I know I am very very late to write on this topic! Nonetheless not so late either 🙂
Clash of the TITANS. 2 of the best teams in the tournament facing head to head in a battle to conquer glory.
I wanted India vs Pakistan finals 🙂 no really, it would have been just an amazing one.
India were the favorites to win the title right from the start of the tournament. Although Indian team players were found a bit rusty in the beginning, they came to top-notch form when it mattered the most. It was a collective team effort which brought India to the Finals which they had reached twice before. Won one against West Indies in 1983 and lost one against Australia in 2003. The revenge against Australia was already taken by screwing their world cup dreams right in the Quarter Final stage. The last 3 matches which India played, we all witnessed some amazing stuffs. Team selections, batting and bowling strengths of the favorites and also the fielding which the youngsters in the Indian line up did an amazing job. Indians held their nerves and played it cool even under high pressure games and also under the leadership of Mr. Cool captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and also the man behind the team coach Gary Kristen.
Srilanka on the other hand were on the money. Under the leadership of Kumar Sangakarra, they played an excellent tournament and made it into the finals the second consecutive time in the world cup. That itself is an achievement from the Srilankan players point of view. The top 4 batsmen of Srilanka played absolutely well. Bowling as usual with the likes of Mahlinga, Murali, Mendis, Mathews they were in the game. The only problem they faced was the middle order which dint perform as expected to. That cost them badly.
India as usual went into the game with 3 seamers and must say, with Nehra injured Dhoni’s took a huge risk of playing Sreesanth ahead of the offie R.Ashwin. I seriously feel that, more than tactical it was on the luck side which made Dhoni choose Sreesanth, atleast that’s what I feel for the reason being he was part of the T20 world cup winning squad too. Moreover after playing the first match at Dhaka against Bangladesh, Sreesanth was always on the sidelines. Many questions were definitely raised just like it was when Nehra was chosen ahead of Ashwin in the semis. But Nehra silenced his critics with a splendid performance. Sadly Sreesanth failed to do so in the Finals. Srilanka on the other hand made 4 changes to their semifinal squad. With Angelo Mathews out injured it was a big blow for the Lankan tigers.
There was controversy right at the start of the match. Toss! Dhoni did spin the coin, looked like Sangakarra gave his call but the match referee Crowe dint seem to have heard the call and the process was repeated again with Sri Lanka winning the toss and electing to bat first.
India bowling first did an amazing job in the first 10 overs. The first power play played by Indians was the best have seen by them till date. Bowling and fielding “SPOT ON”. Yuvraj, Raina, Kohli more than them the bowlers Zak and even Sachin Tendulkar were giving more than 100% in the field to save even a single run which would count while chasing under the lights and more than that, the pressure of the final which would get on. Indians did manage to scalp some of the lankan wickets but the man to watch out for was Mahela Jayawardena. His innings was master class. Under pressure to deliver with no other known batsmen coming after him he proved his toughness by scoring a ton which everyone will remember in the days to come. Sri Lankans piled up a total of 274 which was definitely a commendable total.
India going to bat wanted their openers to fire under any circumstance. The swash buckling batsmen was the first one to get the marching orders when he was caught right in front of the stumps by Lankans in form bowler Lasith Mahlinga. The review just dint help the cause. 2nd ball of the innings, 274 on the board, it’s THE FINAL and you have lost your class batsman. To make matter worse soon it was time for lil’ master who was on the verge of knocking 100 centuries to depart. Outside the off stump delivery from Lasith Mahlinga again and still do not know why Tendulkar went to play it! Sangakarra made no mistake to send thousands of Indian crowd back crushing to the ground. I still remember seeing twitter and fb being flooded with comments, and all against India winning it. Most of, atleast 70% of the Indian crowd has lost the faith in their team. This was what Sri Lanka needed and it was all going against India. Now was the time for the Indian batsmen to keep it cool and just play out the remaining overs. Gambhir was the man for the job. He placed his innings in such a style it was just tremendous. After the fall of Kohli’s wicket, captain cool Dhoni himself came down to bat ahead of Yuvraj. The Dhoni-Gambhir partnership cost Lanka the world cup. Ones n two’s and a hint of boundaries every 2-3 overs got India closer to the target and to the Glory which they were deprived last time they reached this stage. Gambhir deserved a ton, but unfortunately he just went off the hook and sacrificed his wicket. Dhoni took India home with an amazing six, which got India their second World Cup.
Yes, finally India after 28 long years of struggle won the biggest ever cricket glory. More than anyone else Sachin Tendulkar was the one who deserved the most. Playing for over a decade in all formats of the game, winning almost everything possible, creating records which are just impossible to beat Tendulkar finally achieved his goal of being a World Cup winner 🙂
Last but not the least, my prediction of India winning the World Cup did come true 🙂 My tweet on 19th of February when it all began in Dhaka.