New Delhi: “Absolutely Magnificent... Dhoni finishes off in style! A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years. The party start in the dressing room and it’s an Indian captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the finals,” shouted elated Ravi Shastri in his thunderous voice on the commentators’ microphone as MS Dhoni clobbered Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on boundary to register India’s second World Cup Triumph in 2011.
It was Saturday night on 2nd April when India for the second time in front of a manic home crowd at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai laid their hands on the World Cup Trophy. The nation with a population of over 1.2 billion and which regards cricket as one of its religion had to wait for 28 long years for the moment. It was under the leadership of legendary Kapil Dev that the Indian team managed to lift the title way back in 1983, defeating giant West Indies at Lords.
Chasing a daunting target of 275 in the pressure-cooker final against neighbours Sri Lanka, India got off to one of the worst starts of the tournament. With 31-2 on board after 6.1 overs, swashbuckling Virender Sehwag (0) and ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar (18) were back in the pavilion. Young Virat, after a patient knock of 35 was too back when Dilshan took a stunner off his own bowling. Then came the most majestic fourth-wicket stand between skipper Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir. Promoting himself ahead of in-form Yuvraj, Dhoni started of the chase cautiously. While Gambhir at the other end was busy smashing the spinners all around the park, patient Dhoni silently knocked the balls around for singles and twos. Dhoni finally switched gears after Gambhir was bowled out on 97 off Thisara Perera. Towards the end, 54-run stand with man-of-the-series Yuvraj Singh helped India pull-off the thriller.
While Gautam Gambhir was the top scorer in the batting charts, Dhoni’s 79-ball 91 proved to be game changer for the hosts. Performance at the biggest stage also helped Dhoni earn the man of the match award.
Though India lost the trophy to Australia in 2015, but even after seven long years’ memories of the triumph still reverberate in the hearts of billions.
Legendary Sachin Tendulkar who went through six attempts called the victory as the proudest moment of his life.