India, unlike South Africa or England, never had the privilege of quality all-rounders. This would make the captain's job tough as he had to look for options to complete the fifth bowler's quota of 10 overs.
To lend balance to the side, most of the top order batsmen would bowl a few overs of medium pace, off-spin or leg-spin on a regular basis to support the regular bowlers. In the process, they broke a few crucial partnerships and turned quite a few matches on its head.
Let us look into 5 such performances, where their bowling efforts became the difference and helped India win the match.
#5 Rahul Dravid - 2/43 versus South Africa - 2000, Kochi
We all know Rahul Dravid as "THE WALL" with an almost impregnable defence. Dravid had this great attitude to put his team first ahead of everything.
When South Africa played against India in Kochi in 2000 in the 1st ODI, Cronje had no hesitation in batting first on an absolute belter of a wicket. His decision was proved right by the openers Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs who got South Africa off to a flyer and Indian bowlers were looking hapless and out of ideas.
Sourav Ganguly, who was captaining India for the first time as a full-time captain, came up with an out-of-the-box idea and asked Rahul Dravid to bowl. Dravid, who had the distinction of picking up Saeed Anwar with his part-time off-spin, got into the groove and started bowling a few economical overs.
With South Africa cruising at 249 for 1 in 42 overs, Dravid produced magic and picked up Gary Kirsten for 115 and Lance Klusener for 0 in the same over. He ended his spell with figures of 9-1-43-2 and was the best Indian bowler of the day out-bowling his state-mates Anil Kumble and Sunil Joshi.
India restricted South Africa to 301/3 and chased down the target with Ajay Jadeja playing a match-winning knock of 92.
#4 Yuvraj Singh - 5/31 versus Ireland - WC 2011, Bengaluru
Yuvraj Singh has been a wily bowler who has performed the role of a fifth bowler to perfection on many occasions. He did a commendable job in the 2011 World Cup picking 15 wickets in the tournament.
When Ireland played India in the 2011 WC, they were fresh of their famous upset win against England chasing down 327. Kevin O'Brien had massacred a hapless England bowling attack scoring the fastest hundred in WC history with 113 runs from 63 balls.
Indians were wary of the Irish fightback and decided to bowl first. Ireland were jolted with 2 early blows, but captain Will Porterfield and Niall O'Brien resurrected the innings with a 113 run-stand.
At this point of time, Yuvraj was introduced into the attack and started bowling a few economical overs. He first dismissed White followed by the dangerman Kevin O'Brien for 9. Yuvraj was bowling it slow and the pitch was gripping and turning. He also snared the innings top scorer Porterfield, Alex Cusack and John Mooney. Yuvraj was the star with the ball ending the spell with 10-0-31-5.
India chased down Ireland's target of 207 with Yuvraj scoring an impressive fifty and he was awarded MoM for his all-round efforts.
This is also the best ever figures by a left-arm spinner in World Cup history and this record will stand the test of time and only Kuldeep Yadav seems the likely contender to challenge this feat.
#3 Virender Sehwag - 3/25 versus South Africa - ICC Knockout 2002, Colombo
India were playing South Africa in the 2002 ICC Knockout Trophy Semi-Finals in Colombo. They were the team to beat in the tournament.
Sourav Ganguly won the toss and elected to bat against a strong South African side. India got off to a good start with Ganguly and Sehwag scoring 40 in 5 overs. India lost some wickets in the middle overs but some late-order fireworks by Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif helped India reach a competitive 261.
South Africa got off to a poor start losing Graeme Smith cheaply, but soon Gibbs and Kallis resurrected the situation with a mammoth 176 run stand. India looked clueless and the writing was on the wall.
India needed some luck to stage a comeback into the game and Herschelle Gibbs's timely injury due to excessive humidity made him retire hurt at 116.
After Gibbs departed, India dismissed both Dippenaar and Rhodes and Ganguly took a gamble by introducing Sehwag in the attack. Sehwag started to bowl an impressive spell by stitching lots of dot balls. At this point, South Africa still needed 34 from 4 overs.
After a few more good overs, the equation came down to 21 from 6 balls. Along with picking up the wicket of Boucher, Sehwag had only conceded 14 in 4 overs. He was asked to bowl the all-important last over.
The first ball was smacked for a mammoth six by Kallis. However, he was caught behind for 97 off the very next delivery. Lance Klusener, who had struggled to put bat to ball, skied the ball in the air only to be caught by Mohammad Kaif at long-off. Sehwag ended the match with figures of 5-0-25-3.
India won a cliffhanger by 10 runs and Sehwag was deservedly given the MoM for his all-round efforts.
#2 Sachin Tendulkar - 5/32 versus Australia - 1998, Kochi
Sachin Tendulkar has arguably been cricket's greatest batsman. The matter of fact is, Sachin also has over 200 international wickets. He wanted to be a fast bowler and Dennis Lillee rejected him in 1987 in the MRF Pace Foundation in Madras (now Chennai).
Sachin had single-handedly demolished the touring Australians in 1998 Test series but failed with the bat in the first ODI in Kochi. India, riding on Jadeja's 109 with Azhar and Kanitkar's fifties, piled up a massive 309/5.
Australia got off to a flyer and Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh punished the Indian bowlers and were especially severe on Debasish Mohanty. Ajit Agarkar, in his ODI debut, dismissed the dangerous Gilchrist for 61 and Ponting followed soon.
Michael Bevan and Steve Waugh put up an important partnership and things looked dead and buried for India when Australia reached 202/3 in 33 overs.
Azhar turned to Sachin who almost immediately got rid of Steve Waugh to reduce Australia to 203/4. He dismissed Darren Lehmann and got rid of the dangerous Bevan for 65. Sachin then had Tom Moody stumped of Mongia and later dismissed Damien Martyn to completely derail the Australian chase. Australia collapsed and lost the remaining 7 wickets for 65 runs.
Sachin Tendulkar ended up with his best ODI figures 10-1-32-5 and was duly awarded the MoM.
#1 Sourav Ganguly - 5/16 versus Pakistan - 1997, Toronto
Sahara Cup took the India-Pakistan rivalry to a different level and this bilateral ODI series produced some exciting cricket. India were off to a fantastic start in the 1997 Sahara Cup, winning the first 2 games comprehensively.
Pakistan came back stronger in the third game and allowed India to score only 182/6 in 50 overs after winning the toss and choosing to field first. For India, only Azhar made a decent contribution with a fighting half-century against the quality pace bowling attack of Pakistan.
Pakistan got off to a flyer with Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi smashing the Indian bowlers. They brought up their 50 in the 8th over. After Anwar was dismissed for 22, Afridi continued to torment the Indian bowlers and scored 44 before getting out.
Captain Ramiz Raja was dismissed with the score reading 87/3 in 12 overs. With so much batting at their disposal, Pakistan were favourites to win the match and make a comeback in the series.
However, skipper Sachin Tendulkar had other plans and introduced the wily Sourav Ganguly into the attack. The Southpaw dismissed the dangerous Salim Malik for 6 and Hasan Raza for 0.
Once Ganguly got into his groove, he bowled some tight overs and the pressure started to mount on the Pakistani batsmen.
Ijaz Ahmed was the first one to succumb as he skied a catch to Kambli and got out for 13. Moin Khan couldn't last long and he was caught by Robin Singh for 7.
Ganguly got his fifth wicket when Aaqib Javed slogged one to Abey Kuruvilla. Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 148 in 36.5 overs giving India a 34-run win.
Ganguly bowled a magical spell and ended up with 10-3-16-5. He was awarded the MoM for his efforts and Sachin did not hold back his praise and termed Ganguly as India's "Secret Weapon"