Saturday, April 2, 2011

Indian Team On top of the World

It was a dream that has taken 28 long, occasionally tortured years in fructifying, but when it turned into reality, Dhoni’s India stood on top of the peak, unchallenged and proud as the champions of the world.

Replying to Sri Lanka’s challenging 274 for six, India scored 277 for four, registering a commanding triumph with 10 deliveries to spare. Fittingly, it was captain Dhoni, the Man of the Match with 91 not out, who hit the winning run with a rousing six over long-on.

In a fantastic final that lived up to its billing and produced a contest worthy of the occasion, India breezed past a spirited Sri Lanka in front of more than 32,000 delighted fans. The audience included the Presidents of India and Sri Lanka was treated to a wonderful exhibition of batsmanship from India’s formidable line-up in which Captain Courageous stood out for his sense of occasion.

The crowd didn’t get to see a coveted 100th international century from its favourite son, Sachin Tendulkar, but the disappointment at his cheap dismissal quickly gave way to unbridled joy at a team victory that brought the World Cup back to India for the first time since Kapil Dev’s team had shown the way in 1983.

Mahela Jayawardene’s classy 14th hundred appeared set to extend the jinx of home teams in the World Cup as Sri Lanka made the most of batting first, posting a more than competitive 274 for six. The pressure of a Cup final, and having to bat second, made that total look a lot more, but despite losing Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early, India found their heroes in Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir, who emphasised the depth of Indian batting.

For a nation starved of epochal victories in team sport, this triumph will forever remain special. The team had captured the imagination of the country with its exploits in the quarterfinal and the semifinal. In the final, they showed the same single-mindedness of purpose that has taken them to the top of the Test standings, and even when they were pushed to a corner on a couple of occasions, they bounced back in spectacular fashion.

Dhoni was the Man of the Match and the irrepressible Yuvraj Singh the Player of the Tournament, but this was a triumph for Team India, committed, driven and desperate. That desperation showed in their remarkably high fielding standards at the beginning of the afternoon, and in the calculated, clinical run-chase under lights masterminded by the fire of Gambhir and the ice-cool of Dhoni.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than this,” said Tendulkar, in his sixth and most certainly last World Cup. “Winning the World Cup is the proudest moment of my life. The team stuck together in the rough phases and proved people who doubted our ability wrong. The self-belief has always been there but in the last two years, we have been very consistent. It’s been great honour to be part of this team.”

Tendulkar was the force that kept pushing the team towards the summit. Virat Kohli, one year old when Tendulkar made his international debut, was one of those who carried the great man on his shoulders on a victory lap around the ground, and aptly summed up the mood of the team. “He has carried Indian cricket on his shoulders for 20 years, the least we could do is carry him around the ground,” said the young man who led India to the under-19 World Cup title in 2008.

The fireworks on the field gave way to fireworks of the genuine kind as the clock ticked over to 11.30 pm. Dhoni received the cup from Sharad Pawar, the president of the International Cricket Council, formalising India’s status as the World Cup champions. Kapil Dev and his team are no longer alone!

 1 crore for each player

The BCCI on Saturday announced an award of Rs 1 crore for each of the 15 players of the World Cup winning squad, report agencies. The board also announced an award of Rs 50 lakh for each of the support staff of the Indian team and Rs 25 lakh for each selector.

India Cricket World Cup Final 2011 vs Sri Lanka Celebration

A fortuitous 85 from Sachin Tendulkar was followed by a disciplined bowling effort as India beat Pakistan by 29 runs in a high-stakes semifinal on Wednesday to progress to the World Cup final against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan was dismissed for 231 in the last over chasing 261 to beat the pre-tournament favorites.

The 28,000 fans inside the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium went wild in celebrations, shouting, dancing and waving national flags after India carved out a memorable victory against its traditional rival in the presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries. Pakistan had done well earlier to peg India back to 260-9 despite some sloppy fielding, with left-arm pace bowler Wahab Riaz taking a career-best 5-46.

The victory continued a streak for India, which has beaten Pakistan in all five World Cup head-to-heads dating back to 1992.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 India Celebration

India: Cricket is a game that makes us forget. Politics, pressures, joys, sorrows, hurdles, achievements, glory and failure of our lives are paused and kept in abeyance as the nation unites to live just one reality- the sight of the Indian cricket team playing a World Cup final.
1983 to 2011 is a 28 year time span. Sepia-tinted memories of those over 35 or realistically over 40 have put everything that came in between, including another final at Jo berg in 2003 which India lost, into shade. Somehow, and from somewhere there is a nation’s gut feel that the miracle of 1983, when India became champions at Lords, will become the “I told you” script of 2011, at Wankhede.

The surge of the crowds waving the tricolor rushing from the nursery end of Lords towards the long room, chasing the Indian players, the youngish Kapil Dev and a gangly Mohinder Amarnath with a moustache, with the trophy and a nation united, with its Gross Domestic Happiness soaring.
This world cup has been about happiness. From prince to struggler, from lover to loafer, from divas to doctors, India has supported this team with a foundation of hope. And joy.

If the team of 1983 was a superb unit and not just a collection of individuals, team 2011 is a superb unit but playing and praying for the triumph of one very special individual- Sachin Tendulkar. From the first match against Bangladesh at Dhaka till the last against Pakistan at Mohali, Team India has been desperate to say thank you to Sachin in his last World Cup, to give this man the last critical flicker of glory that needs to adorn a crown that no one in cricket will probably wear.

Indian fans, a collection of temperamental mavericks, have celebrated like mad but held back just a bit lest any untoward reaction to a bad game or a decision tars the overall effort. Right now, there is no existential conflict, only the calm of a monk who knows his prayer beads will do the job.
From 1983 to 2011, Indian cricket has seen many heroes and some villains, but the nation has had just one cricketing God. If cricket was just a bat and ball game where test matches and ODI’s had to be won, the collective heart of the nation wouldn’t have been on surrender mode to this game and to this team. And as we go into the final, to this man yet again.

For Sachin Tendulkar, tomorrow’s final is a script ordained by a greater God. A World Cup final in his hometown. His challenge will be as much to keep the crowds at bay as much as to engage them. Greg Chappel, not one of India’s most loved coaches, in a interview to The Guardian, London, before he finished his assignment said “It is an unnerving experience to drive out of stadiums and see the streets lined with people from all walks of life, particularly those from poorer communities whose only glimpse of the team would be as the bus flashes past, and to see their faces light up. That happens here every day with this team. Sachin Tendulkar, for example, is still the one who is most in demand and the way in which he just copes serenely with it is a lesson to us all. You know he gives what he can but he has learned that there is a limit. So he gives that much and then has to shut himself down.”

Sachin and all of Mahendra Singh Dhonis boys need to shut themselves down today as they play Sri Lanka, an amazing opponent. Shut out even 1983. But 1983 won’t shut them out. The nation will cry with all the passion at its command

DHONI World Cup 2011 Winning Shot

He rushed out of the dressing room with tears in his eyes, before laughing hysterically on being engulfed by his team-mates. Draped in the Indian flag, Sachin Tendulkar rode high on Yusuf Pathan’s shoulders, his exhausted face displaying every single emotion on the happy side of the spectrum, shining with the flash lights of a thousand clicking cameras.

He may have achieved almost everything in the world of cricket, but on Saturday, Tendulkar threw the word ‘almost’ out of his vocabulary, drowning himself in a sea of unprecedented celebrations. As he took a lap of honour around his home ground, 33,000 fans screamed in pure ecstasy, congratulating him for finally achieving his holy grail at his sixth attempt — the coveted World Cup trophy.

The bandwagon passed Tendulkar from shoulder to shoulder, as they would do the shining golden trophy later, during their second lap around the ground. Tendulkar crouched over the broad shoulders of Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina along the way. It didn’t seem a very comfortable ride for Tendulkar, but he was far from complaining. Never before had Tendulkar taken a lap around a stadium as a World Cup winner, let alone his home ground in Mumbai.

India win World Cup 2011

Amitabh Bachchan believes that if he watches a cricket match, India will lose. But he not only sat in front of the TV to see the India-Sri Lanka World Cup final here Saturday, also hit the road in open car to celebrate with others when the home team won.

"Me superstitious about watching match coz' we lose... but after 33 for 2 (sic), don't know why, sat in front of TV till the six from (M.S.) Dhoni," he tweeted after India's six wicket victory at the Wankhede Stadium.

"Diya ghuma ke, ghuma ke, ghuma ke!!," he wrote, very excited.

The 68-year-old says he hadn't previously witnessed the kind of euphoria in the city that followed India's victory.

"No one is saying anything...just screaming!! It is bizarre!!! Roads lanes everywhere jammed with people and screams!! Never before!"

"Anhonee ko hooni kar de, honi ko anhonee ! Ek jagah jab jama hon tinoh - Rajni, Gajni aur Dhoni!!!" he tweeted.

The megastar's excitment was evident from the fact that he was simultaneoulsy updating his Twitter page and his blog.

"We won ! We are the World Champions! Yeeeehhhhh!!," he posted on his blog.

Amitabh, too, joined the jubilant crowds with son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai.

"It is madness outside!! Abhishek, Aishwarya and me on top of the roof of a car, waving tricolor and just screaming!! Hundreds with us."

"We are the world!! Just back from...sitting on top of the roof, waving the tricolor and just screaming!!"

Overwhelmed after India won the World Cup after 28 years, actress Aishwarya Rai is proud of Team India and Sachin Tendulkar.

"Delirious with joy...screamed hoarse...Love India and Love India Team...Full power and God Bless...and much love to Sachin...So So Happy...Team India is the BESSSTT," Aishwarya said in SMS released by her publicist.

India defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium here to lift the World Cup for the second time since 1983.

Meanwhile, Singing legend Lata Mangeshkar says she was sure that India would lift the World Cup Saturday.

"I was confident that India will win the World Cup. I would like to congratulate the whole Indian team and the country for this win," Lata told a news channel.

The 88-year-old, who is a great admirer of Sachin Tendulkar, said: "Sachin toh desh ka Kohinoor hai. (Sachin is the jewel of India)."

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets at the Wankhede Stadium Saturday to replicate their 1983 World Cup triumph.

Lata fasted when India played Pakistan in the semifinal at Mohali Wednesday.

A cricket fan, she was at Lord's watch the historic 1983 encounter in which Kapil's Devils bested the West Indies.

Ind vs SL

Best wishes poured in from people of different walks of life on Friday for the Indian cricket team to lift the World Cup with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi hoping the 'Men in Blue' would emerge victorious.

As the nation waited with bated breath to know the outcome of the World Cup final, a car bonanza awaited the Indian players if they beat Sri Lanka with auto major Hyundai Motor promising its yet to be launched Verna sedan to all 11 players.

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, an avid cricket fan, and Bollywood celebrities also rooted for an Indian win and fervently hoped that batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will score an unprecedented 100th international century on his home ground in Mumbai.

"Keep it up is all I would say. I hope India wins," Singh said when asked about his message to the Indian cricket team.

Singh, who watched the blockbuster India-Pakistan semifinal clash along with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani, however, will not be travelling to Mumbai to watch the final.

"I will be in Assam then," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Padma awards function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

"The whole nation joins in wishing the Indian cricket team," he said, adding that he would be watching the game as and when he gets time.

Sonia Gandhi, who was campaigning in Assam, hoped the Indian team would bag the World Cup.

"I congratulate the Indian team for winning the semifinal at Mohali and wish them the best for the final", Gandhi said. Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi had watched the Mohali match.

"We hope they win and bring the World Cup for us. I wish them all the best", she added.

Scores of youngsters across the country also belted out impromptu songs wishing an Indian victory. Groups like 'Indian Ocean' also came out with special compositions.

81-year-old Lata Mangeshkar said, "I am eager to see India winning the cup and if Sachin scores his 100th century on his home ground in the final, it will be icing on the cake. I will pray for that."

When asked about the possibility of watching the final at Wankhede stadium, she replied in the negative. An avid cricket fan, Lata had enjoyed the 1983 World Cup final from the galleries at Lords.

"I don't go to stadiums anymore. I will watch the match at home and after that I leave for Pune where I have to attend an award ceremony," she said.

She also declined to predict the outcome of the much awaited match.

"Both the teams are equally good. Cricket is a very unpredictable game and you can't guess anything about the outcome. I thought Yuvraj will play a big knock in the semifinal but he got out for a duck. So I don't like to predict anything," Lata said.

Bollywood star Lara Dutta said, the "whole country is rooting for the Indian tam."

"The team has all the ingredients essential for a win in the final," she said

Another star Suneil Shetty said the Indian team is a "perfect combination and it deserved to win."

"We will be extremely delighted to felicitate the Indian cricket team with the all-new Verna much ahead of its market launch in the country," Hyundai Motor India Managing Director and CEO Hang-Woo Park said in a statement.