2nd April 2011: Millions cried a tear of joy as India lifted the World Cup trophy after 28 years

The Indian skipper MS Dhoni led India to glory in the 2011 World Cup.

Team India after world cup 2011 win
Team India after world cup 2011 win. (Photo Source: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
Sai Kishore

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2nd April 2011, Ind vs SL, World Cup Final “Dhoni finishes off in style, a magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years, the party’s started in the dressing room and it is an Indian captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final”. These were the words voiced by Ravi Shastri on that endless night of 2nd April 2011 at Wankhede Stadium when Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the then captain of India launched the ball over long-on for a six and ended the 28-year wait of a World Cup victory. A nation of over a billion was on their feet and  MS Dhoni was their hero.

When Sehwag got out for a duck on the second ball of the Indian innings, the pressure took its toll on the Indian team. Gambhir and Sachin tried to stable the innings before Malinga got the prized wicket of the Master Blaster and silence gloomed at Wankhede. In came Kohli, who batted brilliantly under pressure and tried to steady the ship.

Tillakaratne Dilshan took a diving catch off his own bowling to dismiss the settled Virat Kohli and brought the Lankans back into the game. India still required 161 more runs to lift the World Cup. The crowd was cheering for their hero Yuvraj Singh who was about to come on to bat, but to everyone’s surprise, it was the skipper MS Dhoni who came in to bat at No. 5.

Throughout the tournament, Dhoni was out of form, but he decided to come out to bat as the spin wizard of Sri Lanka Muttiah Muralitharan was bowling his spell out there in the middle. Yuvraj was kept waiting for his turn to bat. This maneuver could have gone against MS Dhoni, which in turn could have cost us the World Cup, but we all knew our Captain cool and his ability to take calculated risks had earned him positive results many times in the past. Dhoni and Gambhir had almost got India to victory before Thisara Perera clean bowled the latter in the 42nd over of the Indian innings with 52 runs still needed off 52 balls.

Gautam Gambhir played an essential inning for India

Gambhir scored a brilliant 97 runs in the finals of the World Cup. It was an innings of valor and patience that had set the tone for the Men in Blue for a World Cup win. Gambhir was the architect behind India’s historic triumph. His innings of 97 will go down as one of the most valuable innings ever played in an International match.

He is the man who has always delivered when it mattered the most, be it the 2007 T20 World Cup final or the Test Match in New Zealand where his innings were full of patience and courage that saw India draw that Test match and take the series 1-0. MS Dhoni and Yuvraj played patiently until the equation came down to just 4 runs required off 11 balls.

Almost everyone knew that India are just a step away from becoming the new World Champions but as it has been rightly said, it ain’t over till it’s over. Dhoni finished the match in his trademark style with a six, off Nuwan Kulasekara’s bowling. The entire nation was in tears of joy, their 28-year long wait was finally over. Sachin Tendulkar eventually got to lift that trophy.

There were huge roars, shouts, chants of Dhoni…! Dhoni…! as soon as MS scored the winning runs. Gary Kirsten and Sachin Tendulkar were given a lap of honor by the Indian players. The long-awaited dream of holding the most precious and important trophy in the history of cricket had arrived for the Men in Blue.

Yuvraj Singh was playing two different leagues altogether, one was the battle of the World Cup and the other was his own battle with Cancer. The determination with which he played throughout the tournament was commendable. He was awarded the Man of the Tournament, and he truly deserved it. The match against West Indies in the group stage where Yuvi was coughing blood showed how badly he wanted to win the World Cup for India.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was out of form throughout the tournament was the Man of the Match in the final for his match-winning knock of 91 not out. A billion hopes were on him when he came out to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh and he wasn’t in a mood to torment them. He batted with sheer determination and ended the match with a six that still remains etched in the hearts of each and every individual who got to witness that eternal night.

– By Karan Ramesh Chandi