Cricket’s economic superpowers are now the number one team in the two major formats of the game –Test and ODIs. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91 not out) reserved his best for the occasion and played a truly captain’s knock and the entire team swarmed the field to mob him as he dispatched Nuwan Kulasekara for a six to complete the gritty chase.
Even Sachin Tendulkar could not control his emotions as ran in to join the celebrations out the middle. The Indian players had tears of joy as the Sri Lankans stood in disbelief, not knowing what had hit them. It was the second consecutive loss for Sri Lanka in the final, having beaten by Australia in the Caribbeans four years back.
Tendulkar said this was the proudest moment for him. He did not forget to thank the support staff for their wonderful work.
The team carried Tendulkar on their shoulders for a victory lap around the stadium.
Chasing a stiff 275, India were looking down the barrel as their two greatest match-winners Virender Sehwag (0) and Tendulkar (18) were back in the pavilion.
But, they were well served first by Gautam Gambhir (97) who first revived the gasping team with Virat Kohli (35) and then joined Dhoni to put them on road to victory.
Eventually, Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh finished the job in great style.
Dhoni’s invincibles have finally broke the jinx of the a host country not winning a World Cup on their home soil and the captain himself played a gem of an innings. Sri Lanka won it in 1996 as co-hosts, but in the Pakistani city Lahore. Come to think of it, they left India speechless in the semis and left them in tears in Kolkata in that edition.
There were two distinct phases when a team dominated the World Cup, first the West Indies which won the first two editions before India knocked them off the perch in 1983. Then the Australians dominated, playing four consecutive finals and winning the cup thrice.
Sri Lanka, who could not chase a revised target of 269 from 36 overs in the 2007 edition against Australia, thought they had enough to carry the day as Mahela Jayawardene took them to 274/6 with a superlative hundred.