April 3, 2011

Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka - they all surrendered to the mighty Men In Blue. As I type this, BCCI announces an award of 1 crore for each player. It has been a memorable tournament for the entire nation and it has been sheer pleasure bringing the World Cup to you. I hope you enjoyed the coverage as much as we did bringing it to you. This is Ajith bidding good bye for one last time in this World Cup. Heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues - Srivathsa, Sid V, Pradeep, Karthik, Ganesh, Kiran, Realtime Thiru and the entire technical team for making this a success. As I always do, I put a full stop by saying, 'Keep your frown upside down'. The party will go on for days to come. Next up is the IPL, we'll see ya then.
Presentation ceremony:

MS Dhoni will collect the World Cup trophy from Mr Sharad Pawar.. Jubilant scenes, champagnes all around, fireworks surround, Mumbai erupts and so, the entire nation. Party will be never ending.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: There were quite a few decisions that I took, two out of them were - Why Ashwin? Why 'me' ahead of Yuvraj who is in terrific form? Each and every individual played his part, it has been a memorable month or two. My job was to stay down the order and let the youngsters play well. Against Sri Lanka, I thought, they have a couple of good spinners and it is time for me to go up the order. The team management backed me, the seniors backed me and I got the runs that I needed. Gauti and Kohli played really well after losing Sachin and Sehwag early. I would have loved to see Gauti score his hundred, but he has himself to blame.
The Indian team now walks up to collect their medallions. Sehwag wants to be the opener here as well. Runs up to be the first one to collect it. Loud cheers for everyone, as expected. The noise levels reached the unattained levels when Sachin Tendulkar's name was called up. The noise doesn't seem to end.
Yuvraj Singh: This is unbelievable, for the entire nation, the team and for Sachin Tendulkar. I want to dedicate this award to my gurujis and my family. We were chasing 359 in the previous World Cup and there was more pressure. But today, Gauti and Dhoni batted exceptionally well, took the pressure away and batted like champions. It was my job to come and bowl 10 overs every time I got a chance to bowl. Tonight's gonna be a good night! Thank you Team India, thank you the support staff.
Clive Lloyd gives the Man of the Tournament award to 'Yuvraj Singh' for scoring 362 runs and for taking 15 wickets. If there is one person who played his part in almost every game, it is Yuvraj Singh. He is a proud man.
MS Dhoni is the Man of the Match for an excellent knock of 91 under pressure.
Kumar Sangakkara: Very proud of everyone, especially Jayawardene but looking at the Indian team, with the kind of batsmen they have, anything under 350 would look very less. The Indians have been the deserved winners, they thoroughly deserve the tag 'favorites'. Congratulations India, you were the better side. The only way to stop the Indians was to take wickets quickly, they played in front of a fantastic crowd and Gambhir played exceptionally well. Dhoni stepped up when it mattered the most.
The big presentation: Ravi Shastri is the man doing the honors. The top men of the ICC - Sharad Pawar and Haroon Lorgat, the top officials of the Sri Lankan and the Bangladesh board along with Clive Lloyd are the honorable guests. The umpires and the match officials are being invited to accept their medallions. The Sri Lankan team, who have been outstanding in this World Cup, come in alphabetical order to collect their mementos. Jayawardene and Malinga get the loudest of cheers, next to Muttiah Muralitharan though.`My heart goes out to them for coming second best.
Sehwag: We discussed last year in a match at Dambulla that we would be playing the World Cup final. The quarter-finals were hard and the way Gautam, Sachin and Yuvraj batted was fantastic. The batsmen and the bowlers gave everything to the team.
Sachin, Yuvraj, Zaheer: Winning the World Cup is the ultimate thing and I could not have askd for anything more. Without such fabulous performances, this was not possible. I could not control my tears. It is a dream come true for us and we wanted this badly. It was for a special man standing next to me(Sachin). It is also for Yuvraj. It is a dream come true and we did it for Sachin. The support staff worked really hard and Mike Horm worked hard on our mental side. The team stuck together and we coped well under pressure. We proved most people wrong who doubted our ability. The last couple of years, we have been consistent and it is a great honor. Special thanks to Gary and Paddy Upton.
Harbhajan & Kohli: It means a lot to me. I was part of three world cups and this is a big thing. This is for my nation. It is a wonderful feeling and this is for all the people who supported us. He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years on his shoulders and it is about time that we carried him on our shoulders. Without the support of the people, we would have not done it. We would like to thank all the Indians and this cup belongs to us.
Gambhir: It has not sunk in yet. It is yet to sink in. The 2007 edition was a nightmare and we had to do it for Sachin. It is a dream come true.
Rajini mania: Someone said cheekily that if Rajinikanth - the Southern acting legend is in the audience - then nothing go wrong and nothing has. Tendulkar+Rajinikanth - what a combination. Unstoppable force+the immovable object. Rajini is sitting next to Neeta Ambani in the crowd along with his two daughters and are enjoying this win. Rajini and his daughters are wearing Team India Jerseys.
Reactions after the last hit: Dhoni swung that last hit and followed the path of the ball as it soared into the Mumbai night sky. He was watching it like a hawk. Then the camera focussed on Gary, who leant back, closed his eyes and then said a silent prayer. Funnily the official broadcasters have shown the winning hit a good 17 minutes after it was scored. Yuvraj went up to Dhoni and hugged him at full blast. He roared and roared, even as the crowd did too.
What a show by MS and he was not allowed to get down as well as the Indian players came in swarms to crowd him. Finally Sachin emerged out after hiding somewhere. Then the crowd went mad. Now Gary Kirsten - the much liked and immensely low profile guy is being hoisted on Raina and Kohli's shoulders as the crowd shout Gary Gary. He can lay claim to being the most unsung, yet one of the best coaches of the Indian side of all time. World No.1 in tests and now a World Cup win - which was his last game incharge - would be the icing on the cake. Salute and respect to the man from Cape Town.
Post celebratory scenes: Lots of the Indian players are in tears. Gary Kirsten is hugged by Yuvi and Sachin is being carried on his shoulders by Kohli and Yusuf. He is being carried all around the ground. In front of his home crowd. What if he does not get his 100th ton, his dream of a WC medal has been fulfilled. A nation will rejoice for that. What a performer he has been. Amazing scenes. Two men - MS and Viru are so cool. An Indian flag is held by SRT as he is being given a lap of honor by his team-mates. Finally he is brought down. As soon as the winning hit was hit, huge roars, shouts and what not back here. That moment will forever be remembered in memory as long as an Indian citizen lives.
Stop the Press!! MS Dhoni's India are the Champions of the 2011 World Cup.
Champion teams are born under pressure: For the 22 men who took the field today, it was probably the biggest moment of their lives, and it was all about stepping up and making it count. At the start of the game Zaheer did just that. At the end of his first spell, his bowling figures read: 5-3-6-1. The Indian bowlers were on the money and didn't let the Lankans blaze away. A fine innings from Sangakkara and a masterclass from Jayawardene showed the world that it takes a lot of courage, temperament and skill to deliver when it matters the most. A good batting powerplay helped them post a mammoth score of 274. Mind you, chasing 275 in the final of a World Cup in front of 40,000 supporters and against a strong bowling attack was an easy task by no means.
The sorry tale of the openers: India lost Sehwag very early in the run chase, and Sachin didn't last long either. The scorecard read 31/2 in the 7th over and it was Gambhir and Kohli who had to do the rebuilding. Run rate was never a problem for the Indians as the duo, who are also terrific runners between the wickets, pinched the ones and twos without any hassles. It required the magic arm of Dilshan to remove a well set Kohli and the Indians were in a spot of bother at 114/3.

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