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‘The best feeling was 15-20 minutes before the win’: MS Dhoni reveals about 2011 Cricket World Cup win


Chennai: Former India skipper and legendary cricketer MS Dhoni on Sunday revealed that moment after the triumphant win in the final of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. On Sunday on the occasion of 12th anniversary of the win, Dhoni looked back fondly at India’s renowned World Cup win in 2011, and that iconic six, during a special event in Chennai on Sunday.

In a conversation with host Sanjana Ganesan, and fellow guest and former Australia batter Mike Hussey, Dhoni revealed new stories from the day, including a revelation that the usually unflappable Captain Cool found himself getting emotional when India was on the brink of sealing the chase. ‘The best feeling was 15-20 minutes (before the winning moment)’, said Dhoni as quoted by ICC. ‘We did not need a lot of runs, the partnership was well-placed, there was a lot of dew. And the stadium started to sing Vande Mataram. That atmosphere I feel is very difficult to recreate – maybe in this [upcoming 2023] World Cup, there is a similar scenario, once the stadium, the fans start contributing’.

‘You know, it is a very difficult (atmosphere) one to replicate. But it can only be replicated if the occasion is similar to that (in 2011) and there are like 40, 50 or 60,000 people who are singing’. ‘To me, it was not the winning moment, it was 15-20 minutes ago when emotionally I was very high. And at the same time, I wanted to get done with it. We knew that we will win this from here, and it was very difficult for us to lose. So yes, you know it was more of a sense of satisfaction, job done, let us move on from here’, concluded the former skipper.

That day in 2011 also belonged to India legend Sachin Tendulkar, who finally got his hands on a trophy he had been chasing for over two decades. It made India’s pursuit of their first World Cup title in 28 years all the more daunting. ‘It never gets bigger than that. What I always firmly believe in is keep your eyes on the target, as simple as possible’, said Dhoni. ‘Once you have achieved it, that is the time when you can enjoy it to the fullest. And the moment you start thinking a lot about why you want to win it, you start focusing more on the result. That is the time you start mounting undue pressure on yourself’.

Dhoni revealed there were times when he wondered if Tendulkar would claim that elusive prize. ‘Yes, we all knew that it was paaji’s (Tendulkar) last World Cup and throughout the tournament we had the feeling that we want to do it for him. But at the same time, often you have something going in your mind where you say, God has given him everything. And God keeps one thing away from every individual. Is it that 50-over World Cup that God has decided that he will keep with himself?.’ ‘We said we will try our best, we will make sure that we are giving a 100 per cent when it comes to the cricket matches and we will accept the results. At the end, very happy to be on the winning side, but it took a lot from the full team and the support staff’, concluded Dhoni.

India defeated Sri Lanka in the final by six wickets in the summit clash at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. After batting first, Sri Lanka posted 274/6 in their 50 overs. An unbeaten century from Mahela Jayawardene (103*) and knocks from skipper Kumar Sangakkara (48), Nuwan Kulasekara (32) and Thisara Perera (22*) powered Lanka to a competitive total. Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan took two wickets each and Harbhajan Singh took one wicket. Chasing 275, India lost Sehwag (0) and Tendulkar (18) early. But an 83-run stand between Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli (35) revived India’s chances. Gambhir went on to score 97 in 122 balls and had a 109-run stand for the fourth wicket with skipper MS Dhoni, who ended at an unbeaten 91* off 79 balls. Dhoni and Yuvraj (21*) had an unbeaten 54-run stand for the fifth wicket that guided Team India to their first World Cup title in 28 years.

Notably, India will be hosting the Cricket World Cup 2023 in its entirety, for the first time ever. ICC on Sunday unveiled the logo of the upcoming 2023 World Cup on the same day the Indian team led by MS Dhoni stood victorious over Sri Lanka to lift the ICC trophy in 2011. Six months out from the flagship men’s ODI event, the Cricket World Cup has been developed with the ‘Navarasa’, nine emotions the game’s audiences experience during the high-stakes action. A term in Indian theatre, the ‘Navarasa’ has been reimagined in a cricketing context, using symbols and colour to depict the emotions fans feel while living the drama and excitement of a World Cup match: joy, power, anguish, respect, pride, bravery, glory, wonder and passion, feelings which represent the reactions that a Cricket World Cup evokes.

No doubt about to experience a wave of different feelings in the build-up to the tournament, India captain Rohit Sharma says his side will channel the excitement and expectation as the prepare for their home stand. ‘With six months to go until the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, the excitement is really starting to build. Playing a World Cup on home soil is every player’s dream, even more so as captain and I can’t wait for it to start. The Men’s Cricket World Cup is a very special event for everyone involved in cricket and we will be doing everything over the next few months to prepare as best we can to give us the greatest chance to lift the trophy’, Sharma said as quoted by ICC.

For BCCI Secretary Jay Shah, marking the 2011 victory is important for acknowledging its ‘long-lasting impact’ on the country, though hopes new memories are forged in this year’s event. ‘The BCCI is looking forward to hosting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 and creating a memorable event for fans both in India and around the world. We cannot wait until October to see world-class cricket on show in the pinnacle event of the one-day game and for India to host an incredible spectacle’, said Shah.


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