New Delhi, Apr 5: Dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag today said that his assault on Pakistan paceman Umar Gul during the high-voltage World Cup semifinal clash was pre-planned with a view to send their arch-rivals on the backfoot.
Gul, Pakistan's best bowler till the Indo-Pak clash, was sent to the cleaners by Sehwag as he plundered him for 21 runs in his second over.
That assault demoralised the pacer, who conceded 69 runs from eight overs in the match and India posted 260 for nine which turned out to be match-winning score.
"We were really charged up against the match in Pakistan. I said I will take on Umar Gul. If I score a couple of boundaries off him, Pakistan will be on the backfoot and that exactly happened in the match," Sehwag said.
He said the players took the Pakistan match at Mohali just like a final.
"The match against Pakistan was the final for us. We thought that if we win this one, it will be easier to beat Sri Lanka in the final as we had beaten them many times recently in India and Sri Lanka," he said.
Sehwag said he was happy that Sachin Tendulkar has now become a World Cup-winner, a trophy which had eluded him for long in his illustrious career.
"We wanted to win the World Cup for the people of India. It was a also a gift for Sachin Tendulkar and he is emotionally very attached to all the players. I am very happy for that," said Sehwag who scored 380 runs from eight matches in the World Cup.
The Delhi dasher said that the team had raised the bar and they will have to maintain it now by working even harder.
"We have been the world number one in Test cricket and we can now become number one in ODIs also. Reaching is the top is not easy but maintaining it is even more difficult. So we have to work harder, maintain fitness and work on our skills," he told a TV news channel.
Asked about the reaction of his son Aryavir after India won the World Cup, Sehwag said, "He is very excited and he knows I am a World Cup winner. He was cheering me at the stadium from quarterfinals onwards." PTI