On this day, 2011: How the World Cup was won

The Indian team scripted a new chapter in its cricketing history as Sachin Tendulkar’s dream of winning a World Cup finally came true.

Master and apprentice: M. S. Dhoni (left) and Virat Kohli celebrate India’s World Cup win at the Wankhede Stadium.   -  K. R. Deepak

On Saturday, April 2, 2011, against the backdrop of an emotionally charged Wankhede Stadium, India went on to win the coveted World Cup after 28 years by eking out a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka.

The M. S. Dhoni-led side scripted a new chapter in its cricketing history as Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar’s dream of winning a World Cup finally came true. Chasing a stiff 275, Gautam Gambhir made a match-winning 97 and Dhoni played a captain’s knock with an unbeaten 91 to send a billion people into a frenzy.

Dhoni smoking Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on remains a sight to behold. But, there were many twists and turns before the celebrations continued till the wee hours of Sunday.

A look at how the final unfolded.

Confusion at the toss

There was confusion at the toss as Kumar Sangakkara’s call went unheard against a boisterous Wankhede crowd. In the second instance, Sangakkara called the coin right and opted to bat first.

Zaheer starts with a bang

Having been at the receiving end at the 2003 World Cup final, Zaheer Khan came up with an inspiring spell by bowling three consecutive maidens before accounting for the prized scalp of Upul Tharanga.

ALSO READ | Zaheer Khan breaks down India's bowling effort

Dilshan’s moment

Sangakkara then joined Tillakaratne Dilshan and the duo started the repair job with S. Sreesanth releasing the pressure with some erratic bowling. Soon, Dilshan’s 500th run in the tournament was up as Sri Lanka was up and running.

Harbhajan strikes

Bowling under pressure, Harbhajan Singh broke the stand as he removed the well-set Dilshan and Sri Lanka lost a wicket at a crucial juncture.

Jayawardene classic

Mahela Jayawardene rose to the occasion with a classy century but was unfortunate to end on the losing side. It was his dominance and unruffled play that allowed Sri Lanka to keep surging ahead and dominate the Indian attack. Jayawardene oozed class with some exquisite strokes on either side of the wicket. If the drives were sumptuous, a cheeky paddle stroke showed Jayawardene’s intent. Sri Lanka wanted one of its premier batsmen to drop anchor and the former skipper took charge on the big stage.

Yuvraj strikes

The introduction of Yuvraj Singh saw Sri Lanka lose its skipper as the left-arm spinner broke the 62-run stand, much to the home side’s relief. However, Thilan Samaraweera and Jayawardene forged a 57-run partnership. Just when things were looking bright for the Islanders, Yuvraj struck again and this time with the wicket of Samaraweera.

The late blitz

If India thought it had tied down Sri Lanka, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera went on the counter-attack as the economical Zaheer was taken to the cleaners. Jayawardene punched the air in delight upon reaching his century as Sri Lanka clobbered 63 runs in the batting Powerplay to post 274 for 6.

Valuable effort: Gautam Gambhir walks back after being dismissed for 97. - K. R. DEEPAK


The chase

In a World Cup final, there is an added pressure when it comes to chasing. And India slipped early to send shivers in the dressing room as well in the gallery. Lasith Malinga left the Wankhede stunned and some in tears as he removed Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early. Sri Lanka was off to a perfect start as Tendulkar walked back dejected.

Kohli comes to the fore

It was a test for a young Virat Kohli. Batting in a World Cup final along with senior-pro Gambhir, Kohli was up to the task. The left-right combination worked for India as the duo brought the 100-run stand. However, an athletic Dilshan took a brilliant return to break the 83-run stand and pack off Kohli.

Enter Dhoni

An in-form Yuvraj Singh was made to sit in the change room as the skipper walked out at No. 5. With a well-set Gambhir, the skipper was a man on a mission. Dhoni, who was struggling for runs, delivered when it mattered the most. The Indian skipper with his ice-cool attitude forged a 109-run stand along with Gambhir as the Lankans saw the Cup slowly slip away.

Gambhir misses ton

Gambhir was on song to register a magnificent hundred. But a rush in adrenalin saw the southpaw being castled by Perera for a well-made match-winning 97 off 122 deliveries. Although he missed the ton, Gambhir did his job.

The final script

With 48 required from as many deliveries, Yuvraj joined Dhoni and the duo with minimal risks started to take India closer to the victory margin. A six over the point region from Dhoni and couple of boundaries eased off the pressure. With 16 required off 18, Dhoni dispatched Lasith Malinga for a couple of boundaries as the crowd believed they were about to witness history.

IN PICTURES | India's 2011 World Cup triumph

And finally, a billion dreams came true when Dhoni clobbered Kulasekara for a six in the second ball of the 49th over as the white ball sailed into the crowd. The players rushed into the field and sprinted towards Dhoni, to celebrate, in what was a magnificent knock in the night of the final. Tendulkar’s dream came true and as Virat Kohli summed up, “Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; It was time we carried him. Chak de India!”