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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Saturday, 2 April 2011 18:24 UK

India power past Sri Lanka to Cricket World Cup triumph

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai:
India 277-4 beat Sri Lanka 274-6 by six wickets
Match scorecard

India celebrate winning the Cricket World Cup

Highlights - India record historic World Cup win

By Sam Sheringham

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in a pulsating final to deliver World Cup glory to their cricket-mad population for the first time since 1983.

Sri Lanka smashed 91 from their last 10 overs to post 274-6 in Mumbai, with Mahela Jayawardene making a superb 103.

India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early on but Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Dhoni rebuilt the innings.

Gambhir was out for 97, but captain Dhoni's brilliant unbeaten 91 led India to a famous win with 10 balls to spare.

The skipper, struggling for form throughout the tournament, played the innings of his life and sealed the victory with a phenomenal straight six that sailed high into the stands, providing the catalyst for euphoric celebrations in the Wankhede Stadium.

Tendulkar's early dismissal for 18 ensured there was to be no fairytale 100th international century for Mumbai's favourite son.

Geoff Boycott
It was a very competitive total in the end, but India's batting came through. Gambhir took a risk or two, he should have been caught, but he settled down when Dhoni came in - and Dhoni batted magnificently. They call him Mr Cool here, he never flaps and his temperament stood him in good stead. It's a good result for 50-over cricket

Former England batsman Geoff Boycott on Test Match Special

But wonderful innings from Gambhir and Dhoni ensured the "Little Master" can finally get his hands on the sport's ultimate prize at the sixth attempt as India became the first host nation to win the tournament, while Jayawardene became the first player to score a hundred in the final and finish on the losing side.

Meanwhile, it was a sad end to the incredible career of Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who, having battled injuries throughout the event, failed to take a wicket in his last international match.

And when the Sri Lankan inquest begins, they will surely regret the decision to make four changes for the final, only one of which was enforced.

With off-spinner Ajantha Mendis dropped, replacement bowlers Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara and Suraj Randiv managed only one wicket between them from 26.2 overs.

Chasing a total 46 runs higher than the previous best under lights at the venue, prolific openers Sehwag and Tendulkar stepped out to a cacophony of noise.

But it only took two balls for the mood inside the stadium to be transformed as Sehwag failed to get his bat on a full straight delivery from Lasith Malinga and was trapped in front of his stumps.

Tendulkar, seemingly carrying the hopes of a billion Indians on his shoulders, soon had the crowd in a frenzy with two sumptuous boundaries off Kulasekara, but hopes of him reaching the 100 century landmark in the final were to be sadly dashed.

Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene's masterly hundred was his third in World Cups

Kumar Sangakkara's decision to give Malinga a fourth over with the new ball proved a masterstroke as the paceman tempted Tendulkar into a swipe outside off stump and a thick edge was taken low by the captain himself behind the stumps.

While Malinga wheeled away in celebration with his team-mates in pursuit, a stunned silence fell over the Wankhede.

Gambhir and Virat Kohli would have been forgiven for going into their shell but the duo remained positive in seeing India to 105-2 off 20 overs.

Their partnership had reached 83 when Kohli got a leading edge to a Tillakaratne Dilshan delivery and was brilliantly caught one-handed by the bowler for 35.

Dhoni, whose previous highest score at the tournament was 34, took the brave decision to promote himself up the batting order above Yuvraj Singh and after a watchful start he started to find his range on his favoured off side.

The right-hander's partnership with the left-handed Gambhir kept the Sri Lanka bowlers guessing and gradually the duo chipped away at the total.

PAST WORLD CUP WINNERS
1975: West Indies
1979: West Indies
1983: India
1987: Australia
1992: Pakistan
1996: Sri Lanka
1999: Australia
2003: Australia
2007: Australia

After taking the score past 200, Dhoni required treatment for a side strain but the skipper did not lose any focus as he leant back and chopped Muralitharan through the off side for four.

Without ever batting with the fluency of Jayawardene, Gambhir worked his way to within three of a famous hundred before he was clean bowled by Perera to give Sri Lanka hope.

With the score on 241-4, Sri Lanka thought they had run out Dhoni when Kapugadera's throw hit the stumps but with replays inconclusive, the India skipper was reprieved.

After 46 overs, Sangakkara made the surprise decision to throw the ball to Kulasekara instead of the clearly disgruntled Muralitharan and the tactic back-fired as India helped themselves to 11 runs.

The same number followed from Malinga's next over to put India on the brink of victory, before Yuvraj Singh took a single to give Dhoni the strike with four more runs needed.

The wicketkeeper-batsman's stunning final blow provided a fitting end to a memorable final.

Earlier, the coin toss was shrouded in confusion as the noise of the crowd rendered Sangakkara's call inaudible to match referee Jeff Crowe. He ordered a re-toss, which was won by the Sri Lanka captain, who opted to bat to the obvious frustration of his opposite number Dhoni.

India captain MS Dhoni

World Cup has been target for a long time - Dhoni

When the action began, India settled the faster with seamer Zaheer Khan getting straight into rhythm.

Suffocating Upul Tharanga with a tight off stump line, he bowled three consecutive maidens before having the batsman caught at slip for two off a perfect outswinger.

Dilshan took his tournament run haul to exactly 500 before he was dismissed by Harbhajan Singh in the spinner's second over. The batsman attempted a sweep but the ball struck his arm and thigh pad before rebounding agonisingly on to his stumps.

Veteran pair Sangakkara and Jayawardene got the innings back on track with a partnership of 62 as Sri Lanka reached 122-2 in the 28th over.

But their stand was broken by Yuvraj as Sangakkara - two short of his half-century - attempted a square cut to a shorter ball and got a faint edge through to Dhoni.

Jayawardene, who reached fifty from 49 balls, produced an innings of impeccable touch and timing, scoring heavily in the third man area and keeping his score moving at a run a ball to drag his team towards a competitive total.

With Sreesanth leaking runs, Dhoni was forced to use part-time bowlers Tendulkar and Kohli before recalling Zaheer to the attack.

But it was the irrepressible Yuvraj who struck the next blow. Thilan Samaraweera got too far across his stumps attempting to sweep and was struck on the thigh. Simon Taufel's not out decision was overturned on review, with replays showing the ball would have struck middle stump.

Zaheer could not be kept out of the limelight for long and a superb slower ball totally deceived Chamara Kapugedera, who could only prod the ball tamely to Suresh Raina at mid-off.

At 183-5 going into the last 10 overs, India were well on top but with Jayawardene still at the crease there was every chance of Sri Lanka posting a competitive total.

With Kulasekara (32 off 30 balls) scoring quickly at the other end, the former skipper began to take calculated risks, accelerating through the 80s and 90s and bringing up his hundred off 84 balls during the batting powerplay with consecutive boundaries off Zaheer.

Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara

Sangakkara gracious in defeat

Kulasekara's run out brought Perera to the crease with two overs remaining, and the all-rounder did exactly what was needed, swinging from the hip to smash 22 off nine deliveries, including 16 off the last four balls of the innings.

But although the late flurry propelled Sri Lanka to a healthy total, Gambhir and Dhoni ensured it was India who joined Australia and the West Indies as the only sides to win the World Cup more than once.

Join Jonathan Agnew and Geoffrey Boycott for the TMS podcast



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see also
Indians dedicate win to Tendulkar
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Agnew on the World Cup
03 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Dilshan's World Cup column
03 Apr 11 |  Sri Lanka
India v Sri Lanka as it happened
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Indian press revel in Cup victory
03 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Joy and desolation after cricket final
02 Apr 11 |  South Asia
Cricket World Cup final in photos
02 Apr 11 |  Cricket
World Cup: Team of the tournament
01 Apr 11 |  Cricket
Myth or man?
01 Apr 11 |  India
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket


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