India were the favourites to win the 2011 World Cup and barring their group stage defeat against South Africa, the Men in Blue were having a terrific tournament. After defeating reigning champions Australia in the quarter-finals, India went up against Pakistan who had been the surprise package of the tournament and probably the best team till that point. While India defeated Australia in the quarter-finals, Pakistan had breezed past West Indies to confirm their place in the last four.
This would be the fifth meeting between India and Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup with India having won all previous four meetings in 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003. However, this match was expected to be a tough test for India as Pakistan had been in terrific form and had the likes of Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Gul and Misbah-ul-Haq in their line-up.
However, India had a pretty powerful team themselves including the likes of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, and Harbhajan Singh.
The VIP crowd
The semi-final was held on this very day six years back in Mohali. This match probably had been the most awaited Indo-Pak encounter ever as a lot of hype was being created about the match given the fact that both teams had been knocked out in the first round of the previous World Cup and here they were – in the semi-finals.
The match had a very eminent audience with the Prime Ministers of both nations in addition to many celebrities, politicians, and bureaucrats being in the crowd on that day. And once the national anthems of both teams got over, both Prime Ministers entered the field to greet the players of both nations.
Sehwag’s fiery start
Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first. And the hosts were off to a brilliant start thanks to Virender Sehwag who began to find the fence with much regularity. However, Sehwag couldn’t stay in the crease for long as he was dismissed by Wahab Riaz for 38 off 25 deliveries, 36 of which came in boundaries alone.
Sachin takes centre-stage
After Sehwag’s dismissal, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir began to build a strong partnership and added 68 for the second wicket before Gautam Gambhir was dismissed for 27 by Mohammad Hafeez. Sachin Tendulkar on the other hand, had luck on his side as he was dropped four times during the match.
After Gambhir’s dismissal, Virat Kohli came in and while he was batting with Tendulkar, India’s run rate gradually began to slow down. During the 26th over, Wahab Riaz dismissed Virat Kohli before bowling out an in-form Yuvraj Singh the very next delivery.
Suresh Raina’s finishing touch
The Pakistani bowlers kept on adding pressure on Tendulkar and MS Dhoni as India’s run-rate began to fall below 5. Tendulkar was finally dismissed by Shahid Afridi for 85 off 115 deliveries and Suresh Raina came in to join Dhoni at the crease. Wahab Riaz inflicted further damage by dismissing Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh came on to join Raina. The two began steadily and hit a few boundaries to elevate India’s run-rate before Harbhajan was dismissed by Saeed Ajmal.
Raina scored steadily and got some good assistance from Zaheer Khan who later fell to Wahab Riaz, thus giving the bowler his only five-wicket haul in ODIs. India eventually ended their innings at 260/9 in their 50 overs and Raina remained unbeaten on a gritty 36.