The ultimate dream of any Indian cricketer is to win the 'World Cup' for his country. It is the tournament, that every cricketer yearns to win, at least once, during his cricketing career.
India have won the One Day International World Cup twice, doing so in 1983 and 2011. They won their lone T20I World Cup in the competition's inaugural edition in 2007. Since the gap between the two ODI World Cup triumphs spanned 28 long years, no Indian cricketer has had the experience of winning multiple ODI World Cups as a player.
Many Indian cricketers like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, and Virender Sehwag have had the privilege of being a part of an ODI World Cup winning cricket team.
If we consider both the ODI and T20 World Cups, there are a few players who have been a part of the playing XI in the finals of both tournaments. In this article, we take a look at,the five players who were part of India's triumphs in the title matches at the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup.
#5: S. Sreesanth
S. Sreesanth is perhaps a surprising name in this elite list of 5 players who won two World Cups in Indian colours.
The right-arm speedster from Kerala has never a regular member of the Indian playing XI on a consistent basis. But in the finals of both the said competitions, the 2007 T20I World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup, Sreesanth was a part of the playing XI.
In the 2007 T20I World Cup final against Pakistan, Sreesanth performed quite poorly with the ball, concededing 44 runs in his 4 overs, and taking a solitary wicket. However his most memorable moment in the match came when he took Misbah-ul-Haq's catch in the final over bowled by Joginder Sharma, that sealed India's win.
Four years later, at the 2011 ODI World Cup on home soil, Sreesanth was on the bench for most of the tournament. But Ashish Nehra's injury, and captian MS Dhoni's decision of playing three pacers in the final against Sri Lanka meant that Sreesanth found a place in the playing XI. His performance on the day was an ordinary one, as he failed to take a wicket, and conceded 52 runs off 8 overs.
#4: Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh, the off-spinner from Punjab, was India's lone spinner in both the 2007 T20I and 2011 ODI World Cup Finals. Although a lot was expected from Singh in both the games, he failed to live up to expectations.
The off-spinner was taken to the cleaners by Misbah-ul-Haq in the 2007 T20 World Cup final, as he finished wicket-less and didn't even complete his full quota of 4 overs. Singh's final figures on the day read 3-0-36-0.
In the 2011 ODI World Cup final, Harbhajan Singh delivered another underwhelming performance. He completed his full quota of overs this time, but could only get the lone wicket of Tillakaratne Dilshan, while conceding 50 runs.
#3: Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh was India's biggest star in both the 2007 T20I and 2011 ODI World Cups. His fabulous all-round performances were instrumental in ensuring India lifted both the trophies.
In the 2007 T20I World Cup final against Pakistan, Singh failed to make a repeat of his winning performance in the semifinals, getting out cheaply for 14.
Four years later, at the ODI World Cup on home soil, Yuvraj Singh had an impressive outing with both bat and ball. In the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai, the left-hander took 2 wickets in his allotted 10 overs, conceding 49 runs. Coming out to bat at the fall of Gautam Gambhir's wicket, Yuvraj Singh was at the crease with captain MS Dhoni when the latter hit the winning six to seal India's first triumph in the competition in 28 years.
#2: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir was India's hero with the bat in both the World Cup finals. He was the highest scorer for India in both the finals. Gambhir's match winning performances with the bat were instrumental in ensuring India's triumphs in the two competitions.
In the 2007 T20I World Cup final against Pakistan, Gambhir opened the innings, and played a match winning knock of 75 runs off 54 balls which helped set what turned out to be a winning total for the team. Before he was dismissed in the 18th over, the Delhi player ensured India had runs on the board to put up a fight.
Four years later, Gambhir's innings of 97 was even more crucial. Chasing a stiff target of 275 runs against Sri Lanka, the left-hander, batting at number 3, arrived at the crease in the first over after Virender Sehwag fell for a duck. After Tendulkar was dismissed in the seventh over, Gambhir launched a recovery act with fellow Delhi player Virat Kohli.
A century partnership for the fourth wicket ensued with captain Dhoni before a rush of blood saw Gambhir, on 97, charge down the track to Nuwan Kulasekara only to lose his stumps. But by then, the platform for victory was already set. What followed next was history, as the hosts emerged victorious by 6 wickets with a little over an over to spare.
#1: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
MS Dhoni was the captain of both the World Cup winning sides. His inspirational leadership, and nerves of steel under immense pressure helped India win both the finals.
In the 2007 T20I World Cup final against Pakistan, Dhoni scored only six runs with the bat. However as a captain, he was brilliant on the field, expertly marshalling his young team across the line.
With more seasoned players like Harbhajan Singh and S. Sreesanth going for runs, Dhoni entrusted the responsibility of defending 13 runs in the final over to the inexperienced Joginder Sharma. The nervy youngster started with a wide, and was carted for a six by Misbah-ul-Haq off the second ball. Two balls later, Sharma had the last laugh, as Misbah-ul-Haq attempted an ill-fated scoop only to be caught by Sreesanth at short fine-leg.
Dhoni did not miss out with the bat in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai. The captain bravely promoted himself up the order, ahead of an in-form Yuvraj Singh, and walked out to the middle at the fall of the third wicket. The move proved a masterstroke as the left-right combination with Gautam Gambhir largely negated the threat of the dangerous Muttiah Muralitharan. Together in the company of the Gambhir, Dhoni strung together a century run partnership that set the stage for the team's final dash across the finish line.
The glory moment arrived in the 49th over bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara. Needing 4 runs to win off 11 balls, Dhoni launched the Sri Lankan pacer over long-on for a maximum to spark wild celebrations across the country. Adjudged the Man-of-the-Match in the final, this game was one that confirmed the Jharkhand man's status as a legend of Indian cricket.