By SA News
By Kemantha Govender
Twenty-eight years later and India has done it again – winning the ICC Cricket World Cup after defeating Sri Lanka in Mumbai.
It does not get better for the Indians, winning at home by six wickets and being led to victory with a spectacular innings from their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The gripping final also showcased a marvellous contribution from Mahela Jayawardene who made 103 not out off 88 balls for Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat and posted a challenging 274-6 in their 50 overs.
Confusion during the toss meant it had to be performed twice. Match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara’s call when Dhoni tossed the coin.
The Wankhede stadium hosted not only cricket crazed fans but politicians, government leaders and Bollywood stars. Indian President Pratibha Patil and Sri Lanka’s Head of State Mahinda Rajapakse were both in attendance.
Sri Lanka lost their first wicket in the sixth over when Upal Tharanga was caught by Virender Sehwag in the slips off Zaheer Khan’s bowling.
Zaheer, who was impressive throughout the tournament, opened with three successive maidens.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, just two runs short of his 50, kept the scorecard ticking with Tillakaratne Dilshan (33).
Dilshan had to return to the change room after being bowled by Harbhajan Singh.
Jayawardene hit his 14th ODI century. He put on 62 for the third wicket with Sangakkara and 57 for the fourth with Thilan Samaraweera (21).
Dhoni doing everything right in the final brilliantly ran out Nuwan Kulasekara for 32.
Thisara Perera (22 off nine) helped his side smash 63 runs in the last five overs of power-play.
India, meanwhile, got off to a shaky start finding themselves 31-2. The crowd was silenced when batting genius Sachin Tendulkar left the field after only making 18 runs. Tendulkar has appeared in six World Cups for India since 1992.
Lasith Malinga was responsible for giving the Indians an early scare, dismissing Virender Sehwag (0) in with his second ball and Tendulkar in his fourth over.
Gautam Gambhir was just what India needed to get back on track, he made 97 runs and was bowled out by Thisara Perera in the 42nd over.
Having a bit of both good and bad luck, Gambhir was dropped on 30 and escaped a run-out chance on 49.
Man of the tournament Yuvraj Singh (21) stayed with his captain until Dhoni blasted Kulasekara for the winning six and India erupted with joy and tears. Dhoni reached the 6000 run mark in this match.
Sri Lanka also said goodbye to Muttiah Muralitharan, a bowling great, who played his last game for his country. He ends his career with a record 800 Test and 534 one-day wickets.
Sri Lanka appeared in the 2007 World Cup final and lost to Australia, they did however win the tournament in 1996 in Lahore with Arjuna Ranatunga serving as captain.