Virender Sehwag, one of India’s best ever openers, celebrates his 45th birthday on October 20. Widely known as the ‘Nawab of Najafgarh,’ Sehwag was one of the most destructive openers of his time, a batter who could change the complexion of any match within a matter of overs.
Hailing from a middle-class family in Najafgarh, Virender Sehwag nurtured the dream of becoming a cricketer, inspired by the likes of Sachin Tendulkar. He eventually amassed over 16,000 runs for India across formats, firmly establishing himself among the revered icons of Indian cricket. It was, hence, befitting, that he would walk out to open the innings with his idol when India lifted the World Cup in 2011.
As Virender Sehwag turns 45, we take a look at his top three innings in the World Cup:
#3 88 runs vs Australia, 2003
It was the final of the 2003 World Cup between India and Australia. Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn sent the Indian bowlers on a leather hunt as Australia posted 359 runs at the end of their 50 overs. In reponse, India kept losing wickets and their chase never really got going.
There was a short rain delay and this was when Ricky Ponting tried to get in the overs as quickly as possible to get a result out of this match. This was the window of opportunity for Sehwag who took down the spinners.
Sehwag emerged as India’s top scorer with 88 runs, but India’s innings concluded at 234 all out in the 40th over. On the Australian side, Glenn McGrath secured three wickets for 52 runs, while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds each contributed with two wickets.
#2 114 vs Bermuda, 2007
After losing their first match to Bangladesh, India needed to bounce back and make amends to their World Cup campaign. They took on Bermuda and this was the match where Virender Sehwag’s remarkable century, along with half-centuries from Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, and Sachin Tendulkar, powered India to a historic 257-run victory over Bermuda.
Sehwag was absolutely unleashed as he smashed 114 off 87 deliveries in an innings that featured 13 boundaries and three sixes. This was the first time India had crossed the 400-run mark in ODIs.
#1 175 vs Bangladesh, 2011
In the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup’s opening match at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, India smashed Bangladesh by 87 runs. Batting first, India posted 370 runs on the board, an effort that was powered by the Player of the Match, Virender Sehwag, who contributed a remarkable 175, and Virat Kohli’s unbeaten century.
Bangladesh did start well and were looking good, but the target was a bridge too far for them. They ended at 283/9 after their alloted overs.
Sehwag started the innings with a lovely cover drive and never really looked back. His 175 came off just 140 balls and had 14 boundaries and five sixes.