On This Day, 7 Years Ago, Dhoni Hits Six Off Nuwan Kulasekara To Help India Lift World Cup

Team India previously won the ICC World Cup trophy in 1983 under Kapil Dev's leadership

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.

Also, this was India’s cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar’s last World Cup appearance. Every member of the Indian squad, before the beginning of the tournament, had said that they wanted to win the trophy for Sachin paaji.

Team India started the 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, Tigers could only manage 283/9 in their allotted 50 overs.

‘Men in Blue’ then faced England in their second encounter at Bengaluru. The match ended in a tie and both the teams shared a point each.

In the next two encounters against Ireland and Netherlands, the Indian team managed to register easy victories. This helped them move up the points table.

Against South Africa, Sachin Tendulkar scored a century as the Indian team put up a decent total of 296-10 on the scoreboard. In reply, SA chased down the target with 2 balls to spare. It was 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 thrashed 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 the captains knock by scoring a century as they put up 260/6 in 50 overs on the board. 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.

Arch-rivals Pakistan were their opponent in their Semi-Final match at the iconic Mohali stadium. India managed to maintain the all-win record against Pakistan in ICC matches and hence, made 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.

Most destructive ‘Opening Jodi’ of that time — Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar — came to open the innings for India. But Sehwag was dismissed early in the very first over. Tendulkar and Gambhir tried to pace up the innings but they too failed as Tendulkar edged Malinga’s delivery and was given out caught-behind. India were then struggling at 31 for 2. There was pin-drop silence at the Wankhede. Even a few Indian fans started to walk off the ground.

Gambhir, along with Virat Kohli, took India’s total past 100 in 19 overs. 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 almost diminished at the moment.

Then came a surprise. 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.

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. They previously won the trophy in 1983 under Kapil Dev’s leadership.