Eight years after India's memorable World Cup triumph at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against Sri Lanka, veteran cricketer Gautam Gambhir revealed the reason why he missed out on his century in the summit clash. Gambhir scored 97 runs and played a crucial part in India's run chase, but was eventually dismissed in the 42nd over by Thisara Perera.
India lost both their openers -- Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar -- early in the innings in their chase to 275. Gambhir then stitched an 83-run stand alongside young Virat Kohli before engaging in a 109-run partnership alongside then skipper MS Dhoni. Gambhir was well on course for a century in the World Cup final, a feat achieved by only six cricketers and no Indians. However, with three runs short of the triple-figure mark, Gambhir played a rash shot and gifted his wicket to Sri Lanka. India required only 52 runs to win at the time of his departure from 52 balls.
“I have been asked this question many times, on what happened when I was on 97. I tell every youngster and every person that before getting to 97, I never thought about my own individual score but looked at the target set by Sri Lanka,” said Gambhir in an interview with Lallantop.
“I remember that when an over was completed, I and Dhoni were at the crease. He told me that ‘these three runs are remaining, get these three runs and your hundred would be completed.”
Gambhir added that him getting reminded of his century being just three runs away made lose his focus to individual performance and hence lost the wicket quickly.
“Suddenly, when your mind turns to your individual performance, individual score, then, somewhere, you have a rush of blood. Before this moment, my target was only to chase Sri Lanka’s target. If only that target remained in my mind, maybe, I would have easily scored my hundred,” said Gambhir.
“That’s why, till I was on 97, I was in the present, but as soon as I thought, I am three runs away from getting a hundred, then that rush of blood caused by the desire to get to a hundred (took over). That’s why it’s so important to remain in the present… when I was walking back to the dressing room after being dismissed, I said to myself that these three runs would trouble me for the rest of my life and that is true. Even to this day, people ask me why I couldn’t get those three runs,” he added.
Dhoni remained unbeaten, scoring 91 runs and was part of a 54-run partnership with Yuvraj Singh. It was also Dhoni who hit the winnings six as India lifted the World Cup after a gap of 28 years.