You might not remember the final in its entirety. There was drama from the start.
Before the start, there was a bit of confusion. For a moment, it seemed that India had won the toss. “We’ll bat first,” MS Dhoni told Ravi Shastri. But wait, Kumar Sangakkara had won the toss, not Dhoni. Sangakkara had called heads. Dhoni thought it was tails. The match referee, Jeff Crowe didn’t hear it. The toss had to be redone. Sangakkara called heads again, heads it was, Sri Lanka batted first.
You might not remember who started the proceedings for India. Zaheer Khan. He bowled the first over: a maiden. He bowled the third over: a maiden. He bowled the fifth over: a maiden again. What a way to start things in a World Cup final!
In his previous World Cup final, when he was eight years younger and considerably quicker, he’d bowled two no-balls, two wides and given away 15 runs away in the first over. But Zaheer 2.0 had given the perfect start for India.
You might not remember that Sreesanth played the final after having just played one match before that in the tournament. But how can you not? India has won a World Cup every time Sreesanth was in the final. Don’t you have a friend who hasn’t shared this important piece of stat on Indian cricket?
You might not remember that, at one point in the match, you thought that this final’s going to be awfully one-sided. Sri Lanka lost Dilshan in the 17th over and they were 34 away from 100. Sangakkara departed after 11 overs with the scoreboard reading 122. The Indians were constricting the Islanders.
You might not remember how much Mahela Jayawardene scored exactly, 103 off 88 balls. But that innings of pristine batsmanship under immense pressure, you might remember. Jayawardene had beautifully revived Sri Lanka’s chances.
You might not remember the noise when Lasith Malinga got rid of Virender Sehwag in the second ball. There was no noise. Except of the Sri Lankans, who were erupting in joy. But all was not over. One man, that man, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, was still standing on his home ground.
You might not remember the swell of expectations when Sachin stroked two beautiful fours off Nuwan Kulasekara. A World Cup winning hundred – his 100th in international cricket – on his home ground, with millions watching. You might not remember how much you wished for it.
You might not... or, you’d rather not want to remember his departure. There was silence. It was disconcerting. Amidst that, walked in a man, who now looks like he’ll break most of Sachin’s Himalayan records. At that time, you perhaps didn’t think much about Virat Kohli. At that time, you failed to notice that this moment would be considered in the future as a metaphoric change of guard. Sachin walked out, Virat walked in.
But you perhaps forgot how he walked in, which guard he took, how much runs he made. You have to go to YouTube, you need to check Cricinfo.
You might not remember instantly the manner of Gautam Gambhir’s toil. Without that, India would have sunk. The World Cup would have been lost. This article wouldn’t have been written. That innings shouldn’t have ended, that innings should have taken India to triumph.
But the innings that did, you now know, was the captain’s. You might not, however, remember that you weren’t entirely sure of his self-promotion in the batting order, considering the mediocre tournament he was having with the bat.
You might not remember his careful start. You might remember how he slowly took India to a safe zone. You might not remember how much runs he scored with Gambhir and Yuvraj. You might not remember how many fours he hit. You might not remember how many sixes he hit.
But you remember one six he hit. The six that ended it all. The six that began a national celebration. The six that testified the legend of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The six that fulfilled the biggest dream of Tendulkar. That six. That you remember. That you don’t need to watch on YouTube, that you don’t have to read about. That is something you can’t forget.
And, if you’d watched that sight on television in India, in your mind will resonate the booming words of Ravi Shastri: “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years.”