Sourav Ganguly: The last ODI hundred of his career in Kingsmead, Durban in ICC World Cup 2003
The last ODI century of Sourav Ganguly might have come against visiting West Indies in 2007. Ganguly after a one and half years of hard fought battle made a dream comeback in Nagpur. It was the first match of the bilateral series India v West Indies. Sourav was batting on 98 and feeling tensed. He failed to soak the pressure, as a result, he was run out by Dwayne Smith.
Sourav Ganguly was dropped from the ODI team after the tour of Zimbabwe in 2005. The result of the series was in India’s favour. But, Sourav Ganguly somehow lost his form. It was believed that Ganguly’s lack of form was the reason for the then coach Greg Chappell, who was believed to be the culprit behind Sourav’s bad phase, to oust him from the team. Chappell had laid out a conspiracy to strip Sourav from the captaincy and make Dravid the captain. Owing to these controversies Sourav’s batting was affected as per one the many theories floating around Indian cricket ever since.
After two consecutive 90 run innings against England and Kenya in 2004 ICC champions trophy. Sourav Ganguly lost his form and was dropped from the team. Recently Sourav Ganguly said, then captain Rahul Dravid did not have the spine to protest Greg’s ill thought order. But, Dravid countered Sourav’s comment by saying that he always wanted to keep Sourav in his team.
When he made a comeback as an opener, we saw a changed Sourav Ganguly.
But, Sourav Ganguly’s golden patch was in the years between 1998 and 2004.
His last century came in the 2003 World Cup semifinal against Kenya. A man, who scored 22 ODI hundreds in his career had gone close to the century many times. But, fell to the pressure of nervous 90s.
Nobody thought that the century against Kenya would be the last of Ganguly’s career. He scored three centuries in that world cup and was the second highest run-scorer for India after Sachin Tendulkar.
The second semifinal match of the World Cup was rice and milk for India as nobody expected that Kenya, who upset Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe, would surpass the Indian hurdle.
India batting first got a good start from opener Virender Sehwag (33) and Sachin Tendulkar (83). After the departure of Sehwag, Sachin and Sourav had a 103 runs partnership. An easy day for India. On the song, Ganguly hit five sixes on the rooftop of the Kingsmead Stadium, Durban on the way to his unbeaten 111. The innings was enjoyable as it was on one hand a typical Sourav Ganguly innings and, on the other hand, it came at the important occasion – the world cup semi-final. India won the match by 91 runs and cruised into the world cup final.
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