Ever since its origin in the late sixteenth century, cricket has grown to become one of the most popular sports primarily in countries that were once part of the British colonial empire.
In India, even though hockey is the national sport, it is all too evident that cricket is the most popular sport. Brought to this country’s shores by British sailors in the eighteenth century, cricket has not only become the most widely played sport in India, but also become an integral part of contemporary Indian lifestyle.
This article in Business Standard talks about how cricket attracts 93% of all people who watch sports in India, and this only shows the status cricket enjoys in the country.
The popularity of cricket in India can be attributed to numerous reasons, such as its ease of play, which is what makes it possible to be played in backyards, parks, open fields and even in the narrow lanes and bylanes of Indian cities.
India is a country that has an excellent infrastructure for the sport, making it easy for people to learn and practice the sport in the multitude of stadiums and coaching centres across the country.
Equally conducive to the growth of the sport in India is the immense coverage cricket gets in the media. Pretty much each and every cricketing event across the nation is covered extensively in print, display, radio, television and online media.
A more recent, but still greatly important, phenomenon that has contributed to the rise in the popularity of cricket is online gaming. Cricket can now be played on one’s personal devices in various forms, and one of its most popular types is fantasy cricket. Click here to read more.
For the fans, however, cricket is so much more than just a sport. It has become an emotion, a way of life, and even a state of being for some. So, in this blog, we look back at some of the most memorable moments over the years that cricket fans across the world will regard as milestones in the game’s glorious history.
Best Cricket Memories of All Time
- Viv Richards’ remarkable victory against England
The West Indies team had become favourites in the 1979 World Cup. So far they had won in 1975 and had only lost one World Cup game. However, in the 1979 finals, England had reduced the West Indian score to 102 for 4, and the England team were eyeing a victory. Viv Richards scored 139 runs and snatched the victory for the West Indian team, and till date, this score remains the highest ever scored by an individual player.
- India’s win against the West Indies in 1983
In the 1983 World Cup, nobody thought India would be able to pull off anything spectacular, and this opinion was reinforced at half time where India had only managed to score 183 in their sixty overs. The West Indies team were almost at 50 for 1, with Viv Richards being at the top of his form. However, Viv Richards ended up hitting a skier, with the then Indian captain Kapil Dev running around and around, but finally taking the catch. India eventually won the game by 43 runs.
- Mike Gatting’s infamous reverse sweep in 1987
In the year 1987, the England team was all set to win their first World Cup outside their home country when a reverse sweep from Mike Gatting changed the course of the game. England were chasing 254 at the final against Australia in Calcutta. The English had so far scored 135 for 2 when Mike Gatting decided to go for a reverse sweep that ended up top edging to the keeper. Subsequently, more and more English wickets fell, and the England team lost narrowly, with a 7 run margin making the match the closest World Cup final ever.
- 22 runs from one ball in 1992
In the semifinals of the 1992 World Cup, South Africa needed 23 runs from 13 balls to beat England and make it to the final. However, there was a 12 minute delay on account of rain, and this meant the players had to leave the field and a revised rain-adjusted target had to be set. The scoreboard showed 22 runs off just one ball as the revised target.
- Pakistan’s victory in 1992
In the 1992 World Cup, the England team had been the best team throughout. Pakistan had somehow scraped through to the final match. Wasim Akram took the Pakistan team to a total of 249, and England, when chasing, kept losing wickets regularly. Eventually, it was the Pakistan team that won the match by 22 runs, with team captain Imran Khan lifting the trophy in a historic win for the country.
- Sri Lanka’s victory over Australia in 1996
In the late 1990s, the Australian team was widely regarded as the star team. The Australian team had secured a comfortable 242 and had reduced Sri Lanka to 23-2, but it was soon to change because it was Sri Lanka’s fantastic batsmen who made sure that their team won the match by 7 wickets.
- South Africa’s self destructive defeat against Australia in 1999
In the 1999 semifinal held at Edgbaston, the match between Australia and South Africa has been described by Wisden as “the greatest one-day international of all-time”. The South African team was chasing 213 to win against Australia, and they needed just one run with four balls remaining, and the last pair at the crease. With three balls still to be played, the batsman Lance Klusener was run out. The Australian team won the match and eventually the final as well.
- India’s heroic win in 2011
India was playing Sri Lanka in the 2011 World Cup final in Mumbai, and had to chase a steep 275. However, it was the skill and prowess of Mahendra Singh Dhoni that led India to a spectacular win, with Sachin Tendulkar lifting the trophy in what was his sixth and final tournament that year.
In a game as enthralling and popular as cricket, there have been numerous other memorable moments, but these are just some of them that fans will always remember. We look forward to more such moments which would surely become milestones in the history of cricket.