In an otherwise tournament to forget, India scored 400-plus for the first time in One-Day Internationals (ODI) at the 2007 World Cup, in their group stage match against Bermuda in Port of Spain, Trinidad. They went into this game after suffering an upset at the hands of Bangladesh and this was a must-win game for India, if they were to stay alive for a spot in the Super Eights.
India went into the tournament as an unsettled unit, largely due to the way then coach Greg Chappell was leading the team. His tiff with Sourav Ganguly is well documented, which led to Rahul Dravid taking over as captain in 2005. In another drastic move, he made Sachin Tendulkar bat in the middle-order, and not open the innings – a position where he had the most success – just three months before the mega event.
Chappell’s strict attitude or the way he disciplined his players did not go down well with the side, who were worshipped by millions in India. His changes were also not well received by fans who had called for his axe right from the time he took charge, with many calling for an Indian coach – someone who understands the culture of the dressing room. Interestingly, under his predecessor John Wright – a New Zealander – Indian cricket witnessed some terrific highs, which included reaching the 2003 World Cup final, winning the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2001 and also drawing a Test series in Australia in 2003-04. It was safe to say that Wright had set the bar high for Chappell.
India went into the tournament low on morale due to the off-field issues with their coach, but with plenty of star-studded players the thought of crashing out in the group stages was something they would have never imagined.
After India were put into bat, Bermuda stuck early after 17-year-old Malaichi Jones, got the wicket of Robin Uthappa caught at first slip brilliantly by Dwayne Leverock, who set off running in one direction while Jones in another – an iconic moment even now.
Thankfully for India, Ganguly (89) and Virender Sehwag (114) built a 202-run stand for the second wicket to set up an excellent platform for India. While Ganguly took a cautious approach, Sehwag, known to be a swashbuckling batsman struck 17 fours and three sixes in his innings. In a bid to push the scoring further, MS Dhoni (29) and Yuvraj Singh (83) came in next and further bludgeoned the Bermudian bowling attack. Tendulkar came into bat at No. 6 for the first time in 14 years and slammed an unbeaten 29-ball 57, which included a six of the first ball of the 50th over to take India past the 400-mark for the first time in ODIs. India eventually finished with 413 for 5 from their 50 overs.
It was only the fifth time that a team had scored 400-plus in an ODI and India were the fourth country to do so after South Africa (2), Australia and Sri Lanka.
Bermuda never looked to be in the game at any point chasing the mammoth total. David Hemp offered some resistance with his unbeaten 76, but otherwise, there was nothing to show. Rain had stopped play 3.1 overs into the chase, but that did not stop the game from being completed without losing any overs.
Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar picked up three wickets apiece to hand India a comprehensive 257-run victory, but more importantly, kept them in the hunt for a place in the last eight.
• Kumble never played another ODI. He finished with 337 wickets from 271 matches - still a record for India
• India lost to Sri Lanka by 69 runs in the final group match to crash out of the tournament
• On April 4, 2007, Chappell resigned as the head coach of the Indian team
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