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The day that was: When India won the Cricket World Cup 2011

Vibhash
ICC cricket world cup final match between India and Sri Lanka at Mumbai.

2nd April 2011. It was a typical morning – nothing special about it. The sun had risen in the east, Mumbai was as chaotic as ever and it was humid with a slight breeze flowing. The only difference was the location of the butterflies – they had positioned themselves in over a billion human stomachs. The reason was simple – 2nd April 2011 was going to decide the winner of the cricket World Cup.

The ICC CWC 2011 was quite like a lottery of three nights – quarter final, semi final and the final. India and SL had been lucky for two nights and were trying their luck on the third night. In a period of two years leading up to that day, India and SL had played each other a million times. Little did we know that all this while, these two teams were practising for the big day – the World Cup final.

And with it, it had brought a moment of truth. It had been 8 years since we had lost a World Cup final and 28 since we had won it. For most of us of my generation, a World Cup win was nothing but those stories which we had heard from the previous generation. 2nd April 2011 was our chance to see those stories unfold live.

Just before the match started, a friend called up “Dude, my TV is not working. Do you mind if I come down to your place to watch the match”

“Why ask? Why don’t you just come over” I replied.

“Remember, I watched 2003 final at your place, too?”

“Dare you come anywhere close to my place”, said I.

Anyhow, we decided to risk it and he came over to my place.

Coming to the team news, India was playing the mercurial Sreesanth in place of the very much hyped Ashwin. Either he will run through SL or our own team. I hope it is the former but I know it will be the latter, is what I thought.

SL had made four changes to their side. Four. Stupid is what I thought.

Zaheer was a young enthusiastic bowler in 2003. Alas, enthusiasm took over his senses. 3-0-28-0 was the result.

Zaheer was one of the canniest bowlers in 2011. 3-0-3-0 was the result.

India’s fielding was the best I had seen for a long long time.

The match went on. They kept scoring. We kept taking wickets. Zaheer of 2003 came to the fore in last few overs and they ended up setting us a target of 275.

Two hundred and seventy five.

What was bigger than Sehwag’s dismissal was the fact that he asked for a review. Even to the naked eye, it looked out.

Sachin, being Sachin, was out soon.

The sun had set a few minutes ago but the darkness of disappointment had just started to set in. Chat messages, phone, SMSs, FB, Twitter – everywhere it was “Oh we have lost it again”.

Gambhir and Kohli were crusing. These two had won us a few matches chasing recently and were on song. One Kohli square cut went to the point boundary faster than a tracer bullet. He was in a purple patch.

The next ball was driven straight; Dilshan flew at it and plucked it in front of Gambhir’s face. Why did he move and let Dilshan take the catch?, I thought. The partnership was broken.

In came a woefully out of form MSD – this will go down to the wire, said Ravi Shastri on air.

I read somewhere, “Gambhir’s century will ensure that for the first time in the history of World Cup finals, a centurion will end up on the losing side”. For SL, Mahela had scored a hundred.

Gambhir decided to kill the surety and got out.

By then, it had become easy. Barring the small matter of the match being a World cup final, the match was in the bag.

One of the biggest differences between Tata Sky and other cable operators is that Tata Sky’s live telecast is slower by a few seconds. Whenever my friend pointed it out to me, I just shrugged it off – “How does it matter?”.

That day I came to know that it did matter and how!

With only four needed, I saw Kulasekara starting his run up on my TV screen. At the same time, I heard a loud noise coming from out of my house. This was the indication that India had won. My suspense about the outcome was killed.

Now the only suspense remaining was to see how we won.

MSD’s six over long on, holding the pose and that twirl of the bat is a memory etched forever in our minds. The celebrations after that, on the ground, were amazing.

As I came out, I saw the most crowded Mumbai I had seen in the last four years.

Highlights, news channels and reading about the match online and in the news paper, 2nd April 2011 finally ended for me at 9:00 AM in the morning of 3rd of April 2011.

I woke up at 4 in the afternoon and spent the rest of the evening talking to friends about the match and what all had happened in the last 24 hours or so.

The feeling had still not sunk in. I would have needed at least a week for it to sink in.

Alas, IPL started within a week and pushed it all down the throat.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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