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  5. On This Day: Dreams of more than a billion became reality as India lifted the World Cup 13 years ago

On This Day: Dreams of more than a billion became reality as India lifted the World Cup 13 years ago

Yuvraj Singh was a vital cog for India as he made crucial contributions in both batting and bowling. MS Dhoni's men lifted the World Cup on 2nd April 2011 and the nation now celebrates the 13th anniversary of winning the tournament for the second time.

Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Updated on: April 02, 2024 11:04 IST
India's World Cup-winning team.
Image Source : GETTY India's World Cup-winning team.

Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years. The party starts in the dressing room and it’s an Indian captain who’s been absolutely magnificent on the night of the final.

Ravi Shastri's immortal words turn 13. The accomplishment of the dreams of more than a billion people turns 13. On a Saturday evening on 2nd April 2011, the day came which the country had been waiting for since that glory in 1983. Sachin Tendulkar's dream and his huge motivation factor was the World Cup only. A young Tendulkar had seen India winning the 1983 World Cup and he called that it the "turning point of my life".

Indeed it was. The Master Blaster, who created every record in his career, had one glaring missing piece of joy that he finally got at the venue where he spent most of his domestic cricket - The Wankhede. Yuvraj Singh's story is something to cherish too. He had cancer, and played the tournament while struggling with his health, but was India's brightest star in the global showpiece event.

India were a strong team but it was a three-year plan that was being followed that propelled the team to the top of the world. 

India Tv - A historic day for Indian cricket.

Image Source : GETTYA historic day for Indian cricket.

The Men in Blue had an almost perfect tournament. They lost only one match and had a tie. Barring these two, they were red-hot. MS Dhoni's men began the tournament with a win over Bangladesh in their opener on February 19, when Virender Sehwag reminded everyone of his batting prowess and a young Virat Kohli showed glimpses of what he will be next. The two struck centuries as the Men in Blue piled up a huge 370/4 against the team that was key in India's early exit from the 2007 global showpiece.

A brilliant bowling effort from Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh did the rest as they wrapped the Bangla Tigers for 283.

The caravan kept moving ahead and faced a couple of jitters when England tied the run-scoring fest of 338 a piece in Bengaluru and when the Proteas halted the unbeaten run in Nagpur with a close three-wicket win to chase 297.

India had to face the three-time defending champions Australia in the quarterfinal and they did run the Indians for the money. They posted a strong 260 with a century from nemesis Ricky Ponting, who hit a big knock in the 2003 final too. But this time, the team had enough to clear the big hurdle. Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir scored the fifties in the top order but the co-hosts were in trouble at 187/5 and still needed 74 more. 

Then stood two left-handers - Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, striding through the way to finish the game with an unbroken stand of exact 74 as India dreamt again. 

Arch rivals Pakistan were next. An India-Pakistan game is always high pressure and a knockout in those days with the Prime Ministers of the two countries in attendance - it is a big moment. Sachin Tendulkar survived several chances and made 85. Suresh Raina contributed 36 as the Men in Blue piled up a good score of 260/9.

It was enough in the end. Misbah-ul-Haq, who brought Pakistan in touching distance of the 2007 T20 World Cup win against India, played a strong hand of 56 but it was way too much in front of the Indian bowlers. Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh scalped two wickets each. The Indians won by 29 runs and came within touching distance of the World Cup.

Sri Lanka were way stronger than what they are now with the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga and Muthiah Muralitharan being clear match winners. A century from the veteran Jayawardene and late fireworks from Thisara Perera powered the Lankans to 274/6. The winner had to be crowned 50 overs later. 

India lost Sehwag and Sachin early to Malinga but Kohli and Gambhir stabilised the things with a stand of 83 runs. It was a much-needed one after two early wickets. Gambhir played the innings of his life and the captain MS Dhoni, who until then had an underwhelming tournament, scored a memorable knock too. The duo partnered for 109 runs and all but sealed the game. But Gambhir fell three short of a ton. Yuvraj Singh partnered with Dhoni and then came the moment, all were waiting for - "Dhoni finishes off in style...".

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