“Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the World Cup after 28 years.” These words from Ravi Shastri still remains fresh as new. It has been 8 years since India lifted the world cup, the memorize are like, it had just happened yesterday. Indeed, the image of skipper MS Dhoni smashing Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara for a six to seal the victory is etched in the heart of every Indian. The first team to win the World Cup on home soil, 28 years after Kapil Dev’s men had lifted cricket’s biggest trophy at Lord’s in 1983.
Not a Long Time Ago
8 Years ago on this day Saturday, April 2nd, India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup, defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the final, played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, India. At the ground, 42,000 spectators watched the final in person. Perhaps, the most-viewed sports event ever estimated; 1 billion people TV viewers worldwide.
Saturday’s final followed two semi-final matches, including a March 30th contest between host nation India and rival Pakistan, where Pakistan’s prime minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, and India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh sat side by side to take in the match in an act of “cricket diplomacy.” Played at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali on 30 March 2011. India won the match by 29 runs and qualified for the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final.
Ultimately, in the battle of the captains, Mahendra Dhoni, after a dodgy start to the day, prevailed in a pulsating climax to the tournament. There were suggestions that Dhoni had been deceived at the toss by Kumar Sangakkara, but it was the India captain who had the last laugh when the fireworks exploded into the night sky of Mumbai.
Bowling first, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh’s heroics, where they took two wickets each, helped India restrict Sri Lanka to 274/6 from 50 overs. With wickets falling on the other side, veteran Mahela Jayawardene took upon him to stabilize the Lankan innings. Indeed, having top-scored for his team with an unbeaten 103 later became the first centurion to end up on the losing side in a World Cup final.
In reply, India got off to a fumbling start, India’s run chase probably got off to the worst possible start. Malinga took the wicket of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar and it was all tense again inside the Wankhede.
Gautam Gambhir and young Virat Kohli managed to bring some stability to the Indian innings with their 83 run partnership. Still, a lot to do, but India had managed itself to pull out of the rut they were in.
Getting reduced to 31/2 but the massive fourth-wicket stand between Gautam Gambhir (97) and Dhoni (91*) brought a hope. Dhoni gambled by promoting himself to the No. 5 slot ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh. The ploy, based on sound cricketing logic to have a right-left combination in the middle, worked. Undoubtedly the unsung hero for India in the finals. Gambhir came to the crease when India lost a wicket in the third ball. Although he came pretty close to a century, he had left his mark on the game.
With 11 balls to spare Dhoni smashed Sri Lanka’s Nuwan Kulasekara for a six to seal the victory is captured in the heart of every Indian. Dhoni remained not out on 91 with Yuvraj Singh (21*) on the other side when India clinched their second World Cup. India chased down the total and won the match by six wickets in the 49th over. Dhoni was declared the “man of the match” for scoring 91 runs while his compatriot Yuvraj Singh was awarded the “man of the tournament “.
The end was picture perfect for India. Dhoni held aloft the Cup of Joy and a nation exploded with happiness. You can freeze the frame.
Sachin retires after playing 10 ODIs after 2011 WC for a man whose name sits alongside almost every batting record imaginable, there’s one moment that stands out above all the rest.
After 28 years of hurt for his country – and 19 years for Tendulkar personally – the Little Master led India to their first World Cup title since 1983 in 2011, at his sixth and final attempt.