MS Dhoni and the day he eased the pain of 1.2 billion cricket lovers in India
The Indian cricket team broke 28 years of pain by winning the 2011 World Cup with victory over Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede stadium on this day seven years ago.Updated: Apr 02, 2018, 13:47 IST
For Indian cricket fans, April 2, 2011 will always be considered a red-letter day in memory. It was a day 28 years of pain had ended. On this day, seven years ago, the world saw a celebration unlike anywhere else in the cricketing globe. April 2, 2011 saw India, led by MS Dhoni, lift the World Cup trophy at the Wankhede stadium, Mumbai. India also became the first nation to win the marquee event on home soil.
India had not won a World Cup since Kapil Dev had led them to their maiden title in a memorable triumph over West Indies in 1983. After suffering heartbreak in the final of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa against Australia, India once again entered the final in 2011 after beating reigning champions Australia in the quarter-final in Ahmedabad and Pakistan in the semi-final in Mohali.
After Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat, Mahela Jayawardene scored a brilliant century and combined with aggressive cameos from Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka reached 274 for six,
In response, India had lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag cheaply. However,
Gautam Gambhir steadied the ship and stitched a partnership of 83 with Virat Kohli. Although Kohli was brilliantly caught and bowled by Dilshan for 35, Gambhir carried on and he was well-supported by MS Dhoni, who promoted himself up the batting order.
Both stitched a 109-run stand but Gambhir was unlucky to have missed out on his century as he was bowled by Thisara Perera for 97. However, the partnership had put India in the driving seat.
Dhoni, at the other end, ensured there were no further hiccups and he ended up with 91 off 79 balls. However, the defining image of the game was when Dhoni launched Kulasekara over wide long on to seal the game with a memorable six as fireworks lit up Mumbai’s skyline and chants of ‘vande mataram’ began to reverberate across the stadium. With that one shot, the whole country was sent into a state of nightlong revelry.
Playing in his last World Cup tournament, the Master Blaster had finally fulfilled his dream of lifting the trophy in front of his home crowd. Yuvraj Singh was named the Player of the tournament for his brilliant all-round show. Seven years have gone by, but the joy and celebrations still continue.