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Dhoni, Gambhir lead India to World Cup glory

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
India's Yuvraj Singh hugs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after they beat Sri Lanka to win the World Cup final

Live Scorecard: India vs Sri Lanka

An inspired India on Saturday regained the coveted World Cup after 28 years as they suppressed Sri Lanka with a six-wicket victory in a nerve-wrecking final to script a glorious new chapter in their cricketing history.

Chasing 275 for a historic win, the Indians held their nerves as they rode on Gautam Gambhir's 97 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni's unbeaten 91 to overhaul the target with 10 balls to spare and send the cricket-crazy nation into a frenzy.

The vociferous, jam-packed crowd at the Wankhede stadium erupted in wild celebrations as Dhoni hit the winning six runs to give India their biggest cricketing moment and crown themselves the ODI world champions, in addition to being the number one Test team.

The World Cup title triumph was doubly special for Sachin Tendulkar since it was the only silverware missing from his collection.

It was also a fitting farewell to coach Gary Kirsten, for whom it was the last day in office as the Indian coach. The players, many of them with tears in their eyes, rushed to the ground to hug each other as Dhoni finished it off in style by hitting a six, as fire crackers lit up the evening sky to mark the moment.

Dhoni completes 38th ODI fifty

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni

After milking the bowling around in partnership with Gambhir, Dhoni reached his 38th ODI fifty with a boundary off Murali.

It was his 14th fifty against Sri Lanka. A boundary off Murali by Dhoni brought about the 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

India's chase got off to a wobbly start but the 109-run partnership between Gautam Gambhir (97) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (91 not out) hauled them back on track and they overwhelmed the target in the 49th over.

Yuvraj Singh, who was named man-of-the-tournament, finished on 21 not out.

Gambhir fails to register his century

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Gautam Gambhir of India is bowled by Thisara Perera

At the 35 over stage Gambhir and Dhoni looked comfortable.

The pair stitched 109 runs for the fourth wicket before Gambhir paid the price for a horrendous stroke, just three runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century.

Gambhir was within three runs of a century when medium-pacer Thisara Perera knocked back his middle stump. He threw back his head in disgust but his 122-ball innings with nine boundaries had gone a long way to winning the World Cup for his country for the second time.

Gambhir stayed calm among the storm to score a masterly 97, sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 109 from 118 balls with man-of-the-match Dhoni.

Dhoni promotes himself up the order

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays the ball fine as Kumar Sangakkara looks on

The out-of-form Dhoni came ahead of Yuvraj to keep the left-right combination going and was immediately given two 'lives' by the Lankans -- first Sangakkara messing up a stumping chance off Muralitharan and then Dilshan dropping a return catch as he collided with non-striker Gambhir.

Dhoni, however, made the most of the Sri Lankan lapses to rediscover his form which had deserted him in the mega event.

Dhoni and Gambhir scored at a brisk pace to keep India in the hunt. When on 42, Dhoni completed 6,000 ODI runs. He is the seventh Indian batsman to achieve the feat.

Gambhir lucky

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Gautam Gambhir of India celebrates reaching his fifty

Kohli and Gambhir had helped put on a valuable 83-run stand (off just 93 balls) for the third wicket.  Gambhir drove Kulasekara for a boundary in the extra cover region to notch up 4000 ODI runs while Virat Kohli also pulled the bowler to the boundary in the same over.

Gambhir was lucky to get a reprieve in spinner Suraj Randiv's first over when Kulasekara dropped him at the long off region. Kohli and Gambhir put together a 50-plus partnership, a crucial stand keeping the situation in mind.

'Superman' Dilshan splendidly dismisses Kohli

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Tillakaratne Dilshan (right) dives full stretch to take a successful return catch to dismiss Kohli
Gambhir registered his 25th fifty -- his sixth of the World Cup. The 50-run partnership for the third wicket came shortly after.

Randiv (4-0-20-0) was replaced by Dilshan in the 22nd over. And the move worked. India were coasting until Dilshan took a splendid catch to end Kohli's stay at the crease.

Going parallel to the ground, a flying Dilshan took a splendid return catch off his own bowling to dismiss Virat Kohli (35).

Kohli, Gambhir repair innings

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Gautam Gambhir acknowledges the crowd after scoring his half century

The dismissal of Tendulkar brought another Delhi boy, Virat Kohli to the crease. Kohli and Gambhir stitched up a good partnership and batted with plenty of ease.

They played with a lot of common sense, knocking around the singles and India reached 50-2 in 11 overs.

Both batsmen was particularly severe on Kulasekara. Gambhir completed 4,000 ODI runs when he slammed Kulasekara for a boundary on 28. Kohli matched him shot for shot in the same over and didn't let the Lankan bowlers settle.

Kulasekara was replaced by Suraj Randiv in the 14th over. And the spinner almost got a breakthrough in his first over. Gambhir (on 30) skied to long off but Kulasekara failed to hold on to the catch.

Tendulkar fails to score 100th ton in World Cup final

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Sachin Tendulkar walks off after his dismissal

Tendulkar and Gambhir had a tough job at hand but did well to rebuild the innings.

They have started off on a good note, especially Tendulkar. The Little Master took two boundaries off Kulasekara with trademark shots.

Thisara Perera replaced Kulasekara (2-0-16-0) in the sixth over.

And after four dot balls, Gambhir does managed to find the fence.

However, it is Malinga who strikes, a second time and had Tendulkar (18) caught behind.

Tendulkar failed to score his 100th international century in the World Cup after he fell for 18 against Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday.

Tendulkar, who hails from Mumbai, edged fast bowler Laisth Malinga to Kumar Sangakkara behind the stumps to silence the crowd at Wankhede Stadium.

Malinga makes early breakthrough

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Lasith Malinga celebrates the wicket of Virender Sehwag

After a short break, Sehwag and Sachin came to the crease and Malinga, off the second ball off the first over, nailed Sehwag. The flamboyant opener was looking to turn the ball into the onside -- on the crease with a good length ball.

The on-field umpire gave it out, the review confirmed it and Sehwag was out for a duck.

India were one down with the score on naught.

With Sehwag back in the crease it was up to veteran Tendulkar to take India to safety.

Gambhir walks in to replace Sehwag and starts with a boundary. The Delhi lad enjoyed some luck. Lasith Malinga trapped him leg before, second ball but the referral came to his rescue.

Jayawardene century takes SL past 270

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Mahela Jayawardena celebrates on completing his century

Jayawardene's rollicking 103 helped Sri Lanka post a decent 274 for six in the end.

Apart from Jayawardene's 88-ball knock, captain Kumar Sangakkara (48) Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) and Nuwan Kulasekara (32) were the other notable performers as the Lankans left India with an asking rate of 5.50 runs per over to clinch the title.

Late fightback by Jayawardene-Kulasekera

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Nuwan Kulasekara plays the pull shot

Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara teamed up to ensure that Sri Lanka had a competitive total on the board; the pair went about accumulating runs in the batting powerplay, which was taken in the last five overs.

The batsmen used the powerplay to the fullest, Kulasekara smashing Zaheer for a six, the first of the innings.

Jayawardene reached his hundred with successive boundaries off Zaheer. It was his 14th ODI ton and the third in the World Cup.

Kulasekara (34) though was run-out in the same over after Zaheer conceded 17 off it.

Zaheer picks Kapugadera

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Zaheer Khan (2nd from right) is congratulated by teamamtes after capturing the wicket of Kapugadera

Zaheer Khan made an impact as soon as he was brought on. He had Chamara Kapugedera (1) caught by Raina.

Zaheer's second spell (2-0-10-1) was just as impressive as his first.

Sri Lanka were on the backfoot, but Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara did the rescue act in the end.

Yuvraj traps Samaraveera

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Yuvraj Singh appeals for an LBW against Thilan Samaraweera, who was declared out after review

Dhoni was looking to break the partnership and gave Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli to bowl. Tendulkar was taken for 12 runs off his two overs and Mahela welcomed Virat with a boundary wide of third man.

In the 36th over the batsmen completed their fifty-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Yuvraj replaced Tendulkar in the 37th over and Zaheer was brought back in the attack in place of Virat Kohli (1-0-6-0) in the 38th.

Yuvraj struck just as soon as he was brought on.

He trapped Samaraveera LWB but not before the Decision Review came into play.

Simon Taufel gave not out but Yuvraj was adamant and Dhoni decided to go for a referral. The decision was reversed and Yuvraj got his second wicket.

Samaraweera (21) returned to the pavilion after putting on 57 runs for the fourth wicket with Mahela.

Jayawardene, Samaraweera frustrate India

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Mahela Jayawardene (right) is congratulated by Thilan Samaraweera after completing his 50

Now it was up to Jayawardene and Samaraweera to anchor the innings. And anchor the innings they did as both batsman played sensibly. The latter opened his innings with a well-timed four off the bowling off Sreesanth.

At the other end, Jayawardene went about his job with little worry. He played the bowlers around and gave no chances to the opponents. Continuing his brilliant form in the tournament, Jayawardene registered his sixth fifty in the World Cup and his 57th overall.

After 35 overs, the visitors were 162 for three.

Every boundary hit by the duo is not beneficial not only for the team but also to under preveleged kids. According to reports, every boundary hit during the World Cup final clash between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium will ensure free access to books and libraries for a few children across the world.

Reliance Life Insurance has pledged Rs 25,000 for every four hit during the summit clash between the two Asian cricketing giants in addition to the same amount for every six hit during the tournament.

Sanga falls to Yuvraj

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Mahendra Singh Dhoni celebrates after catching Kumar Sangakkara

The loss of Dilshan put Sri Lanka on the backfoot, but Mahela Jayawardene looked good for a big one from the start.

Jayawardene, along with Sangakkara played the Indian bowlers smartly. They took Harbhajan on and eased the pressure a bit by taking 12 runs off his third over.

In the over, Jayawardene first helped himself to a boundary past point before Sanga took advantage of a vacant slip region.

Sreesanth was given another shot in the 20th over but he failed to make any impact. He made a return in the 20th over as Jayawardene helped himself to a boundary off his third ball.

Sreesanth's third spell (1-0-6-0) lasted for an over only.

Yuvraj Singh replaced him in the 22nd over and Mahela welcomed him with a boundary to deep midwicket.

This saw Sri Lanka reach the 100-run mark in the 24th over.The third wicket partnership between the seniors was shaping up well for Sri Lanka, until Yuvraj struck.

He had Sangakkara caught behind by Dhoni. Sangakkara made 48 off 67, including five boundaries and the third wicket partnership yielded Sri Lanka 62 runs.

Film industry big-wigs at Wankhede

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Actors Rajinikanth (left) and Aamir Khan (right) are seen in the gallery at the Wankhede stadium

The stands at Wankhede stadium were buzzing from the start. Among the modest locals were Bollywood and other film personalities.

Cheering in the stands for India were actors Akshay Kumar, Soha Ali Khan, Priety Zinta and the biggest star of them all, Rajnikanth.

The southern star was enjoying the match in the company of Aamir. And, like always, Aamir was accompanied with wife Kiran Rao.

Fans cheer aloud for Team India

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Fans cheer in the stands
The fans who made it to the stadium cheered and shouted themselves hoarse for Team India. But cricket lovers not lucky enough to secure a place at the Wankhede, made frenzied attempts to book the remaining seats in multiplexes and restaurants to watch the grand finale, or chose to enjoy the game in the cozy confines of their homes over house parties.

"We will chill out and cheer Team India. If they win, we will raise a toast, and if they lose, we will drown our disappointment in the bubbly," said Ratish, raising his mug of beer at a suburban restobar.

A number of crazy fans were seen blowing vuvuzelas, popularised during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa; some also got themselves painted with the Indian tricolour on their faces and bodies near the local Churchgate station.

Harbhajan accounts for Dilshan

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Dilshan is bowled by Harbhajan Singh
The first 15 overs belonged to India, as the Lankans crawled their way into the match. Sangakkara and Dilshan batted sensibly, rotating the strike and finding the odd boundary.

Looking for another wicket, Dhoni made a bowling change in the 15th over, bringing in Harbhajan Singh.

And it was a perfect move, as Bhajji effected the desired result, dismissing Dilshan in his second over.

The Sri Lankan opener, frustrated at having been quiet for sometime, mistimed a sweep and dragded the ball on to his stumps.

The second-wicket partnership yielded Sri Lanka 43 runs; Dilshan's 49-ball 33 was inclusive of three hits to the fence.

Sangakkara, Dilshan steady Lankan ship

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Kumar Sangakkara hits four over long on

With the departure of Tharanga, the Lankans did a revival of sorts.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara, replacing Tharanga, partnered Dilshan and took fancy for Sreesanth's bowling. The Lankans reached the 50-run mark in the 13th over.

Sreesanth started off well, but got back to his expensive best as the match progressed. He was taken to the cleaners by the batsmen, going for 15 runs in his fifth over.

Zaheer strikes for India

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Zaheer Khan celebrates with Virat Kohli after scalping the wicket of Upul Tharanga

After being asked to field, the Indian pacers did well to keep the Sri Lankan openers -- Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan -- quiet for most of the early overs.

Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth gave no room to the batsmen to play their shots. The Indian fielding was also upto the mark, allowing no easy runs to the Lankans.

All of this stifled the Lankan openers, and it was Tharanga who blinked first.

Zaheer struck off the first ball of the seventh over, having Tharanga (2 off 20) caught by Virender Sehwag at slips.

Last on-field duel between Murali, Tendulkar

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Sachin Tendulkar (right) greets Muttiah Muralitharan before the World Cup final

The World Cup showdown is the last on-field duel between Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan -- the best batsman and the most successful bowler of the era.

While Tendulkar, 37, has not yet indicated when he plans to retire, Muralitharan, who will turn 39 later this month, is playing his last international match.

Muralitharan, the only survivor from Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning team, took the field despite battling hamstring and knee injuries.

It is Tendulkar's sixth and last shot at adding the only major trophy missing from his glittering cabinet.

Capacity crowd at the stadium

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
An India fan displays a placard directed at Sachin Tendulkar before the start of the World Cup final

Cricket fans filled the recently renovated Wankhede stadium to witness a historical final in Mumbai.

However, there was drama in the media centre as some reporters of Indian television news channels staged a walk-out from the media enclosure after a couple of them were blacklisted by the ICC from covering the India-Sri Lanka World Cup final.

They were also denied entry into the ground for alleged breach of terms and conditions of the accreditations.

"Two or three channels were blacklisted by the ICC, and their reporters denied entry; the rest of us have decided to boycott the final as a show of solidarity," a channel reporter said.

Coin tossed twice in final

Last updated on: April 3, 2011 00:13 IST
Dhoni (2nd from left) and Sangakkara (centre) agree a re-toss of the coin

Ever heard of the toss happening twice in a cricket match?

Well, that's exactly what happened before the start of the cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka, at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai, on Saturday.

When the coin was tossed by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, there was confusion about what Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara had called -- heads or tails?

After a brief discussion between Sangakkara and Dhoni, match referee Jeff Crowe decided that the toss would be held again.

The Lanka skipper called correctly on this occasion and opted to bat first in the first-ever All-Asian final in the tournament's history.

Lanka made four changes in their eleven that won the semi-final against New Zealand, including Thisara Perera, Suraj Randiv (a last-minute inclusion in the squad in place of injured all-rounder Angelo Mathews), Chamara Kapugedera and Nuwan Kulasekara.

India made one change in the team that defeated Pakistan in the second semi-final, bringing in S Sreesanth for the injured Ashish Nehra.