42,000 Spectators, 135 million viewers and those guys in the dressing room! When Virat Kohli, the Young gun was caught and bowled by Srilankan Dilshan, everyone was expecting Yuvraj Singh. But suddenly the Indian Captain who has 34 as his Best in the Tournament rolled up his sleeves and made his way out to center ahead of in-form Yuvraj. No one had a clue except the captain himself. 8 Years later even today, he remains as the man of twists. When Mahendra Singh Dhoni rolls up his sleeves tomorrow at the same Wankhede, nothing has changed except his age.
April 2 is still the day of ‘Epic’. India Playing World Cup Final in front of their home crowd. 275 put on by Mahela Jayawardena and co was a very good score in a World cup Final! Especially when 3 Down and still 161 to get
at a rate of 5.68. That’s all were happening in Wankhede. Everyone thought the golden boy of India, Sachin Tendulkar would end his 22 year cricketing career(at that time) without a world cup- Story similar to Sir Donald Bradman’s Average Tale. Pressure were building up.
6 world cups with a huge amount of runs and centuries, literally the struggle was long and the reward should be bigger. The showdown to the epic clash was too big. From the Toss itself, it was interesting. We had to toss twice. Lanka opted to bat. But Indian Bowlers and Fielders were at their best. But Mahela again showed his character and led the attack from the front along with Perera. Srilanka 274/6 and in a world cup final no other team chased a total bigger than this before.
India had the best openers in the tournament. But monstrous Lasith Malinga bowled cross seam and get the new ball to skid off the surface. India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. At one stage India were 31 for 2. Then comes Virat Kohli. Along with Gambhir, he involved in a crucial partnership. The Indian innings was back on course. But Dilshan stunned the Indian crowd again.
For a man, who faced many bouncers in his life, this was not a big test. Rather for the man whose journey was too hard, it was the platform. A stage was set for him. The man, whose house was attacked after 2007 Worldcup, got the opportunity to make a statement here.
While Gambhir shortened the length by using the depth, Dhoni, with his bat-speed and powerful wrists dismissed the Srilankan Bowlers ruthlessly.
Gambhir like 2007 t20 Final, played a very crucial knock. Dhoni initially just backed him. The 109-run partnership between Gambhir and Dhoni took the game away from Sri Lanka. At a crucial point, Gauti rushed and thrown his wicket away. Literally, the day was written by someone for Dhoni for all his struggles.
He saved his best for the last. Despite his poor form, Indian captain had a wonderful sense of timing that night. Then came Yuvraj, the man of the tournament. Yuvraj batted in a sensible manner. Even though he struggled a bit, he made sure his skipper will face more balls than him. Dhoni slowly started shifting the gears. When all other bowlers failed, Malinga returned for his final spell. By that time Dhoni had the ultimate control. He wristed his bat for back to back boundaries, and last fling of the dice from Sangakkara also shattered before the ‘MSD’ brilliance. Then comes Kulasekhera.
“Dhoniiiiiiiiiii..Finishes off in style. Magnificent strike into the crowd! India lifts the world cup after 28 years. The party started in the dressing room. And its an Indian Captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the final”
When the ball sailed high, when Ravi Shastry roared into the air, it was not just a two -decade dream ended. It created an Inspiring ‘Epic’. An Epic for the fellows to take this game as their Profession.
Dhoni was eyeing the world cup from 2008 and his sheer determination had a definite role in making India the ‘World Champions’. The look on Dhoni’s face, after he struck the winning six, said it all. He had picked the players he wanted. He took some strong calls. But he pushed himself as the biggest element in the side. That worked!
India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev lifted at Lord’s. This time they did in their very own back yard, on the holy Sachin’s soil. Many World Cups will come, but the 2011 World Cup will definitely have a separate fan base.