Top 5 Innings of Dinesh Mongia

Dinesh Mongia, the ex Indian International cricketer has announced his retirement from professional cricket after over a decade since he played a game on the professional level. The left-handed classical batsman used to bowl some left-arm spin too. He was part of India's campaign of 2003 ICC cricket world cup. He also featured in India's playing XI at their first-ever T-20 game in South Africa. Let us revisit five of his most memorable innings from his playing days.

71 off 75 against England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

It was the first of 6 ODIs for England on the tour of India at the iconic Eden Gardens of Kolkata. English fans might remember this game the umpiring blunders that snatched the game away from England but Indian fans got to know about who Dinesh Mongia is through this game. Batting at number three in just his fifth ODI, Mongia tore apart an English bowling lineup consisting of Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff, Darren Gough, Ashley Giles and Jeremy Snape. The way he reached his fifty scoring run a ball, it looked like India found a solid left-handed batsman who could come in handy in the absence of Saurav Ganguly. He finished with a spectacular 71 against his name and the runs came at a quick pace. India went on to win the game by 30 runs and got off to a great start in the series.

159 off 147 against Zimbabwe at Nehru Stadium, Guwahati

After a productive series against England, Mongia had his name stamped in the XI. He took on Zimbabwe a couple of months later and gunned down one of the highest individual scores of his time. People these days might underrate performance against Zimbabwe but 16 years ago they were not the same team. They were emerging giants in the game, pretty much how Afghanistan is these days. After 4 games in a series of 5, the scores were level at 2-2 and it was a must-win game for India to avoid the humiliation. The pair of Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Mongia destroyed Zimbabwean bowling lineup as India piled on a massive 333 in their quota of 50 overs. Mongia joined the elite list of batsmen who carried their bat in a one day game as he finished on 159 of 147 balls with the help of 17 fours and a six. India went on to win the game by a margin of 101 runs.

74 off 104 against West Indies at Kennington Oval, Bridgetown

Indian Cricket Team made its way to the Caribbeans in the summer of 2002 for five one day games after winning the ODIs against Zimbabwe. Mongia got an opportunity to bat at number three once again. After failing to convert a couple of starts, It was the third game of the series where Mongia found his mojo back. After a couple of games were washed out, the series was left to be decided with just three games and both the teams were on a quest to have an upper hand after the conclusion of the first completed game. India bundled out West Indies for 186 thanks to some marvellous bowling from Tinu Yohannan and Ajit Agarkar. Mongia entered the field after Sehwag was dismissed and he stitched down an important partnership of 68 with skipper Saurav Ganguly. Although he was dismissed in the back end of the game, he ensured that India got the upper hand in the series with the help of his calm and composed 74.

55* off 38 against South Africa at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka

A series of low scores at the World Cup as well as the previous 12 months and increasing competition in the top order meant Mongia failed to hold onto his spot at number three for long. After a disappointing defeat against the Aussies, Indian cricket team made their way to Bangladesh for the TVS Cup 2003. India thrashed Bangladesh in the first game by 200 runs but Mongia had a disappointing game with the bat. It was the second game of the tournament against South Africa where people got to see an upgraded Dinesh Mongia. Batting at number 6, Mongia smashed a 38 ball 55 and lead India to a total of 307 in 50 overs. India went on to win the game by 153 runs.

63 off 90 against Australia at Kinrara Academy Oval, Kuala Lumpur

The extent of competition in India cricket team can be understood by looking at the fact that despite scoring a fifty at number 6 at a strike rate close to 150, Mongia had limited opportunities at the highest level between 2003 and 2006. After his 55 not out, his next fifty at International level came after over three years. He got to play only 5 games in between with decent outcomes. The team moved towards the batsmen with better hitting abilities. His 63, the only fifty in a losing cause came against Australia in the DLF Cup. He proved his mettle against the best, in the most difficult circumstances. India needed a victory against the mighty Aussies in order to make it to the final and they were chasing a target of 219. Ruthless Aussies had 4 of India's top batsmen back in the pavilion when Mongia entered the arena. His partnership with M.S.Dhoni bought India back in the game but once Dhoni got out, India submitted. Mongia stood tall till the end but unfortunately, no one could offer him support from the other end.

After a couple of poor outings against Bangladesh post the disaster of the 2007 world cup, he failed to make his way back to the team. Any remaining hopes of him making a comeback vanished as he joined the controversial Indian Cricket League. Currently, Mongia runs a cricket academy in Chandigarh.


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