Two wins and a heartbreak. India has reached the final of the World Cup for a fourth time and will face Australia in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

It has been well over a decade since India last reached the final of World Cup final but they have done that this year in style. Rohit Sharma’s men have won all 10 of the matches that they have had to play thus far and it is safe to say that they have hardly ever faced a serious challenge. Even when their opponents in the semi-finals were New Zealand, a side that they had previously never managed to beat in the knockouts of a World Cup and whom they beat in a World Cup game for the first time since 2003 only earlier in this year’s tournament.

With Australia winning the other semi-final, it all seems to have come full circle for both sides in multiple ways. First of all, they started this tournament by facing each other back on October 8 in Chennai. Moreover, this will be the second time that the two sides face each other in a World Cup final, with the last one being 20 years ago in 2003. At the time, Australia seen as the favorite to win the match, and they showed why that was the case by eventually brushing India aside. However, it is safe to say that India is seen as the far stronger team going into this World Cup.

Rohit will become the fourth captain to lead the Indian team in a men’s World Cup final. Of the three who did so before him, two were left with wide smiles on their faces, and one, not so much. With the 2023 final scheduled to take place on Sunday, let’s take a look at the last three World Cup finals that India played in.

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1. 1983: India beat West Indies by 43 runs (Two wins and a heartbreak):

Still considered one of the most extraordinary underdog stories in the tournament’s history. The legacy of India’s victory over the mighty West Indies at Lord’s on June 25, 1983, can’t be quantified. India were rank outsiders coming into the tournament. The fact that they had made it to the final was one of the great shocks of that era. Moreover, they were facing Clive Lloyd’s West Indies, the only team to have won the World Cup at that point and chasing a third consecutive title. India were all out for just 183 in 60 overs. However, they then restricted a West Indies batting lineup starring Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, and Viv Richards.

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2. 2003: Australia beat India by 125 runs

India was far from being as unheralded as they were in 1983 in this tournament. Still, even then, such was the domination of the Australians in that World Cup, and in that era in general, that a victory for Sourav Ganguly’s side was seen as an unlikely result. India had won all but two matches that they had played going into that final, one of which was a 9-wicket hammering at the hands of Australia themselves. Two wins and a heartbreak. Ricky Ponting’s cricketing version of the Galacticos. Meanwhile, they went into the match in Johannesburg having all 12 of the matches they play till then. For India, Virender Sehwag scored 82 off 81 and current head coach Rahul Dravid scored 47 in 57 but against the might of the likes of Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, India crumbled to a score of 234, thus losing by 125 runs.

3. 2011: India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets (Two wins and a heartbreak):

A match that is now often being taken in the same breath as the 1983 final in terms of significance in the history of cricket in the country. This final also started what is, Indian fans would hope, an ongoing trend of host nations winning the title. India and Sri Lanka were two of three teams hosting the World Cup. The final held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Mahela Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 103 off 88 to lead Sri Lanka to a score of 274/6.

However, Gautam Gambhir and a young Virat Kohli led a recovery, putting up 83 for the third wicket. Gambhir then had a 109-run stand with captain MS Dhoni, putting India in pole position. Gambhir ended up falling three runs short of a famous century but Dhoni, in Ravi Shastri’s famous words “finished it off in style. He ended unbeaten on 91 off 79 and India reclaimed the World Cup after nearly three decades.

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