Gautam Gambhir was a man with a mission at the Wanderers on Monday. In the absence of Delhi mate and fellow opener Virender Sehwag, who had to sit out the final with a groin injury, the onus was on the 25-year-old to ensure the team got off to a good start.
With Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj
Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni back in the pavilion, Gambhir secured his end while ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking.
The suave southpaw made up for his slight built with footwork and high bat-speed that continued to bewilder the bowlers.
Had it not been for his rollicking 75 off 54 balls (eight 4s, two 6s) at a strike rate of 134.8, India might have had to settle for much less than 157-5, a score that in the end proved to be match-winning.
Picking useful boundaries and playing the pull and cut with relish, the opener struck his third half-century of the tournament, which included two consecutive fours off Mohammad Hafeez in the 10th over and a six over mid-wicket, off Shahid Afridi.
With wickets falling around him, Gambhir went about his task efficiently, pulling India's nemesis in the final Umar Gul over mid-wicket for his second six in the 18th over. He finally fell in the same over while trying a cheeky sweep but had ensured that his bowlers had something to bowl at.