The 10th ICC Cricket World Cup (WC) in 2011 was played in India, Sri Lanka (SL) and in Bangladesh for the first time. Originally, Pakistan was scheduled to be a co-host but, after the 2009 terrorist attack in Lahore, on the bus carrying the SL Cricket team, on tour in Pakistan, the ICC cancelled their [...]


When two Asian nations met in a World Cup final


The 10th ICC Cricket World Cup (WC) in 2011 was played in India, Sri Lanka (SL) and in Bangladesh for the first time. Originally, Pakistan was scheduled to be a co-host but, after the 2009 terrorist attack in Lahore, on the bus carrying the SL Cricket team, on tour in Pakistan, the ICC cancelled their WC status, and transferred the games to Bangladesh and Mumbai. Pakistan was to have held 14 matches.

This WC became the most popular edition, with over 2.2 billion TV viewers worldwide. The opening ceremony was held in Dhaka and the tournament was staged from February 19-April 2, 2011, with 14 national Cricket teams, including 10 Full Members and four Associate Members of the ICC.

India won the tournament, defeating SL by 6 wickets in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, thus becoming the first country to win the Cricket WC final on home soil. It was also the first occasion in WC history when two Asian nations met in the final, and also the first time since 1992 that Australia did not enter the final.

SL made their presence felt as a likely finalist for the title, when the islanders first crushed Kenya with 41.2 overs to spare, next beat New Zealand (NZ) by 111 runs and then covered themselves with glory in a quarterfinal match at the R. Premadasa Stadium. In reply to England’s modest 229/6, the SL openers Upul Tharanga 102* in 122 balls and Dilshan 108* in 115 balls, rocketed to the target with 63 balls to spare. It was savage cricket at its best! This (unbeaten) partnership of 231 runs is the highest in WC Cricket for the first wicket.

In the quarter-finals, Pakistan snuffed the West Indies (WI) 112 in 43.3 overs, by 10 wickets. India beat Australia by 5 wickets, NZ beat South Africa (SA) by 49 runs, and, as above, SL crushed England by 10 wickets.

In the first semi-final, Sri Lanka 220/5, Dilshan 73, Sangakkara 54, eased into the final, beating NZ 217 by 5 wickets, while in the 2nd semi-final, India 260/9, Tendulkar 85, beat arch rivals Pakistan 231, in a closer encounter by 29 runs.

This was the first occasion when the neighbours were to cross swords in the final of a WC. In the run-up games, India lost to SA and tied with England, while winning the rest of their matches. On the other hand, SL lost to Pakistan, while winning the rest of their games.

The final between India and Sri Lanka, as expected, was going to be a close game with India having home advantage. In fact, with 42,000 spectators “screaming their heads off”, Match Referee Jeff Crowe did not hear SL captain Sangakkara’s call as the coin was tossed by Indian captain Dhoni. The toss had to be repeated, with Sangakkara deciding to bat, after calling correctly.

Though SL wickets kept falling at one end, Mahela Jayawardena made a scintillating, unbeaten innings of 103 runs in 88 balls, for SL to reach a respectable 274/6 at the close. Sangakkara also contributed a fluent 48 runs.

In reply, India lost their opener Virender Sehwag (0) to the second ball of the innings, lbw to Malinga. The Lynchpin of Indian batting, Sachin Tendulkar too, was dismissed in quick succession making India 31/2. Then Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli (35) added 83 runs in 15.3 overs before the latter was dismissed by Dilshan in the 22nd over. Indian captain MS Dhoni, then joined Gambhir and they added 109 runs, an Indian record in a WC final. Gambhir was unfortunately dismissed for a stubborn 97 in 122 balls by Thisara Perera in the 42nd over. India cruised to the remainder of the target of 54 runs for victory, with 10 balls to spare, thanks finally to skipper and Man of the Match, Dhoni 91* in 79 balls, supported by Player of the Tournament, Yuvraj Singh 21*. India won the match by 6 wickets. Dhoni hit Kulasekera for a glorious, match-winning 6 in the 49th over, to seal the issue in dramatic style. This victory was India’s second WC win, after the 1983 tournament, and thus they became the third team to have won the WC more than once, after Australia (1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007) and the WI (1975 and 1979).

SL captain Kumar Sangakkara announced on April 5, that he was resigning as captain of the ODI and Twenty20 sides in the long-term interest of the team. A day after Sangakkara’s announcement, Mahela Jayawardene resigned as vice-captain, and Aravinda de Silva as Chairman of Selectors.

There were other controversial issues that marred this series.

Bangladeshi fans threw stones mistakenly at the WI team bus as they were returning to the hotel, after beating Bangladesh. It was later claimed the aggressors confused the bus had players of the losing Bangladesh team.

Earlier, during a Group stage match between India and England, Ian Bell was given not out despite it seeming an incorrect decision, and Indian skipper Dhoni complained that the existing rule deprived his team of a wicket. The rules were then revised. However, SL skipper Sangakkara then criticised the administrators, quite rightly, to have altered a rule during a tournament, which is tantamount to moving the goalposts.

Man of the Series, Yuvraj Singh became the 1st player to capture a 5-wicket haul with his left-armers and score a 50 in the same WC match. However, in 2011, Yuvraj was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his left lung and underwent chemotherapy treatment in Boston and Indianapolis. In March 2012, he was discharged from the hospital after completing the third and final cycle of chemotherapy and returned to India in April. He made his international comeback in a Twenty20 match in September against NZ, shortly before the 2012 World Twenty20.”

In 2012, the Government of India conferred the Arjuna Award, India’s second highest Sports award, on Yuvraj.

Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.