Forty-two thousand people were in attendance at the Wankhede Stadium in India's financial capital, Mumbai, on 2 April, 2011. The occasion was as big as it gets, the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Interestingly, the two sides were the finalists against Australia in the preceding two editions - Sri Lanka in 2007 and India in 2003 - of the tournament. And, one of them was surely going to lift the trophy.
Four years before this final, Sri Lanka had lost the rain-curtailed game against the Aussies. That pain was still there. India had seen a similar heartbreak at the hands of Ricky Ponting's men in 2003, losing the game by a mammoth 125 runs.
Zaheer Khan, India's strike bowler, did what he was doing throughout the tournament - striking early. An outswinger sent Upul Tharanga packing, taking the energy in the stadium a notch up. However, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, and Kumar Sangakkara stitched important partnerships to keep the run rate over 4, but Lankans lost wickets regularly.
But a brilliant 118 off just 88 balls from Jayawardene and a quick-fire 22 off nine deliveries took Sri Lanka to a respectable total of 274.
India came out to bat and had a terrible start to the run-chase. Sehwag was dismissed on the second delivery of the innings. It didn't take long before Lasith Malinga sent Sachin Tendulkar back to the pavilion.
In walked a young Virat Kohli and added 83 runs with Gautam Gambhir, who was in sublime form. When Kohli got out, everyone thought Yuvraj would take the crease. It was captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who, it appeared, had reserved the best innings of his tournament for the final.
Dhoni and Gambhir put together 109 runs before the latter was dismissed for 97. He may not have scored a hundred that day, but Gambhir, alongside Dhoni, had won India the game. Yuvraj assisted Dhoni in accomplishing what was merely a formality now.
The Indian captain hit Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on for a massive six to win the final by six wickets and 10 balls to spare. On the TV sets, the familiar voice of Ravi Shastri roared: "Dhoni finishes in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lifts the world cup after 28 years. The party starts in the dressing room."
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