|Team India with ICC World Cup 2011 trophy|
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 six 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.
The highlight of the Lankan innings was Mahela Jayawardene's rollicking 103 as Sri Lanka capitalised on the batting powerplay to post a decent 274 for six.
Electing to bat after winning the toss, Jayawardene used his vast experience to good effect and anchored the Lankan innings together.
The islanders, desperate to regain the coveted cup after nearly 15 years, lost wickets at regular intervals against the Indians, who were spurred on by a vociferous jam-packed crowd.
The Indian bowlers were disciplined in the first half of the innings but conceded as many as 63 runs in the batting powerplay to undo all the good work.
Apart from Jayawardene's 88-ball knock, captain Kumar Sangakkara (48) Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) and Nuwan Kulasekara (32) were the other notable performers.
The Indian innings began on a disastrous note as the destructive Virender Sehwag was dismissed in the very second ball of the innings with paceman Lasith Malinga scalping the prized wicket.
Sehwag was hit on the pads by an incoming delivery by Malinga as he went for a flick. Umpire Aleem Dar ruled him out before he asked for review but television replays showed that the ball would have hit the stumps.
Tendulkar, playing in what probably is his last World Cup game, entertained his home crowd with a couple of delightful boundaries while Gambhir also looked for runs at the other end.
The Indians suffered a huge jolt went Malinga struck again by dismissing the champion batsman as he snicked an away-going delivery and captain Sangakkara latched on to a low catch. A hushed silence descended on the Wankhede stadium as he started his walk back to the pavilion.
Gambhir drove Kulasekara for a boundary in the extra cover region to notch up 4000 ODI runs while Virat Kohli also pulled the bowler to the boundary in the same over.
Gambhir was lucky to get a reprieve in spinner Suraj Randiv's first over when Kulasekara dropped him at the long off region.
The third-wicket pair of Gambhir and Kohli put on 83 runs before Dilshan broke the partnership by taking a brilliant acrobatic return catch.
The out-of-form Dhoni came ahead of Yuvraj to keep the left-right combination going and was immediately given two 'lives' by the Lankans -- first Sangakkara messing up a stumping chance off Muralitharan and then Dilshan dropping a return catch as he collided with non-striker Gambhir.
Dhoni, however, made the most of the Sri Lankan lapses to rediscover his form which had deserted him in the mega event.
Dhoni and Gambhir scored at a brisk pace to keep India in the hunt.
The pair stitched 109 runs for the fourth wicket before Gambhir paid the price for a horrendous stroke, just three runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century.
Gambhir made room to cut the ball but missed it completely to see his stumps dislodged.
Earlier, both the Indian new ball bowlers bowled a tidy line and length and did not allow the Sri Lankan openers to get off to a flying start while the fielding was also sharp.
Pace spearhead Zaheer's first three overs were maidens and that put some pressure on the two Lankan openers who were not being able to capitalise on the powerplay overs.
Dilshan broke the stranglehold by hitting the first boundary of the innings in the 5th over by pulling Sreesanth to the square leg fence.
In the same over, he produced a delightful cut to the point for his second boundary.
Tharanga looked completely out of sorts at the other end as he found it difficult to find the gaps as Zaheer bowled a searching length right through his opening spell.
Zaheer drew first blood in his fourth over by evicting Tharanga with an outgoing delivery and Virender Sehwag holding on to diving catch at first slip much to the delight of a capacity crowd at the stadium. Tharanga scored just two runs off 20 balls.
The Lankans could manage just 31 runs in the first ten overs, their lowest in the tournament. That was largely because of Zaheer's excellent first spell of 5-3-6-1.
Dilshan and Sangakkara put on 43 runs for the second wicket before Harbhajan Singh struck for his team by getting rid of Dilshan (33), who scored 500 runs in the tournament.
Dilshan went for a sweep but the ball hit his gloves and lobbed onto his stumps to trigger off wild celebrations in the galleries.
Sangakkara and Jayawardene then took upon themselves the task of rebuilding the innings and the duo scored at a decent pace to steer the team to a comfortable position.
Yuvraj Singh, who had a dream tournament with both the bat and the ball, was introduced into the attack in the 22nd over but the two experienced batsmen were not really troubled by his left arm spin.
It was Yuvraj who finally broke the 62-run third wicket partnership which was assuming dangerous proportions by dismissing Sangakkara who tried to cut a wide ball outside the off stump but only succeeded in edging the ball to Dhoni behind the stump. His knock of 48 came off 67 balls and contained five boundaries.
It was left to the well-settled Jayawardene to hold the innings together and he found an able ally in Thilan Samaraweera to take the Sri Lankan total close to the 180 mark.
Yuvraj was again instrumental in breaking the fourth- wicket partnership by accounting for Samaraweera. Umpire Simon Taufel turned down the leg before appeal but the Indians went for the referral and television replays showed that the ball would have hit the stumps.
New batsman Chamara Kapugedera did not survive long as he offered a simple catch to Suresh Raina at extra cover off a slower delivery from Zaheer, leaving the visitors in a spot of bother at 182 for five.
Jayawardene and Nuwan Kulasekara then teamed up ensure that Sri Lanka had a competitive total on the board as they went about accumulating runs in the batting powerplay, which was taken in the last five overs.
Teams India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Munaf Patel.
Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (capt), Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Suraj Randiv, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS) and Aleem Dar (PAK)
TV umpire: Ian Gould (ENG)
Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)
Tendulkar declines to speculate on futureMUMBAI. Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday declined to speculate whether he would play in the 2015 World Cup, saying that there was no point in looking "too far ahead".
Asked if this would be his last World Cup and whether he would play in the next edition in 2015 to be held in Australia and New Zealand, Tendulkar replied, "All I will say is that it is a great moment, focus on this, enjoy this rather than looking back or too far ahead".
Tendulkar, who was speaking to reporters at a reception hosted in honour of the victorious team at Raj Bhavan, said "We should leave all that (speculation on his future plans) and enjoy this rare moment".
Asked if he was disappointed at missing a chance to make his 100th international century on Saturday, Tendulkar said that was not relevant. The World Cup win was big and should be savoured.
Tendulkar's comments came in the backdrop of some speculation that he might consider retiring from ODI cricket so as to extend his Test career.
Earlier, speaking in a television programme, World Cup winning captains Imran Khan and Allan Border and legendary Vivian Richards, said a decision on whether to quit the shorter format of the game should be left to Tendulkar.
They noted that he had been playing some of his best cricket in all formats of the game in the last two years.
Dhoni shaves head after India's
World Cup triumphMUMBAI. Having carried the burden of expectations of a billion people, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni lightened his burden by shaving off his head soon after vanquishing Sri Lanka in the World Cup final, to fulfil a pledge to the gods.
The hair will now be offered at the Balaji temple in Tirupati.
Dhoni's new look was first seen during an official photo-op session in front of the iconic Gateway of India, where some members of the Indian cricket team posed for shutterbugs with World Cup trophy.
Incidentally, Dhoni had cut his long locks after India won the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.
Dhoni, Kirsten, Tendulkar make team world beaters
MUMBAI. When Mahendra Singh Dhoni lofted Nuwan Kulasekara for the winning six against Sri Lanka, he stood gazing at the ball as it flew through the Mumbai night sky, soaking up the sweet moment and the reward for four years of hard work and the introduction of a work ethic and team bonding not seen in previous Indian teams.
Four years ago, the team was in ruins after crashing out in the first round of the World Cup in the Caribbean, with fans baying for the cricketers' blood.
But the transition in the next four-year cycle has been outstanding, the picture completed with the six-wicket victory at the Wankhede Stadium, when Dhoni anchored the run chase with his knock of 91.
The three characters who stand out for India in the transformation of the team's approach are Dhoni, low-profile coach Gary Kirsten and the indefatigable Sachin Tendulkar.
If Dhoni has marshaled his resources well, Kirsten has been the facilitator of systems and Tendulkar the biggest inspiration for younger players.
These three have transformed the team into a powerful unit that has done well in different conditions around the world and also come back from the brink to achieve impressive victories.
Tendulkar, who has played with many top players in his 21 years of international cricket, said Saturday he was enjoying playing like never before.
"This team shows a lot of self belief and is extremely consistent," Tendulkar said after the victory. "It is a great honor to be part of this team."
The Indian team, already enjoying top ranking in Test cricket, is now also atop the one-day table.
In the past few years, India has come back undefeated from Test tours of Australia and South Africa, won a Test series in New Zealand as well as one-day series in Australia and Sri Lanka, all considered difficult feats for any team.
But the one event that triggered the cycle was the Twenty20 World Championship victory in South Africa four years ago, which offset the despair of the 2007 World Cup and refreshed the side.
Dhoni gave the first glimpse of his charismatic qualities as a leader of a young team and slowly took over as captain of one-dayers and test matches too.
Dhoni conceded the other day that he does not believe in too much planning and likes to give players freedom as well as responsibilities.
"I don't even attend the bowlers' meeting. I'm happy to let them come up with strategies and keep that out of my mind," he said about the Zaheer Khan-led attack.
But Dhoni, like most others, accepts that South African Kirsten's contribution has been immense, specially in removing the insecurities that have dogged players in the past.
"Everyone knows what he has done for the team. He knows our players very well and is probably the best thing to happen to Indian cricket," Dhoni said of him.
Supporting Kirsten has been South African Paddy Upton, credited with the players' better mental conditioning.
The team management has also thought out of the box and been inspired by the likes of high altitude climber and Arctic explorer Mike Horn.
"Mike is an adventurer and the stories that he tells of his experiences are simply outstanding. He has given us insight into what the human mind can do for us," Dhoni said of him.
India opener Virender Sehwag, like many of his teammates, said the team had been wanting to win the World Cup for Tendulkar and revealed that the team had been aiming for the win for over a year.
"For more than one year, we have been aiming to do this. It has been a team effort with even a 38-yer-old Tendulkar diving on the boundary line today," Sehwag said after the victory.
Team India's brand equity set to scale
new levels post World Cup win
NEW DELHI. With the world under their feet after lifting the World Cup, Dhoni's daredevils are also set to stamp their authority in the endorsement market with their brand equity set to touch to new highs.
While the historic win will push captain Dhoni to a new trajectory in the branding business, others like Yuvraj Singh will also see a rejuvenation, while even youngsters such as Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina are tipped to benefit immensely. As for the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar, the win will re-enforce his already strong brand equity.
"The brand value of team India will grow multi-fold. A lot of brands and companies would want to get associated with the cricket players. The victory has not only benefited the top most popular players, but also the other young cricketers who earlier did not get enough attention," Madison World's Sports Management Company, PMG chief operation officer Melroy D'Souza said.
The endorsement fee charged by players will definitely increase by about 20 per cent or so, but yes the number of brands currently being endorsed by each cricketer will increase, he added.
Expressing similar sentiments, Rhiti Sports Management promoter Arun Pandey, who manages MS Dhoni's account, said: "The positive thing about the World Cup victory is that it will give an opportunity to other players also to create their brand value in the market."
The people's reaction and the celebrations after the victory have proven once again that cricket is the biggest religion in India. Indians are emotional people and corporates know how to benefit from that, he added.
The man to benefit the most is Dhoni, who has now been hailed as the greatest Indian captain after leading the team to number one position in all the three formats of the game.
"Dhoni was already a brand before the world Cup with around 23 brands in his portfolio. But now we want to take the market of brand endorsement to the next level," Pandey said.
The firm is considering different models of partnership with companies, moving beyond a simple fee-based tie-ups for Dhoni.
"This win has made our task very easy. Now we can demand and negotiate better deals from companies," he added.
According to industry sources, Dhoni's value is estimated at around Rs 10 crore per year per brand.
Besides Dhoni, Rhiti Sports Management handles accounts for other cricketers including Harbhajan Singh, RP Singh and Suresh Raina.
"We will have to focus on managing the four cricketers that we currently have with us," Pandey said.
Sachin, Zaheer, Yuvraj make it to
ICC's team of the World Cup
Kumar Sangakkara has been named the captain of this team of 12 that also features three Sri Lankans -- Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who won the man of the final award, however, didn't make it as his performance with the bat wasn't up to the mark before the summit clash.
According to a media release by ICC, the team was chosen by a select group of experts who were given the task of picking a balanced side for sub-continental conditions on the basis of performances in the tournament. Statistics were used but were not the sole basis for selections.
Pakistan has only one representative in captain Shahid Afridi while South Africa's AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn also found a berth in the side.
Shane Watson was the only Australian representative while New Zealand pacer Tim Southee was named the 12th man. No England player featured in the team.
Some of the other names that were discussed included Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram of New Zealand, Jonathan Trott and Graeme Swann of England, Ireland's Kevin O'Brien, Kemar Roach and Kieron Pollard of the West Indies, Imran Tahir of South Africa, Upal Tharanga and Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate.
ICC's team of the World Cup (in batting order)Sachin Tendulkar (IND), Tillakaratne Dilshan (SRI), Kumar Sangakkara (SRI, capt/wkt), Mahela Jayawardene (SRI), AB de Villiers (RSA), Yuvraj Singh (IND), Shane Watson (AUS), Shahid Afridi (PAK), Dale Steyn (RSA), Zaheer Khan (IND), Muttiah Muralitharan (SRI)
12th man: Tim Southee (NZL)