamboyant star’s overall prowess changed the game for the hosts and gave them the necessary balance to go all the way.

Some 362 runs at an average of over 90 were Yuvraj’s phenomenal numbers, but it was the efficiency of his left arm rotation that propelled him toward the man of the tournament award. Its 15 wickets at an average of 25.13 meant that India could pack their camp with seven specialized drummers.

In terms of multi-purpose exhibitions, no one else comes close to Yuvraj’s 2011 World Cup campaign.

Wily Zaheer makes amends


His finicky bowling in the opening game of the 2003 World Cup final set the tone for a crushing defeat for India, but a more experienced and experienced Zaheer Khan made amends dramatically eight years later.

With 21 scalps in the tournament, the gunman on the left finished as the biggest wicket holder of the World Cup. He was always available to give India some early breakthroughs with the new ball, while his smart cutters and precise yorkers made him a hard nut to break in the dead.

Greatest feat – Consecutive ICC trophies

The home advantage played its part in the 2011 World Cup for India, with the hosts finding themselves as deserved crown holders. A narrow defeat against South Africa was the only failure as Dhoni’s men won the title at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

Their path to the trophy was not easy and they had to face several delicate obstacles. In the quarterfinals, they beat an Australian team that had won three World Cups in a row. A tough test against Pakistani rivals awaited them in the final four, the Indians managing to keep their cool in a tense clash.

In the final, they looked dead and buried after the first layoffs of Sehwag and Tendulkar in a 275 lawsuit against the Sri Lankans. Despite the immense pressure on the stage, the heats of Gambhir and Dhoni helped India seal a magical night in Mumbai.

The fact that they followed the World Cup title with a conquest of the Champions Trophy in England two years later only improved the reputation of Dhoni and India. There they won all five games, including a tight, low-scoring final against England’s hosts in the final.

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Author: Usama Younus

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