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2 April 2011 -When the 28 year wait ended

India is a cricket crazy country. Cricket is not just a game, it's an emotion for Indians. It's a country where a billion people pray for the best of the eleven guys who represent the nation. The world cup victory of 1983 led by Kapil Dev didn't just break the West Indian domination, it made cricket the biggest religion in the country, with the devotees of the game increasing day by day. Since then, every time India played the grandest event of cricket, The World cup, Indians prayed for the title to come back to India. After a lot of effort, the prayers of these devotees turned into reality as MS Dhoni hit a six to long ending the 28-year-long wait for India to lift the World Cup title.

In a contrasting way, the usually aggressive Gautam Gambhir played a calm and composed inning of 97 crucial runs, and the usually calm MS Dhoni played a quickfire inning of 91 off 79 deliveries to make the dream of India a reality. Billions rejoiced the moment, and the entire cricketing fraternity stood up in respect of the God of cricket when he was lifted by his teammates and his very own Wankhede was lit up by the scenes happening on the cricket ground.

With it, India became the first host team to win the title. But the wait was too long. The 28 years were full of ups and downs for Indian cricket. Post the heroics of Kapil Dev and his team who brought glory to the country, there had been no instances of Indians getting to relive the moment again. India came very close in 1996 and 2003, but the 1996 world cup ended with a tragedy and the 2003 final which was supposed to be the best night for the players turned out to be a nightmare.

But the Indian team fought. Leaving the forgettable 2007 World cup behind, India did the unthinkable in the 2007 T20 world cup by winning the inaugural edition and then looked all set to bounce back strongly to show they are the best team. MS Dhoni did what the previous captains could not do despite trying so harder. The Ranchi boy led the balanced Indian side to bring glory to the cricket crazy nation again.

The most special thing about the world cup was the collective team effort that led the team to achieve this feat. With the God of cricket who scored more than 500 runs in the tournament, Sehwag starting innings with a boundary, Sreesanth aggressively bowling the opponents, Zaheer reverses swinging the ball in crucial times, Ashwin scalping Waston with his carrom ball, Gambhir shifting his position from opener to one down and yet scoring the crucial runs for the team, Bhajji spinning magic on the field, and Yuvraj Singh playing his heart out to fight all the odds and inspiring generations, the team looked the perfectly balanced team who was backed by one another.

The confidence of the team was sky-high. Barring the loss against the Protea team and the tie against England, India didn't lose any other game. In the quarter-finals, they knocked out the defending champions and the earlier three consecutive title winners Australia in a thriller in Ahmedabad. In the high voltage semi-final clash, they defeated the arch-rivals Pakistan in Mohali. And in the final, they chased down a good total of 275 runs against Sri Lanka thereby clinching the title.

This world cup victory was a very emotional sight for Indian fans due to numerous reasons. The major reason was that it was probably the last world cup of the man who ruled the world cricket and who made cricket famous-Sachin Tendulkar. They had seen him lift the team on numerous occasions and wanted him to lift a well-deserved trophy, which they were fortunate to witness. Another major reason was the star performer of the tournament, Yuvraj Singh's courageous act of giving 100% to the team despite suffering from Cancer was something that Indians has no clue about during the tournament but got to know later.

Authored By:- Ashwin Jangam ( Cricket Analyst, Host and Entertainer)


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