(A write-up by Mr Jayavant Prabhu, Doha, Qatar on India’s historical victory in Cricket World Cup 2011)
It was a dream built brick by brick over four long years… since India’s premature exit from the 2007 world cup… through the years of attaining supremacy in test cricket… winning the inaugural T20 world cup…. launching the much envied IPL tournament ….beating Australia in Australia, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and coming close to achieving the feat in South Africa
A dream of accessing the pinnacle of limited over cricket in the home conditions of a cricket obsessed nation and in the process gifting the one missing trophy to the god of modern Indian cricket in his hometown. A dream which became a reality at around midnight IST on the second of April 2011 to the thunderous applause of a billion Indians across the world
However it was anything but smooth sailing for the pre tournament favorites. After a decent win in the inaugural match against Bangladesh followed a heart stopping tie with England, non emphatic victories over minnows and a defeat from the jaws of victory against South Africa. At that stage the anger of a cricket crazy public ran wild with many an expert predicting an early exit for the team in the knockout stage because of inadequate attack and captain’s alleged bias for particular players.
However after a convincing win against the Windies in the final group match the team grew from strength to strength in the knockout phase, first dispatching the defending champion back to Sydney, then winning a high pressure match in Mohali against the traditional rivals from across the border and finally outsmarting the rivals from the Emerald Isle in the big final through superior skills in all departments of the game. The final had all the drama starting from a controversial toss, a fluent century from the old warhorse Mahela, indifferent bowling at the death helping Lanka set a challenging 275 target, pangs of a 31 for 2 scoreline in the 7th over of the run chase, stability achieved by the level headed middle order and finally the flourish unleashed by the Captain supreme MS Dhoni. A perfect demonstration of a team peaking at the right moment
At the end of it all, many enduring images remain in memory from an Indian perspective…. of an hitherto inconsistent Yuvraj proving to be the most valuable player of the tournament, Zaheer getting the much needed wickets through his prodigious reverse swing time and again , Gambhir rising to the occasion on the big final day, Tendulkar not becoming man of the match while scoring two wonderful hundreds but winning it through a lucky 85 against Pakistan, Sehwag and Raina providing the aggressive bursts at different stages of the tournament and above all, the Buddha of all captains hoisting the team to cup victory through the last ball six
Jai ho India… whatever happens from hereon we will cherish this world cup victory for a long time to come