It’s been 11 years since India won their second ODI World cup after 28 years of long wait since winning the 1983 Prudential Cup, but the memories of that special win in 2011 still rings every Indian fan even now whenever a April 2 comes.
Altogether 14 teams participated in the 2011 World Cup which was played across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and India started off their campaign by beating Bangladesh at Mirpur and getting the monkey of their back as Bangladesh was the team which had knocked India out of the previous World Cup in 2007. India had a tied game with England at Chennai, then lost to South Africa at Nagpur but managed to beat West Indies and remained second in their group to clash with defending champions Australia who had won the last three World Cups in a row.
It was Yuvraj Singh who helped India get past the Aussies at Ahmedabad and then came the big semi-final against Pakistan at Mohali. The match ebbed and flowed but in the end, India managed to beat their rivals Pakistan by 29 runs and make it to their third World Cup finals.
A lot of pressure was on the Indian team as no home team had won a World Cup title. Sri Lanka had made it to the finals and were looking good when they posted 274 at the Wankheade Stadium after being putting in on the back of a brilliant hundred by Mahela Jaywardene, who scored a sublime 103 of just 88 balls. When India lost Virendra Sehwag on no score and Sachin Tendulkar also fell cheaply, India were in a spot of bother.
In walked their captain M.S. Dhoni at number five ahead of Yuvraj Singh to the surprise of all and scored a match-winning, unbeaten 91 of just 79 balls. He and Gautam Gambir, who scored 97, made India win that elusive ODI World Cup for the second time in history.
There were tears of joy in the Indian camp with players carrying Tendulkar on their shoulders and taking a Victory lap. Mumbai had come to a standstill and for me to reach the Taj hotel which was just 15 minutes’ drive, took three hours but it was worth the time to see the fans celebrating this win for which they had waited long enough.
After 2011, India made it to the semi-finals of 2015 and 2019 World Cups but could not get their hands on the trophy. Who knows when the next World Cup trophy will come. Hence this win will be always special for me as I was a witness to see history being made by India at Mumbai.
- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group