New Delhi: It was on this day ten years back that India won the Cricket World Cup for the second time. The tournament which began on February 19 with the opening match played between India and Bangladesh at Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka was left with only two teams as the Men in Blue faced Kumar Sangakkara’s Sri Lanka in the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011.
Route to the finals
Team India decimated Bangladesh by 87 runs in the first match before playing a thriller against England which ended in a tie. They would follow it up by two 5 wickets win against Ireland and Netherlands before suffering their first loss against South Africa. An 80 run win against West Indies would ensure second place in the group.
They would take on defending champions Australia in the quarter finals and would go on to beat them after a 74 run partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina rescued them from a precarious position. Their next match was against arch rivals Pakistan who were defeated for the fifth time in the World Cup.
Co-hosts Sri Lanka started their campaign with a 210 runs win over Canada before losing to Pakistan by 11 runs. A win over Kenya was followed by a washed out game against Australia. However, they would go on to win their last two games against Zimbabwe and New Zealand to take the second spot in the group.
England would be easily dismantled in the quarter finals by a 10-wicket win and in their final game on the Sri Lankan soil they defeated New Zealand by five wickets to enter the final.
The toss was won by Sri Lanka on the second attempt as the match referee was unable to hear the call on the first one. Sangakkara would opt to bat first.
The bowlers led by Zaheer Khan produced a superb batting display as Sri Lanka could only add 31 runs in the first over while also losing Upul Tharanga. The run rate was kept under four as Harbhajan Singh removed the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan. Sangakkara would be dismissed 2 runs short of his half-century but Mahela Jayawardene kept the scoreboard ticking and with help from Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera, the batting side got to 274 at the end of 50 overs.
India couldn’t have hoped for a worse start to their chase as Lasith Malinga dismissed Virender Sehwag on the second ball of the second inning. Five overs later he would bag the prize wicket of Sachin Tendulkar to silence the Wankhede. However, the Delhi duo of Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli would steer the ship with an 83 run partnership.
Dilshan would remove Kohli with a superb catch of his own bowling. MS Dhoni would promote himself up the order and would stitch a 109 run partnership with Gambhir to swing the match in India’s favour. Gambhir would miss his century by 3 runs but It would be the last time that the bowling side would celebrate.
Meanwhile on the other end Dhoni got to his fifty and then began to accelerate with the equation down to 5 runs from the last two over. And then the moment arrived. Kulasekara bowled a delivery that was right in Dhoni’s zone and the right hander just lofted the ball into the stands to send the whole nation into celebrations.