"Dhoni finishes off in style" - 7 years on yet feels like yesterday

Sachin Tendulkar said in his biopic that the 1983 World Cup triumph inspired him to take cricket seriously and for all the 21st-century kids, Dhoni's six was something similar!

MS Dhoni World Cup six
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (L) hits a six to win against Sri Lanka. (Photo credit INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
Anuraag Peesara

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It was a night that paused the entire country! It was a night that turned even the most nonchalant individuals frantic out of joy and even the grittiest ones couldn’t sabotage the happy tears from rolling out! Every Indian’s ecstasy that night was irrepressible and after all these years, we reminisce that six from the bat of MS Dhoni with heavy eyes and a sense of euphoria matched by none.

It was a beautiful fairytale materialized by a few immortals, whose contribution towards India winning their second World Cup will be cherished till the game remains alive. From Yuvraj Singh’s sensational all-round show to Sachin Tendulkar’s run fest, from Zaheer Khan mastering the art of swing bowling to Gautam Gambhir personifying the word “Warrior”, it’s hard to describe what they’ve done in words.

After all these magnificent renditions, it was just fitting that the greatest ever finisher walked out at the Wankhede that night to provide a finish which was way more perfect than a scripted, quintessential Bollywood drama. After all these years, it still feels like yesterday and every word uttered by Ravi Shastri in the commentary box still reverberates in our ears and resurrects the moment.

A mouth-watering game and a finale for the ages!

It really was a phenomenal game that day between India and Sri Lanka. Whilst India wanted to win it for Tendulkar, the counterparts wanted to bid a perfect farewell for the Wizard of the Emerald Isle, Muttiah Muralitharan. A lot was at stake for both the teams, but the sea of blue chanting “Indiaaaa… India” added more pressure on the hosts to get the job done.

A legendary knock from the bat of an absolute champion Mahela Jayawardena went unnoticed that day. I fear people don’t even remember his batting masterclass that day, but for me personally, that was one of the best centuries I’ve ever seen. The biggest of stages, biggest of occasions, in comes this stalwart of Lankan cricket repaying the faith laid on him by every Lankan supporter.

India had a mountain to climb and not many can forget that moment when Wankhede turned a graveyard. When Sachin Tendulkar nicked the ball off Lasith Malinga and walked back to the pavilion, fingers went numb, sensors stopped working, the target seemed impossible to reach and against all the odds, Sangakkara’s side were about to drive a dagger into a billion Indian hearts.

Virat Kohli walked in to replace Tendulkar and accompanied Gautam Gambhir to save the day. The duo did very well and stitched a fabulous partnership for the 3rd wicket which set the tone and brought Wankhede back to life. Gambhir and Kohli had soaked in so much of the pressure and made things slightly easier for their captain to walk in at number 5.

With a partnership of a lifetime, Gambhir and Dhoni got India closer to the target. With 50-odd runs still remaining to get, Gambhir fell 3 runs short of what would’ve been a legendary hundred. Still, that doesn’t take away anything from the respect he earned that day. It would’ve been a nightmare for the country if it had not been for his fortitude and perseverance.

Touted as the Karan-Arjun of Indian cricket, Yuvraj and Dhoni were in the middle to ensure there was no further drama or change in fortunes. They did so in style and with 4 runs needed off 11 balls, the whole nation was just about loosening up for a sleepless night. Dhoni was on strike and the rest, as they say, is history!

“Dhoni finishes off in style! A magnificent strike into the crowd, India lift the World Cup after 28 years,” said Ravi Shastri and you’re not a true Indian cricket lover if you didn’t read that line in his voice. As Dhoni held his pose and rotated the bat, jubilation spread like wildfire and there was music and dancing happening on every street in the country.

As the new World Champions invaded the pitch and were into celebrations, a beautiful smile in the background from Kumar Sangakkara ensured the spirit of the game prevailed. It wasn’t the best of farewells for Muralitharan, but that doesn’t take away the perpetual legend he is. It’d be completely unfair if we don’t thank our neighbors for making that final so memorable!

Sachin Tendulkar said in his biopic that the 1983 World Cup triumph inspired him to take cricket seriously. For all the 21st century kids, that six was something similar. Hard to believe its been seven long years and after all these years, there’s just one thing we can say from the bottom of our hearts!

Thank you! And we love you!