It was the firm belief in the dressing room that the team would win which helped Gautam Gambhir settle his nerves after opener Virender Sehwag got out early during India’s World Cup final against Sri Lanka in 2011, the southpaw said on Sunday. On the occasion of the sixth anniversary of India’s famous World Cup triumph under Mahendra Singh Dhoni on April 2, 2011, Gambhir who scored 97 off 122 deliveries, told Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) official website that sometimes a good start can help one to get settle down in the middle.
“The first ball that Lasith Malinga bowled, I hit it for a boundary. At such times your nerves get settled as well. Whatever nerve was there, it was due to the fact that it was an international game, not because it was a World Cup final,” Gambhir said.
“It was not just about one or two individuals, but it was about everyone in the dressing room who believed that we could win the World Cup. There couldn’t have been a bigger stage set when you are chasing in the World Cup final that also at home. You never know whether you will get that opportunity ever again. You got to cherish the moment,” he added. Gambhir, the KKR skipper, said he was not even ready when Sehwag got out for a duck off only the second ball of India’s innings.
“We were chasing 275 and I was not even ready when Viru (Virender Sehwag) got out LBW (leg before wicket) in the second delivery. I was still padding up. Because the decision was a referral, I got the time to get ready,” the Delhi batsman said.
“The good thing that happened was there was nothing in my mind. If I had to wait for my opportunity, then there would have been a lot of things that would have gone on in my mind since it was a World Cup final and we were chasing 275,” recalled Gambhir, who stitched a match-winning 109-run stand for the fourth wicket with Dhoni.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, member of India’s World Cup-winning squad, said he did not take off his India jersey that night and slept with the winners’ medal on.
“When the presentation ceremony was on, the champagne bottles were opened on the stage itself. I was drenched in champagne. Although I don’t drink, I was still feeling like I was drunk. I didn’t take off my India jersey that night,” Chawla said. “I got everyone’s signature on that and I went to sleep with the T-shirt and the medal on,” mentioned Piyush Chawla, when he recounted celebrations from that “incredible night”.
Big-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan, who remained unbeaten on 30 during India’s five-wicket win over Ireland in the group stages, shared a light moment when he allowed Yuvraj Singh to reach a milestone of being the only player in World Cup history to score a fifty and take five wickets by defending a full toss delivery.
“During the closing stages, Yuvraj was nearing his half-century. I got a full toss and I played it back to the bowler since we only had about eight runs to get and Yuvi needed five runs to complete the milestone of becoming the only player in World Cup history to score a fifty and capture five wickets in the same game.
“I took a single off the next delivery and Yuvi duly completed his fifty by hitting a boundary and a single off successive deliveries,” a smiling Pathan said. “It was probably the only time when I defended a full toss back to the bowler.” India won to final by six wickets to be crowned World champions for the second time after 1983.