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India’s 2011 World Cup Win: A fan’s Journey And Expectations

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Its been nine years since India’s 2011 World Cup Win. Nine years ago in the finals of the 2011 World Cup , when MS Dhoni smashed a length ball from Nuwan Kulasekara into the crowd over the long on boundary, India erupted in euphoria.

That shot from MS Dhoni became one of the most iconic moments in Indian cricket, as India won the 2011 World Cup.

“Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd! India lift the World Cup after 28 years!”

Ravi Shashtri, from the commentary box, as India won the 2011 World Cup.

A Flashback to India’s 2011 World Cup Win

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Chasing 275, India lost Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag within the first six overs. Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli steadied the Indian run chase.

But as things looked to be going India’s way Tilakratne Dilshan dismissed Kohli in the 22nd over. MS Dhoni surprised everyone as walked into bat in place of the inform Yuvraj Singh.

Together MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir put 109 runs in 118 balls, when India lost Gautam Gambhir in the 42nd over. As Yuvraj Singh joined Dhoni in the centre, India required another 52 runs from remaining equal number of balls.

The match was evenly poised and could have gone either way, had Sri Lankan bowler got better of the two batsmen on the crease.

Along side Gambhir, MS Dhoni had played second fiddle but once Gambhir lost his wicket, MS Dhoni stepped up his tempo with Yuvraj Singh and the rest is history. The dream of 1.3 billion population come true after 28 years.

India's World Cup triumph. PC: India Today
India’s 2011 World Cup Win came 28 years after India first won the World Cup in 1983

Build Up To The finals of 2011 Word Cup

Since then, every tournament India takes part in, we hope to win the tournament. But to be precise, before the 2011 World Cup win, there were anxious fans who performed poojas, yaagas, namaz seeking divine help in India’s success. The memories of India’s debacle in the 2003 World Cup finals were still a 8 years fresh.

BBC NEWS | In pictures: India cricket craze, Fans' prayers
The anxious cricket fans sought divine intervention in the run up to India’s 2011 World Cup Win (Image credits: BBC)

Confidence and Shock From The Past

On the other hand, there were few sets of fans who were very optimistic about India’s chances in the 2011 World Cup, as a young side without the coach had won the inaugural edition of the T-20 World Cup in 2007 under MSD’s captaincy.

Also, just before the World Cup, India fought valiantly against South Africa in their home turf to just lose the five games series by a margin of 2-3.

India's road to glory in ICC World T20 2007 | Sports News,The ...
India’s 2007 T20 World Cup win had created optimism of India’s 2011 World Cup Wn (Image Credits: Indian Express)

However, before the 2011 World Cup win, which gave the bragging rights to India four years, the fans weren’t happy with the selection of the team which had under-performing players in the squad. Moreover, their were fans, who still could come to terms with India’s shocking exits from the 2007 ODI World Cup, after losses against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Stats Against The Host Nations in World Cup

Coming to the World Cup of 2011, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra were on the brink of retirement. Moreover, the World Cup was being held in India along with neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Looking at the previous stats, no-host country had won the World Cup in their backyard. This was a setback for the Indian fans, relying on all the superstitions.

World Cup Finals Part 4: The Current Era | Lord's
India’s 2011 World Cup win was the first title triumph by a host nation in the World Cups (Image Credits:Lords.org)

As the competition progressed, India looked solid with all-round performances from the players. India qualified for the knock out stages with ease but the real test was yet to come. India was up against the mighty Australians who had seemed indomitable in the World Cups, especially against India.

The fightback in the Quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup from India while chasing 261 was memorable. Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina guided the team to a famous victory. The next game was up against the familiar foe and arch-rivals of India, Pakistan. Though India won the game comfortably, it took a decent effort from all the players.

Next up the finals at Wankhede where India fought the co-hosts, Sri Lanka, for the title, had its moments where fans had fits of anxiety and despair, especially when Mahela Jayawardene sent India on a leather hunt and then when Lasith Malinga got better of India’s openers Sachin and Sehwag.

The Indian batsmen and the team together ensured India’s 2011 World Cup. But, MS Dhoni’s finishing shot has been etched in the memories of the Indian cricket fans

Expectations Since India’s 2011 World Cup Win

After the famous World Cup victory at Wankhede, we fans have started expecting the best from the team. The best is just to win the trophy. When India got whitewashed in England and Australia, the team management was questioned and the anger was all over them. However, the victory in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England settled the anger of the fans.

However after 2013, India has conquered no ICC tournaments. Be it the 2014 T20 World Cup loss to Sri Lanka in finals or semifinal loss to Australia in the 2015 World Cup, we have blamed the stars.

Modi on India's World Cup loss: Victory, defeat part of life ...
Since India’s 2011 World Cup Win expectations have risen. (Image credits: IndiaToday)

More or less, we have targeted the current day captain of all the three formats for their display and captaincy in the crucial games. We can see that the over-reliance on the top three has resulted in the previous losses in the knockout fixtures of the ICC tournaments regardless of Champions Trophy or the 2019 World Cup. 

We Want 2020 T20 World Cup

With one more ICC tournament in the sight, i.e, the T20 World Cup in Australia, the fans have started the familiar rant of winning the tournament. On a lighter note, it is equivalent to RCB fans’ “Ee Sala Cup Namde” chant before the start of the cash-rich Indian Premier League.

Six teams looking to keep T20 World Cup dreams alive in Africa Final
Fans are hooting for India to lift the 2020 T20 World Cup like India’s 2011 world Cup (Image Credits: ICC)

Yes, the team possesses the best weapons in the arsenal of every department. But, is that enough to World Cup? There is no doubt that on the paper, India is the best team but what matters is the performances of the players on that particular day.

The best example for that can be the recently concluded T20 series against New Zealand. The best white-ball bowler for India, Jasprit Bumrah went for runs whereas the other players endured a dry run. Though India won the shortest format, they failed to do in the other two.

As an ardent fan, I don’t like to jinx or keep the high expectations on the team. I hope for the best for the team and a great swansong for one of the best captains of the country, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

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