It was April 2, 2011, when Team India won the second 50 over World Cup. India won its first World Cup in 1983 and then had to wait 28 years to claim the title. Again. Before the 2011 tournament, India entered as the favourite as the competition would take place in the subcontinent. Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, India lost only one match in the World Cup against South Africa.
India defeated rivals Pakistan in the semi-final to face Sri Lanka.
In the finals, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat first. Mahela Jayawardene top-scored for Sri Lanka as he struck a century to take the Lankan score to 274/6.
India, in their chase, got off to a bad start as the side lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag with just 31 runs on the board.
But Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni stepped up and stitched a match-winning 109-run partnership.
Gambhir perished after playing a knock of 97 runs, but in the end, Dhoni and Yuvraj took the team over the line by six wickets.
The winning six struck by Dhoni is still viewed as one of the most exciting & mesmerizing moments in India’s sporting history. As the winning six was hit, Ravi Shastri was doing commentary then, and he famously remarked, “Dhoni, finishes it off in style, India lifts the World Cup after 28 years”.
As soon as the match-winning shot was hit, Tendulkar erupted with joy and had tears to see his dream finally being fulfilled.
The lap after the World Cup is still edged into everyone’s hearts.
Playing in his last mega 50-over tournament, it was the last chance for Tendulkar to lift the trophy.
Before the 2011 World Cup, Tendulkar had played five tournaments (1992,1996,1999,2003 and 2007), and he fell short every time.
The closest he came to winning the trophy was in 2003 as India made the finals under the leadership of Ganguly.
But the Men in Blue fell short in the finals against Australia.
Then in 2007, the biggest setback was in store for the legend as India bowed out of the tournament in the group stages.
As the Indians celebrate the historic day, a decade since, we hear it from the players back then, as they recall their enthralling journey.
Yuvraj Singh: “I thought I would just explode. I went mad, and I wanted to hug him and hit him at the same time and keep doing so till he confirmed to me that this was it, that we had won the World Cup.”
Gautam Gambhir: “One good thing was that in a country that is obsessed with hundreds, people remember 97 as well. I personally feel that hundreds really don’t matter. If someone had asked me a night before if I would rather be in Mahela’s position, I would have hands down taken the position I was in because Mahela got a hundred and no one ever spoke about it. So, 97 and being on the winning side is always better than a hundred.”
MS Dhoni: “I was controlling. I wanted to go up to the dressing room quickly, and I saw two of my players crying and running to me. Suddenly, I started crying and I looked up, and there was a huddle around me. It just so happened that you don’t have footage of it – you just see me coming up and doing that. And, each and everyone cried.”
Sachin Tendulkar: “Life, to be honest, seemed complete. It was the greatest moment of my cricketing journey. It felt astonishing. It was a kind of satisfaction I had never experienced before. Cricket’s greatest prize was finally ours.”