The 2011 ODI World Cup was played out between co-hosts India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 2nd April, 2011. It was the first time that 2 teams from the sub-continent were reaching the final. India and Lanka were, arguably, the strongest teams on paper.
A finger injury ruled Indian pacer Ashish Nehra out of the final with S. Sreesanth taking his place. Sri Lanka made 4 changes to their line up. All-rounder Angelo Mathews was dropped due to injury but Muttiah Muralitharan played on despite some minor foot injuries.
The toss was not without confusion. Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara called heads but due to the crowd, match referee Jeff Crowe couldn’t hear the call. So the toss had to be taken again. Sanga called heads again, won the toss and elected to bat.
India started well with Zaheer Khan bowling 3 maidens and also bagging a wicket. But Mahela Jaywardene came to form when it mattered most. He scored 103 off just 88 balls to help Sri Lanka to a fighting total of 274/6.
Chasing 275, India had a nervy start. Openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were dismissed early by the blistering pace of Lasith Malinga. But Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir steadied the innings, before the former perished with India at 114/3.
That is when MS Dhoni came into bat. Him and Gambhir steadied the ship with a partnership of 109. Gambhir unluckily got out at 91 but the in-form Yuvraj Singh joined his captain to finish the job.
And then, with 4 runs required off 11 balls, Dhoni did what Dhoni does best. He lashed out at Nuwan Kulasekara’ delivery and sent a thunderous six over long on. 277/4 and the job had been done. India had beaten Lanka by 6 wickets. After 28 long years, the world had been conquered again.
The crowd went mad as everyone erupted in celebration. Sachin Tendulkar finally had his hands on the coveted World Cup trophy.
While the players and fans went mad inside the stadium, the party continued long into the night outside as well. After all, it’s not everyday that you win the cricket World Cup!