World Cup 2011 – A Fitting End To A Perfect Finale




World Cup

World Cup

India began their World Cup campaign with Virender Sehwag smashing Shafiul Islam through the covers for a boundary and, just like their progress in the tournament, ended it in spectacular fashion – with a six! There could have been no better way to clinch the title and there could have been no better man than the skipper himself who hoicked Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on to spark celebrations all over the country.

No host team had ever won a World Cup and seven of the previous nine World Cup finals were won by the team batting first. All the odds were stacked up against India and if ever a team deserved to lift the trophy aloft in 2011, it was India. They beat two of the toughest teams – Australia and Pakistan – to reach the finals, where the runners up of 2007 awaited them. Drama at the toss ensured that India wouldn’t be batting first, just like 2003 where they awoke to a crushing defeat at the hands of Australia. But the bowlers, especially Zaheer Khan, had learnt from the mistakes from eight years ago and refused to let Lanka get off to a flier. The fielders dived and lunged at everything right through the tournament and ensured that they didn’t let a single run come easy. It was heartwarming to see Ashish Nehra almost pull off a splendid catch against Pakistan or Zaheer sprinting and diving to save a boundary in the final and it is the fielding that separates the current Indian team from the previous lots.

India deserved to win because they raised their game when most required and had every player contributing at different stages of the tournament. While Yuvraj was undoubtedly the man of the Tournament, it is amazing how Sachin remains focused, motivated and inspired to do well whenever a World Cup arrives. Sehwag was instrumental in helping the team get off to flying starts and it is well known how a typical Viru innings can damage the morale of the opposition. Kohli never backed down from taking responsibilities while Gambhir, though consistent throughout the tournament, proved yet again that he was a big match player. It was his knock of 75 that helped Dhoni’s boys win the T20 title four years ago and here it was his stubborn 97 in energy sapping conditions that laid the foundation for India’s run chase in the final. The bowlers were erratic at times but they always had a knack of picking up wickets at crucial intervals. Zaheer led from the front and finished as the joint leading wicket taker while Munaf Patel and Ashish Nehra contributed when they were needed to. Harbhajan Singh may not have got as many wickets as he would have liked to but his economy rate throughout the tournament was commendable. R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina were also tried during the various stages of the tournament and although they didn’t set the world on fire were handy when required.

The skipper himself was subject to lots of criticisms for various decisions throughout the course of the tournament. But that didn’t hamper him from taking a few more risks for the final by picking Sreesanth ahead of Ashwin and by promoting himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh. Although the former gamble didn’t pay off, Dhoni made sure the latter would. He saved his best knock for the main event and ensured that he stayed in the middle till India got home the Cup. He struggled initially but as he played, he grew more confident as his wide range of strokes started taking centre stage as India coasted to the target. And when 5 runs were required to win, he finished it off in signature style – with a huge six that sent 1.21 billion people into a frenzy and made him the first wicketkeeper captain to win the coveted trophy.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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