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Sizzling Sehwag to Calm Dhoni: Top 5 moments of the 2011 World Cup

MS Dhoni in action during the 2011 World Cup Final
MS Dhoni in action during the 2011 World Cup Final
Modified 02 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

Today marks exactly 10 years since India lifted the 2011 World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Chasing a target of 275, India got home by six wickets with 10 balls to spare.

The 2011 World Cup victory meant that a team other than Australia had won the coveted trophy for the first time in the new millennium. Australia won a hat-trick of World Cups from 1999 to 2007. They were also the runners-up in 1996 as they went down to Sri Lanka in the final.

India’s 2011 World Cup triumph was also the second time they had been crowned world champions, 28 years after Kapil’s Devils had stunned the mighty Windies at Lord’s and changed world cricket forever.

India’s 2011 World Cup victory was historic in the sense it was the first time a home team had lifted the title. Australia (2015) and England (2019) have since won the subsequent World Cup editions at home.

Unforgettable memories of 2011 World Cup

On the 10th anniversary of India’s 2011 World Cup triumph, we go down memory lane and look back at five top moments from the tournament.

#5 Virender Sehwag’s early fireworks

Virender Sehwag was in the mood in the 2011 World Cup opener against Bangladesh
Virender Sehwag was in the mood in the 2011 World Cup opener against Bangladesh

The swashbuckling Virender Sehwag provided early indications that the 2011 World Cup was going to be a momentous one for India. He slammed a blazing 175 from 140 balls in the opening match of the tournament against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

There was history here. Bangladesh had stunned India when the two teams meet in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies. The shocking loss went a long way in India being eliminated from the event in the first round itself.

Sehwag was dismissed cheaply in the 2007 encounter and clearly wanted to prove a point when the two teams meet again in 2011. Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field first, after which Sehwag went completely berserk.

He slammed 14 fours and five sixes, and was looking good for a double hundred when he was bowled by Shakib Al Hasan. Virat Kohli also contributed an unbeaten 100 as India posted 370 for 4 in the 2011 World Cup opener. Bangladesh responded with a spirited 283 for 9 but went down by 87 runs.


At the post-match presentation, after being named the Man of the Match, the competitive Sehwag minced no words. He stated:

“I have said this is a revenge game and we have won.”

#4 Kevin O’Brien’s brilliance stuns England

Kevin O’Brien with Niall O’Brien after Ireland
Kevin O’Brien with Niall O’Brien after Ireland's famous win in the 2011 World Cup

Ireland produced one of the greatest upsets in the history of the World Cup when they chased down 328 to demoralize England in the 2011 World Cup encounter in Bengaluru.

For most part of the match, England seemed to have things in control. They batted first and posted an impressive 327 for 8 on the board. Jonathan Trott top-scored with a run-a-ball 92 and Ian Bell contributed 81, while Kevin Pietersen chipped in with a quick 59.

In response, Ireland found themselves in trouble at 111 for 5, with Graeme Swann claiming three. Game over? Well, for Kevin O’Brien, it had only just begun.


With all hopes of an Ireland victory dashed, he produced a scintillating 113 from only 63 balls, pounding England into submission. O’Brien’s knock featured 13 fours and six sixes as he made a mockery of the target.

During his scorching knock, the hard-hitting Ireland batsman raced to his 100 off 50 balls - the record for the fastest century in the World Cup. By the time he was run out, Ireland were well and truly on their way to upset England and eventually by three wickets.

#3 Sachin, Strauss tons in a tie

Andrew Strauss
Andrew Strauss' 158 saw England tie their 2011 World Cup game against India

The India-England encounter in the 2011 World Cup in Bengaluru produced a lot of runs, and eventually ended in a dramatic tie.

A hundred from Sachin Tendulkar and fifties from Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh took India to 338. The total could have been a lot more but Tim Bresnan’s unexpected five-for saw India collapse from 305 for 3 to 338 all out.


India would have been confident of defending the total. However, Andrew Struass played a captain’s knock of 158 give England a genuine chance of chasing down the target. Strauss and Ian Bell (69) featured in a 170-run stand for the third wicket. At 281 for 2, England were actually on top.

Zaheer Khan then brought India back with a triple strike, dismissing Bell, Strauss and Paul Collingwood. At 285 for 5, it was even stevens all over again.

It all came down to 14 off the last over to be bowled by Munaf Patel. Ajmal Shahzad hit most famous six off his career when he launched the third ball straight back over the bowler’s head. Munaf held his nerve though, and kept things tight in the next two balls.

With two needed off the last delivery, Swann drove one straight to mid-off and two batsmen crossed over for a single. The game ended in a thrilling tie - a fair result, as neither side deserved to lose.

#2 When Australia’s reign as World Champions ended

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh's half-century knocked Australia out of the 2011 World Cup

When India met Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final in Ahmedabad, they knew they had to create history to progress to the semis.

The Aussies had won the previous three World Cups. Their 34-match unbeaten streak in the World Cup had ended when they went down to Pakistan in the 2011 edition. Still, India faced a herculean task against the Ricky Ponting-led Australia.

Electing to bat first, the Aussies posted a competitive 260 for 6 on the board. Ponting led from the front again with 104. Brad Haddin contributed 53 while David Hussey chipped in with a brilliant cameo of 38 not out from 26 balls at the end.

For India, Zaheer, Yuvraj Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets each to ensure that Australia did not put up a gigantic total.

In the chase, Tendulkar (53) and Gambhir (50) contributed crucial runs but neither could convert their innings into a big score. At 187 for 5, with India having lost MS Dhoni for 7, the pressure was on the hosts.


Yuvraj (57 not out) and Suresh Raina (34 not out) calmed the nerves with a measured stand. With four needed to win, Yuvraj lashed a length ball from Brett Lee through covers. He went down on his knees and let out a primal scream of joy. This remains one of the standout moments of India’s memorable 2011 World Cup journey.

#1 MS Dhoni finishes it off it style

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni's six that won India the 2011 World Cup. An ecstatic Yuvraj Singh celebrates in the background
“Dhoni finishes it off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifted the World Cup after 28 years. The party has started in the dressing room.”

These words from Ravi Shastri to describe Dhoni’s iconic six that saw India lift the 2011 World Cup reverberate in every Indian cricket fan’s minds when the mention of the win is made.

Walking into bat with India in spot of bother at 114 for 3, Dhoni guided the team home with a composed 91 not out from 79 balls. Gautam Gambhir, who is not a big fan of the celebrated six by Dhoni, was also a key contributor in the chase with 97.

India lost Sehwag (0) and Tendulkar (18) cheaply in a tense chase of 275 in the 2011 World Cup final after Sri Lanka posted 274 for 6. The total was built around Mahela Jayawardene's magnificent hundred that did not deserve to end up on the losing side.


Coming back to the chase, Gambhir played a steely innings of 97 and featured in a third-wicket stand of 83 with a young Kohli (35). Having done all the hard work though, he played a horrible slog to be cleaned up by Thisara Perera.

Years later, he went on to blame Dhoni for his dismissal, claiming the captain distracted him by reminding him of his landmark.

At 223 for 4, Lanka were in with a faint chance but Yuvraj (21 not out) and Dhoni steered the team home, with the Indian captain sealing the win in memorable fashion.

The six that sealed India's 2011 World Cup win was, is, and will remain iconic.

Published 02 Apr 2021, 12:44 IST
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