On April 2, 2011, Team India, under the leadership of MS Dhoni, walked into Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to play the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka. This was their third appearance in the finals of cricket’s biggest tournament after 1983 and 2003.
Being Sachin Tendulkar’s last World Cup appearance, the excitement in the crowd as well as the Indian squad was palpable.
Recap: World Cup 2011
Team India began tournament on a winning note as they beat Bangladesh by 87 runs in Group B encounter at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag smashed 175 off 140 balls, including 14 fours and 5 sixes, to help his team post a mammoth total of 370 runs. In reply, Bangladesh could only manage 283/9.
Next up: Team England in Bengaluru. The match ended in a tie and both the teams shared a point each.
In the next two encounters against Ireland and the Netherlands, the Indian team managed to register easy victories helping them move up the points table.
Against South Africa, Sachin Tendulkar scored a century, helping Indian team put up a decent total of 296-10. In response, SA chased down the target with 2 balls to spare. A close encounter, this defeat came as an eye-opener for MS Dhoni’s boys.
In the next game, the Indian team performed strong and beat West Indies by 80 runs to fix their place for quarter-final match against Australia.
On March 24, Team India were asked to bowl first in a must-win game by the Aussies. Ricky Ponting played a captains knock by scoring a century, as his team put up a total of 260/6. In reply, Sachin, Gambhir and Yuvraj all scored more than fifty to guide India to a victory and confirmed their berth in the Semi-Final.
With Pakistan as their opponent in their Semi-Final match at the iconic Mohali stadium, India managed a win, making it to the finals.
April 2, 2011 was the day when Team India walked into the Wankhede Stadium and made their third appearance in the World Cup Final. MS Dhoni lost the toss and they were asked to chase by Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara.
Indian bowlers struck early as Lankans lost their openers in under 60 runs. But their most experienced player — Mahela Jayawardene (103 off 88) — held his nerve and smashed a century to put his team in a commanding position by posting a fighting total of 274/6 in 50 overs.
The most destructive ‘Opening Jodi’ of the time — Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar — came to open the innings for India. But Sehwag was dismissed early on in the very first over and though Tendulkar and Gambhir tried to keep things stead, they too failed. Tendulkar edged Malinga’s delivery and was given out caught-behind. As India were placed at 31 for 2, there was pin-drop silence at the Wankhede.
Gambhir, along with Virat Kohli, held on to their nerves and took India’s total past 100 in 19 overs. But during the 22nd over, Virat played straight into the hands of Tillakaratne Dilshan, and India were left struggling at 114-3. Hopes of lifting the trophy were diminishing by the minute.
Then, came a surprise nobody was quite expecting. Indian captain Dhoni promoted himself up the order, and walked into Wankhede to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh.
Dhoni stitched-up more than a 100-run partnership with Gambhir, who missed his century by just 3 runs after being bowled out for 97.
Who could forget this moment! _ __ pic.twitter.com/Xy3xCogRIs
— ICC (@ICC) 2 April 2018
With 4 required off just 11 balls, Indian captain ‘finished off the things in style’ by smashing a six off Nuwan Kulasekara to help his team lift the ICC Cricket World Cup after 28 years.
A historic moment, for the last time Team India won the WC was in 1983, under Kapil Dev’s leadership.