SK Flashback: When India finally reclaimed the World Cup
After beating Pakistan at Mohali by 30 runs, India were now in the final of the 2011 cricket World Cup; their third in the cricket World Cup, and against a strong Sri Lankan side led by Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lanka were also in their third World Cup final after defeating a resilient New Zealand in the semi-finals.
This was the first time that the cricket World Cup final was an all-Asian one and this would be the eighth meeting between India and Sri Lanka at the cricket World Cup. Sri Lanka led the head-to-head with four wins and two defeats with one match at the 1992 World Cup being abandoned.
The final was held at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on this very day six years back and was attended by the Presidents of both nations along with many VIPs and celebrities.
However, the final began in a controversial manner as the toss had to be executed twice with match referee Jeff Crowe unable to hear Kumar Sangakkara’s call over the crowd. Eventually, Sri Lanka won the toss and Sangakkara opted to bat first.
Sri Lanka’s slow start followed by Jayawardene’s magical knock
Sri Lanka were off to a slow start, largely due to Zaheer Khan’s brilliant bowling as the left-arm fast bowler bowled three successive maiden overs. Zaheer drew first blood for India by dismissing Upul Tharanga for two runs. Stability in the Sri Lankan innings was then restored by Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan who added 43 for the second wicket before the latter was bowled by Harbhajan Singh for 33.
After Dilshan’s dismissal, Mahela Jayawardene joined Sangakkara and the two added 62 runs for the third wicket with Jayawardene scoring steadily while Sangakkara played in a relatively defensive manner. Sangakkara was eventually dismissed for 48 by Yuvraj Singh, but Jayawardene slowly increased the tempo and began to play aggressively as he reached his 14th ODI century and his second of the tournament.
Jayawardene had some good assistance from Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera who scored 32 and 22 respectively to take Sri Lanka to a competitive total of 274/6 in their 50 overs. Amongst the Indian bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh picked up two wickets apiece, while Harbhajan Singh picked up one.