It was one of those moments that no Indian cricket fan is ever likely to forget — the six over wide long on, the full swing of the bat, the bat-twirl after it sailed into the night sky at the Wankhede Stadium, the reaction of Gary Kirsten in the dug out, the happiest one has seen Sachin Tendulkar on the cricket field, the hug between Yuvraj Singh and the man who had just hit that six, MS Dhoni.
On April 2, 2011, Indian cricket witnessed the end of a 28-year wait to lift the World Cup for the second time.
India defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final in Mumbai to regain the trophy last won in 1983 under Kapil Dev.
Chasing 275 for a historic win, the Indians held their nerves as they rode on Gautam Gambhir’s 97 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s unbeaten 91 to overhaul the target with 10 balls to spare and send the cricket-crazy nation into a frenzy.
The vociferous, jam-packed crowd at the Wankhede stadium erupted in wild celebrations as Dhoni hit the winning runs to give India their biggest cricketing moment and crown themselves the ODI world champions, in addition to being the number one Test team.
The World Cup title triumph, coming as it did after more than two decades, was doubly special for Sachin Tendulkar since it was the only silverware missing from his collection. It was also a fitting farewell to coach Gary Kirsten, for whom it was the last day in office as the Indian coach.
The players, many of them with tears in their eyes, rushed to the ground to hug each other as Dhoni finished it off in style by hitting a six, as fire crackers lit up the evening sky to mark the moment.
Here’s a look back at a selection of the best quotes regarding India’s World Cup triumph:
“The pressure you go through is a lot; we felt it throughout the tournament,” he said before describing what it was like inside the Indian team’s bubble. “If you ask the players, they were not eating well because of anxiety. Not pressure, but anxiety. There would be food in front of you but you wouldn’t feel like eating it.”— Dhoni recounts the pressure during the tournament
“I took quite a few decisions tonight, if we hadn’t won I would have been asked quite a few questions: Why no Ashwin, why Sreesanth, why no Yuvraj, why did I bat ahead?! That pushed me and motivated to do well”— Dhoni at the post-match presentation
More from Dhoni in the press conference here:
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than this. Winning the World Cup is the proudest moment of my life. Thanks to my team-mates. Without them, nothing would have happened. I couldn’t control my tears of joy.”— In the immediate aftermath of the final
“As a young boy I dreamt of winning this trophy; that’s where it all started. This is by far the best moment and it’s the one I’ve been waiting for 24 years. There have been heart-breaking losses; in past campaigns we lost in the semi-finals and finals. I never gave up because this was my dream and now the team has managed to win this cup for the nation.”— A day after the win, Tendulkar tells ICC
“This goes out to all the people of India. This is my first World Cup; I can’t ask for more. Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; It was time we carried him. Chak de India!”— Kohli's unforgettable lines
“I don’t think it’s going to sink for the rest of our lives. Such a special moment for all of us in the team. I am feeling on top of the world right now having contributed to the team to be World Champions. I was missing my dad a lot. I am part of the history books now. I would like to dedicate this to him, my family, coaches and of course to my idol Sachin Tendulkar.”— Kohli to ESPNStar.com
More from Kohli here:
“This is unbelievable. The Under-19 World Cup, then the World Twenty20 but this is the most special. For Sachin, for everyone else.”
“Very proud of everyone, especially Mahela who rose up to the occasion and put up a great hundred. When you look at this Indian team anything less than 350 looks less. They deserved this title, the way they played in front of a great crowd.”
“I would swap that century any day for a championship medal. We fought well but it wasn’t enough. We had to take wickets to control this Indian batting line-up. We got a couple of early wickets but we couldn’t get anything going after that.
We didn’t have the penetration that we normally do, and they batted very well.”— Jayawardene told the ICC
“All credit goes to Sachin Tendulkar. We played for him. Beating Australia and Pakistan and now this, its a dream come true.”
“There can’t be any doubt about it. Dhoni is the greatest captain of our country. His record is proof of that. Under Dhoni, India have won the Twenty20 World Cup and the Asia Cup. Under him, India have become the No. 1 ranked side in Test cricket. And now, we have won the World Cup. Obviously, he is the greatest ever captain to lead India.”— Ganguly to Mid-Day