'Wonderful occasion to play the final in Mumbai'
After guiding India to the World Cup final with a useful knock of 85, Sachin Tendulkar simply can't wait to play one of the biggest matches of his illustrious career on his home ground, the Wankhede, in Mumbai.
"It will be a wonderful occasion to play the final in Mumbai. All we would like is to remain calm and focused and get the job done," the man of the World Cup semi-final against Pakistan said at the post-match presentation ceremony, in Mohali, on Wednesday.
A member of Indian teams that won all its five World Cup matches against Pakistan, the legendary batsman was quick to admit that the victory will be a memory he will always cherish.
Image: Indian players celebrate after winning the semi-final match against Pakistan
Photographs: Getty Images
'Raina played a special knock'
Someone who has always put the team before individual performance, Tendulkar lavished praise on young Suresh Raina, whose unbeaten 36 provided the necessary impetus during the death overs.
"Raina played a special knock. When we started batting, I felt that 310-315 was par-score. But, as the spinners came on, the ball was stopping and coming. Then I thought that 265-270 will be a good score to defend," Tendulkar stated.
For him, Virender Sehwag's blitzkrieg at the onset gave him and others that extra bit of time to check out how to proceed with the innings.
"Viru got us off to a flier but then we needed to assess the situation. It was a difficult wicket to bat on and we needed to put up a good score. Full credit to our bowlers as they put up a fabulous show."
Image: Suresh Raina
'Wahab really bowled well'
Dhoni's counterpart Shahid Afridi was a dejected man at the end of it all.
"I congratulate India for this win and wish them all the best for the final. But I should give credit to my boys for their performance. I am proud to lead this bunch of guys," Afridi said.
He praised Wahab Riaz, who grabbed five for 46. "Wahab really bowled well," he added.
But the skipper was critical about his batsmen."The key would have been partnerships and we couldn't get going. Also, we played a few responsible shots. In the end, they played better cricket than us," said Afridi.
About the decision not to take the powerplay till the end, Afridi said, "We thought that we would take the powerplay when Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] would have finished his spell."
Image: Wahab Riaz celebrates after picking up Virat Kohli's wicket