3 unsung heroes of India’s 2011 World Cup winning campaign
India had displayed flawless performance throughout the tournament to advance to knockout stages with just one defeat to South Africa in a closely-fought contest.Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 08:54 IST
2011 World Cup was perhaps India’s most complete team performance. The Kapil Dev-led side of course had created history by winning India’s maiden World Cup against all odds back in 1983 but MS Dhoni-led side in 2011 came in as the strongest side and played like one to win the tournament exactly 9 years ago on this day.
On April 2, India beat Sri Lanka by 6 wickets at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to win their second ODI World Cup title.
India had displayed flawless performance throughout the tournament to advance to knockout stages with just one defeat to South Africa in a closely-fought contest. In the quarterfinal they had beaten defending champions Australia, knocked over Pakistan in the semi-final before overhauling Sri Lana in the final.
Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan were the heroes of India’s World Cup win. Sachin Tendulkar was India’s highest run-scorer with 481 runs in 9 innings, Yuvraj Singh was the man of the tournament for his all-round show (362 runs and 15 wickets) and Zaheer Khan was the joint highest wicket-taker of the tournament along with Shahid Afridi with 21 scalps.
Apart from these three, there were three other Indian cricketers who played a major role in India’s triumphant run.
Gautam Gambhir’s biggest highlight of his career was his 97-run knock in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. The knock that Gambhir played after India lost Tendulkar and Sehwag early is often rated as one of the best ODI innings in modern times. Gambhir, however, had major roles to play throughout the tournament. With 393 runs, he was India’s second-highest run-scorer of the tournament only behind Tendulkar. He had scored 4 fifties in that World Cup including the match-winning one in the final against Sri Lanka and the crucial one again while chasing a target against Australia in the quarterfinal. What seldom gets mentioned, is the fact, that Gambhir scored all these runs while batting at No.3, which is not his usual one in any form of the game.
One of the main reasons why India were able to put up those big scores while batting first in 2011 World Cup was the flying starts provided by Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. Sehwag scored 380 runs in the tournament at a staggering strike rate of 122.58. His 175 against Bangladesh was the highest individual score of that World Cup.
Munaf was MS Dhoni’s most trusted medium pacer of that tournament after Zaheer Khan. The right-armer may not have set the stage on fire with his bowling in 2011 World Cup but his consistency in the tournament gave a great balance to the Indian side and even allowed Dhoni to play an extra spinner at times Munaf picked up 11 wickets in 8 matches at a handy economy rate of 5.36. He had picked 4 for 48 in the opening match of the tournament against Bangladesh.