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Dhoni’s Blue Brigade clinch World Cup glory!

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MS Dhoni ICC World Cup 2011India became the first host nation to win the World Cup when it defeated co-hosts Sri Lanka in yesterday’s exciting Final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai by 6 wickets. This was India’s second World Cup win with the first one coming 28 years ago in 1983 under Kapil Dev. Like Kapil Dev, MS Dhoni is a great all-rounder in his own rights and when it really mattered, the Skipper came up with a match winning 91* in just 79 balls to steer India to a comfortable victory. This World Cup win was a tribute to Sachin Tendulkar as it was a first to this legend having appeared in six editions.

Toss and Teams :

There was a controversy during the toss with Match Referee claiming that he couldn’t hear what Sangakkara had called due to the crowd noise in the stadium. The toss was done again and it was Sangakkara winning it and he elected to bat first. India made one forced change bringing in Sreesanth for Ashish Nehra who had broken his finger during the Pakistan Semi-Final. Sri Lanka incredibly made as many as four changes with Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv replacing Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis.

Sri Lanka Batting – Mahela’s busy century lifts SL’s morale

It was a slow start for SL as Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth bowled well to keep the in-form Tharanga and Dilshan under a check. In the 7th over, left handed Upul Tharanga (2 from 20 balls) edged Zaheer Khan and was brilliantly caught by the diving Sehwag at wide slip. SL were not even off their blocks at 17 for 1. Dilshan after trying to fight out against the new ball lost his wicket in the 17th over when he got bowled round his legs by Harbhajan Singh off the glove when he was trying to sweep a bouncing ball down the legside. Dilshan fell for 33 (from 49 balls) leaving SL at 60 for 2.

The onus was now on the experienced duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawarde to put up a big partnership to save SL. Just when they were getting on track, Skipper Kumar Sangakkara (48 from 67 balls with 5 fours) edged a cut shot off a widish arm ball from Yuvraj to his counterpart behind the stumps. It was an important stand of 62 runs broken by Yuvraj. Mahela Jayawarde got another steady partnership, this time of 57 with Thilan Samaraweera (21 from 34 balls) who got lbw to Yuvraj while shuffling far too across in a sweep in the 40th over. It was a review which turned a not out into a lbw for Yuvraj to reduce SL to 179 for 4. Chamara Kapugedera fell cheaply spooning a slower one from Zaheer straight into the hands of covers to leave SL at 182 for 5 in the 40th over.

Sri Lanka at the most could have got to only 240 from this stage but Mahela Jayawardene played some lovely shots in the gaps to find the boundaries while getting handy support from Nuwan Kulasekara. It was in the 48th over that India could break the 6th wicket which put up 66 runs with Kualsekara chipping in 32 from 30 balls with a four and a six. Mahela Jayawardene finished with an unbeaten 103* from just 88 balls with 13 fours which was his 14th ODI century. Thisara Perera came up with good cameo of 22* from 9 balls with 3 fours and a six.

For India, Yuvraj Singh was the best bowler taking 2 for 49 in 10 overs. Zaheer who also took 2 wickets and bowled three maidens finished giving away 60 runs. Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel were steady in curtailing the runs while Sreesanth went in for plenty – 0/52 in 8 overs. There were plenty of runs saved because of some terrific fielding from India both in the infield and the outfield.

India Batting – Gambhir, Dhoni steer India to comfortable win

In just the second ball of the innings, Lasith Malinga gave a thunderbolt which saw Virender Sehwag out for a duck! It was a skidding indipper from Malinga which beat Sehwag for pace off the wicket to have him plumb infront of middle. Sehwag instead of walking away took a review but only to waste it very early in the Indian innings. Sachin Tendulkar looked very good but could only last 6.1 overs as he got lured into a false cover drive off a late outswinger from Malinga which he nicked behind to Sangakkara. Tendulkar fell for 18 (from 14 balls) with India at 31 for 2.

The mood in the crowd was not at all good when young Virat Kohli joined Gautam Gambhir. Both the batsmen batted out confidently to repair the early damages efficiently and once again got the crowd back into their cheerful mood. The pressure was now building on SL to get the breakthrough which came through an excellent diving catch off his own bowling by Dilshan. Virat Kohli (35 from 49 balls with 4 fours) was the man to be dismissed getting a leading to the right of Dilshan but providing a launching pad taking India to 114 for 3 in the 22nd over along with Gambhir.

MS Dhoni walked into the middle with plenty to prove with the bat. It was a crucial stage of the match but MS Dhoni batted freely along with Gambhir as India kept on cruising towards the target. Muralitharan was struggling to get any fizz off the pitch and Suraj Randiv proved to be ineffective. Perera and Kulasekara were too friendly for the Indian batsmen to cause nay trouble. Just when Gautam Gambhir was inching towards a superb century came a rash shot to fall for 97 (from 122 balls with 9 fours). Gambhir had given the charge to Perera and couldn’t connect his cramped up cut shot to get bowled in the 42nd over. But he had done his job by putting up a match-winning stand of 109 with his skipper.

Yuvraj Singh entere the middle with 52 needed from 52 balls. It wasn’t a tough situation at all with MS Dhoni striking the ball very well at the other end and in no time the target was achieved with 10 balls to spare. Fittingly, MS Dhoni finished the World Cup with a blistering six into the crowd. He remained not out on 91* from 79 balls with 8 fours and 2 sixes to spoil what was Muralitharan’s farewell game. Yuvraj Singh helped himself to an unbeaten 21 from 24 balls. The Man of the Match award went to MS Dhoni and the big award of the Man of the Tournament was clinched by Yuvraj Singh!

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