Wrapping up the column in the best possible way: with a win in the final!
World Cup Diary
March 29: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, Colombo
The battle had begun. Perceived to be a totally Lankan affair, the Kiwis displayed charisma and character. Batting first, the Kiwis put up a respectable 217 with Styris , Taylor and Guptill being the major contributors. Mystery man Mendis and Slinga Malinga were exceptional with the bowl and took three wickets each. Dilshan and Tharanga gave the Lankans a slam-bang start and posted a good 1st wicket partnership. But it was captain Sangakarra who guided the Lankans home. Sanga's footwork was extraordinary and helped to provide shield to the shaky middle order. Tim Southee deserves a big mention and Vettori was his usual best. Owing to injury, Mathews is unlikely to make it to the finals. Lankans have to work on their middle order and hope ALL IZZ WELL!!
March 30: India vs Pakistan, Mohali
I am ready to sell my kidney to buy a ticket of this match “– said one man, trying to find a ticket. All the diplomatic talks, inviting Pakistani leaders for the match, etc were just adding to the hype. In front of a raucous Indian crowd, filled with celebrities and political honchos, India decided to bat first. A mouth-watering fight between Gul and Sehwag saw Viru go berserk. It was Sachin's lucky day, getting dropped four times and the UDRS working in his favour. With his spell of 85 runs India posted a modest total of 260. Barely out of his teens, Wahab Riaz bowled a magical spell, scalping five wickets. Hafeez and Kamran got Pakistan off to a great start, but then the same story repeated itself. Pakistani batsmen fell like nine pins. Every Indian bowler bagged two wickets a piece. Dhoni played a master stroke by picking up Nehra instead of Ashwin. Umar Akmal looked to last long, but alas! Misbah, played a slow 1st half, couldn't do much alone. He had nobody to blame but himself. Come Saturday, all roads would lead to Wankhede! BLEED BLUE!
April 2, Finals: India vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai
Fireworks, tears, Vande Mataram... Finally, the 28-year-long wait is over!
After a lot of confusion, Sangakarra won the toss and decided to bat first. Zaheer Khan's first spell's figures of 5-3-6-1, set up a compelling contest. Dilshan was sent back by Bhajji. The onus fell upon the Experienced campaigners Sangakara and Jayawardene built up a steady partnership before Yuvi scalped Sanga. Mahela anchored the innings with his 103. Despite the turtle slow start, Lankans managed 274.
Sehwag and Sachin fell early to Malinga and India was left tottering at 31-2. The Delhi boys Gambhir and Kohli propelled the innings ahead. Once again Virat departed when he looked set for a big one. To keep the right-left combination going, Dhoni came in before the in-form Yuvraj and, fittingly, finished off in his trademark style with a six. Gauti, just like the T20 finals, top scored with 97 and MSD played a captain's innings of 91 runs. It is Truly a fairytale ending to India's WC campaign and, yes ,Sachin's resume is now complete. The victory laps with the team carrying TENDULKAR and Guru Gary –these scenes will remain etched in our memories. A special mention on what Kohli said –“This goes out to all the people of India. This is my first World Cup; I can't ask for more. Tendulkar has carried the burden of nation for 21 years; It was time we carried him. Chak de India!” We wish that Dhoni's Midas touch never ends and the juggernaut of success rolls on!
Gaurav is a B.Tech Nanotechnology student of SRM University.
Keywords: 2011 cricket world cup