Since creating the biggest upset by defeating the then unchallenged West Indies in the 1983 world cup, India has been waiting for its day under the sun. India came within striking distance of the world cup in 2003 but lost to Australia in the final. 2007 world cup was a disaster greatly due to great management tactics of then coach Greg Chappel. 2011 world cup was special for India in many ways. First it was played in India, second it was probably Sachin Tendulkar’s last world cup and he wanted to lift it badly. The present world cup has few players from the 2003 world cup final like Zaher Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Shewag, Ashish Nehra, Harbhajan Singh. But one man who will be very thrilled with this will be Saurav Ganguly and he will definitely miss not be on the field.
India started its campaign not a very positive note. The high scoring match with England was a draw. In another high scoring match Bangladesh did gave a scare. The batting power play overs started to scare India as they can neither score in those overs and wickets keeps falling. Eventually lost to South Africa. The biggest match of the tournament was against Australia in the quarter final. India did good here by restricting Australia at 260. Indian went on to win it by chasing 261. In 2003 world cup final in Australia batted out India of the final by scoring 365. After the match Australian captain Ricky Ponting said, that India will beat pakistan in the semi final and will eventually win the World cup. So this basically said, Australia, hold India as one their stumbling block for their bid on the world cup.
The India – Pakistan semi final at Mohali was billed as the most thrilling contest. It was indeed a thrilling match. In the final India had a good start with the ball but a gritty century by Mahela Jayawardane took Srilanka to a fighting total of 274. The last 5 hours of batting power play India conceded 64 runs. India could have put few screw to slow down the flow of runs in the death overs. However, the start India got with the bat was horrifying. Shewag was out LBW for 0, Sachin for 18 and India were then 22 for 2. Both the wickets were taken by Lasith Malinga. Then the consolidation work was started by Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli. However, Virat Kohli was out caught & bowled by Taranga for 35. India was 113 for 3 then. In a surprising move Dohni decided to elevate himself at number 4. This partnership almost saw India home until a Ghambir decided to step forward for a shot on the off side and his middle stamps where shattered. Gambhir was out on 97. The death overs were quite tense as India had to take the batting power play. However, the pressure was released largely due to one six and 2 consecutive fours from Dohni. When India needed only 4 runs Dohni finished the game by hitting a six.
India is the world cup champions again after a gap of 28 years. The emotions were running very high. I could see Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Sachin crying. Sachin’s dream of holding the world cup after 6 attempts was successful. It was amazing to see India enjoying the glory of holding the World cup 2011.
Celebrations were galore all over India. Here in Bangalore, fireworks started even before the match finished. I along with few friends decided to go to MG road. I took the Tricolour and we rode. On the way it was shouting and answering slogans. MG became jam packed soon. We took few pictures with the tricolour and decided to ride back. Had hot smoked Kabab at Empire, 80 feet road, Indiranagar. Finally back home after 1.30 am.
Glorious India, jai jo!!