On 2 April 2011 the 10th Cricket World Cup final took place in the commercial capital of India, Mumbai between two of the host nation, India and Sri Lanka.
The final had undoubtedly the two best team of the tournament with seven of the top 10 tournament scorers: Sachin Tendulkar (482 - second highest scorer in the tournament), Gautam Gambhir (393), Virender Sehwag (380), and Yuvraj Singh (362) from India, and Tillekaratne Dilshan (500 - top scorer in the tournament), Kumar Sangakkara (465 - third highest scorer in the tournament) and Upul Tharanga (395) from Sri Lanka. And with Zaheer Khan, best bowler of the tournament, and Lasith Malinga, the first bowler ever to take two hat-ticks in consecutive world cups, it was a final of ultimate standard.
The noise in the Wankhede Stadium was deafening, so much so that match referee Jeff Crowe could not hear the Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara's call as the coin was tossed by the Indian captain MS Dhoni and as a result the toss had to be redone - a virtually unheard of event, especially on a stage as big as the World Cup final. The next time, the call was heads and Sangakkara won the toss and decided to bat first.
Mahela Jayawardene’s magical 103 not out and Kumar Sangakkara’s 48 guided Sri Lanka to 274/6 from 50 overs. Zaheer Khan took two wickets (Tharanga and Kapugedera) to become the tournament’s joint wicket taker with Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi with 21 wickets. Yuvraj Singh also took two (Sangakkara and Samaraweera) to become the tournament’s third joint highest wicket taker along with South Africa’s Robin Peterson and Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan with 15 wickets.
India began batting with the worst possible start. Lasith Malinga continued his scintillating form in what would be his last world cup by bowling out Sehwag for a duck with his second ball and taking Tendulkar for 18, thus reducing India to 31-2. Indian heart started pounding. The home crowd fell to an eerie silence. But up stepped Gautam Gambhir (97) and Virat Kohli (35), who were followed by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91 not out) and player of the tournament Yuvraj Singh (21 not out) to set up a tense finish.
Dhoni showed grit, composure and true leadership skill by playing a masterful captain innings and rounding of the win with a perfect sixer. India reached 277 and beat Sri Lanka with six wickets in hand and 10 balls to spare. Dhoni was named Man of the Match for his powerful display.
By crossing the target of 274 and reaching 277, India had set a new record for the highest successful run-chase in a World Cup final (the previous best was 228). They also became the first team in history to win the world cup on home soil.
Ultimately the best team in the tournament - and arguably the world - had won the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Whilst for Sri Lanka, they could be very proud of making it to two final in a row and putting yet another grand performance. Unfortunately for Mahela Jayawardene the misery was compounded as he became the first player to score a hundred in the final and finish on the losing side.
Twenty-eight years on from the match that transformed the history of world cricket, India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev and his men first lifted at Lord's in 1983, and this time they did so in their very own back yard. An iron-willed 97 from Gautam Gambhir was matched for intensity by the finest captain's innings since Ricky Ponting in Johannesburg eight years ago, as M. S. Dhoni trumped a poetic century from Mahela Jayawardene to pull off the highest run-chase ever achieved in a World Cup final.
Against a triumphant backdrop at the Wankhede Stadium, victory was sealed by six wickets with 10 balls to spare, as Dhoni - who had promoted himself to No. 5 to heap extra lashings of responsibility onto his own shoulders - rushed through the gears as the victory target drew nearer. With 15 required from 17 balls, he flicked Sri Lanka's only true threat, Lasith Malinga, through midwicket for consecutive boundaries, before smoking Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on to finish on 91 not out from 79 balls, and spark the most delirious scenes of celebration ever seen on the subcontinent.
For 37-year-old Sachin Tendulkar it was his sixth attempt at winning the World Cup. After missing out on five consecutive world cups in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2007, Tendulkar finally had the only trophy that was eluding him.
He may have failed to score his 100th international century - he had 51 in Test matches and 48 in one-day internationals - but every cricket fan in the world, regardless of their nationality, would not begrudge this great long servant of the sport the ultimate accolade in the sport.
As befitting of his humble character, Tendulkar paid tribute to his team-mates and the Indian coaching staff for winning the sport’s biggest one-day prize for the first time since 1983.
This is the proudest moment of my life. This is the ultimate and I'm experiencing it.
It's never too late, as they say. Thanks to all my team-mates. Without such fabulous performances and such consistency it would never have happened.
Our support staff worked very hard and we worked on the mental side, coping with the pressure. This team stuck together through ups and downs and when people were doubting our ability.
The self-belief is greater in this team than maybe in the past. We've been more consistent in the last couple of years and it's a great honour to be involved with this group.
Sachin Tendulkar was carried around the pitch by his team-mates during a lap on honour after the match. Every player dedicated the win to the Little Master and praised him for carrying the ‘burden of a nation’ for a billion cricket obsessed Indians.
He has carried the burden of our nation on his shoulders for the past 21 years. So it is time that we carried him.
The guys must have thought [the World Cup in] 2007 was a nightmare and this is a dream. Congratulations to Sachin, all credit goes to him and this victory is for him.
Kohli and Pathan showed young India’s appreciation of the contribution by Sachin Tendulkar to Indian cricket. It was a way of demonstrating respect to a senior, older player who has done so much for the nation. The scene of the two carrying him on shoulders is one of two defining moments for Indian cricket, after Kapil Dev lifting the 1983 World Cup at Lord’s.
The win under Kapil gave Indians an attitude. He showed all of us that if you put heart and soul into any work, any profession, excellence can be achieved. It inspired a generation. Now MS Dhoni’s achievement will show a generation of young Indians the way to becoming best in the world.
Sachin had a dream of being part of a World Cup-winning team. He worked over the years towards it, now he can enjoy the feeling.
Balwinder Sandhu, member of the 1983 World Cup-winning squad
Sri Lanka’s skipper Kumar Sangakkara was equally gracious in defeat. He praised the Indian batsmen for getting over the line and paid tribute to his side's star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who finished his illustrious career by taking 0-39 from eight overs, amid speculation that he was nowhere near fully fit.
We would have taken anything around 270 at the start, but the only way you can stop India is to take seven wickets. Gambhir was superb and Dhoni finished it off brilliantly.
I'm very proud of everyone, especially Mahela [Jayawardene] who produced a fine knock. But when you play this India team, anything under 350 seems not enough.
The way they played they deserved to be favourites and they played in front of a great crowd. All you can do is congratulate them.
It was one of those rare days when he [Muttiah Muralitharan] didn't really do the job for us, but that's maybe one in 100 games that that happens. We're going to miss him terribly. Unfortunately we couldn't give him a great send-off but that's the way it goes. We were outplayed today and we have to accept that.
He's our best bowler, even half fit. But he was fine, he was almost at full fitness when he played today. I don't think it was an issue.
Mumbai, the home of Bollywood and billionaires, was rocking last night to the beat of an Indian drum as Gambhir's 97 and a quite brilliant 91 not out from Dhoni sealed the win that finally eased the non-stop pressure on the backs of the country's cricketers.
For Sri Lanka, it wasn't quite the fairytale finish that Muttiah Muralitharan was hoping for in his last ever game for his country. But him and his team can be proud of their achievements that helped lift a united country after civil war.
Naturally, having won cricket mad India only it's second world cup (after 1983) each player and staff were rained in with gifts from well-wishers all over the country.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) paid 2 crore Indian rupee (£300,000) reward for each member of World Cup-winning squad and also sizeable amount for each member of support staff and selection committee respectively.
Indian railways had given each member of the team with lifetime complimentary passes to travel by air-conditioned first class.
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