Mumbai: The date April 2, 2011, will forever be etched in the memory of fans after Mahendra Singh Dhoni powered Team India to their second ICC Cricket World Cup – ending a 28-year wait at the Wankhede Stadium.
Facing Sri Lanka in the finals, it was Dhoni himself who played a captain’s knock as the hosts scripted an incredible turnaround to seal the match by 6 wickets.
Chasing 275 after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat, Lasith Malinga stunned the crowd early on after dismissing openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.
Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli then stitched an 83-run stand to absorb the pressure before the right-hander was dismissed by Tillakaratne Dilshan. In a surprise move, Dhoni then promoted himself to number four, ahead of Yuvraj Singh who was enjoying a stellar campaign.
Orchestrating India’s fightback, Dhoni’s unbeaten knock of 91 ensured a hard-fought victory for India. But the master-stoke decision was not made by coach Gary Kirsten but Sachin Tendulkar himself.
“So, that was also suggested by him (Sachin) and this was the first time he directly passed a message to MS, otherwise it always went through Lala (Sehwag himself) and the result is in front of you,” Sehwag recalled on What the Duck.
The move was a tactical decision to counter the Sri Lankan bowling attack and Tendulkar got it spot on.
“So, finally in between MS Dhoni came in and at that time Virat Kohli and Gautam were batting. So, he told MS, if righty gets out, then go for righty and lefty gets out, go for a lefty. After saying this, he went to the bathroom and then back out. And then Virat Kohli got out and in place of him, MS Dhoni went for the batting, that’s why Yuvraj Singh didn’t play on number 4 despite being in good form,” Sehwag added.