On this day, nine years ago, MS Dhoni became the second Indian captain to lift the ICC world cup trophy after 28 years. Dhoni also became the first Indian captain to win two ICC world cup trophies – a feat never achieved by any Indian cricketer. With the 2011 world cup win, the Indian cricket team became the first country to win the coveted trophy as hosts. Australia and England were soon to follow India in the list in the subsequent edition of the world cup. India came to the tournament as one of the favorites to win the cup. With only one loss (against South Africa) and one tie (against England), Dhoni and his team justified the favorite tag. The Indian team had a near-perfect run to the finals. The other finalists, Sri Lanka also lost only one game (against Pakistan), and one was washed out (against Australia) on their way to the finals. Dhoni’s men had a stiffer competition during their knockout games as compared to Sri Lanka. From beating the defending champions, Australia in the quarter-finals, and then beating arch-rivals Pakistan in semi-finals, the Indian team was just one step away from being crowned the winners.
The 2011 world cup finals saw two Asian countries for the first time fighting it out for the world cup. There was almost a controversy developed during the toss when Sangakkara called heads, but Jeff Crowe, the match referee, did not hear the call over the crowd. As a result, the coin was spun for the second time, and Sangakkara called heads again and won the toss this time. He won the toss and elected to bat first. Sri Lanka made the most of their opportunity while batting first and piled up 274 on the board. Mahela Jayawardena led the way for his team and scored an unbeaten 103 in a world cup final. The Indian bowlers had no answer to Jayawardena’s masterclass innings.
India did not have the ideal start to their innings. Chasing a stiff target of 275, India lost both their openers within the 6th over to Lasith Malinga. It was Gambhir and Kohli who steadied the ship during the middle-overs before Dhoni finished off the match with a monstrous six off Kulasekara. Gambhir missed his century by three runs, but his knock of 97 laid the foundation for the chase. By being the top-scorer in the final’s of 2011 world cup final, Gambhir became the only Indian batsmen to top score in two ICC world cup finals. In the end, India cruised to victory with six wickets in hand with Dhoni and the man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh in the middle.
The 2011 World Cup was sighted as Sachin Tendulkar’s last chance to win a world cup. It was quite a fairy-tale ending to Sachin’s world cup career when he finally managed to lift the world cup trophy after 22 years. Seeing him on the shoulders of a few Indian cricketers taking a lap of honor with the Indian flag and the world cup trophy still sends shivers down the spine of the Indian cricket fans.
Dhoni’s winning shot to win the world cup is etched in every Indian cricket fan heart. The Indian public went berserk after the victory and was seen dancing and partying on the roads. Undoubtedly, the 2011 world cup win is one of the historic moments in the history of Indian cricket, and we owe it to all the 15 members of the Indian team for bringing glory to the country.