Sunday, April 14, 2024

Dhoni and Gambhir lead India to Cricket World Cup glory!

Immigration News

Ahmad Shah Ghanizada
Ahmad Shah Ghanizada
Ahmadshah Ghanizada is the deputy editor in chief for The Khaama Press Agency who manages and overlooks the English edition.

Twenty-eight years on from the match that transformed the history of world cricket, India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev and his men first lifted at Lord’s in 1983, and this time they did so in their very own back yard. An iron-willed 97 from Gautam Gambhir was matched for intensity by the finest captain’s innings since Ricky Ponting in Johannesburg eight years ago, as MS Dhoni trumped a poetic century from Mahela Jayawardene to pull off the highest run-chase ever achieved in a World Cup final. Against a triumphant backdrop at the Wankhede Stadium, victory was sealed by six wickets with 10 balls to spare, as Dhoni – who had promoted himself to No. 5 to heap extra lashings of responsibility onto his own shoulders – rushed through the gears as the victory target drew nearer. With 15 required from 17 balls, he flicked Sri Lanka’s only true threat, Lasith Malinga, through midwicket for consecutive boundaries, before smoking Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on to finish on 91 not out from 79 balls, and spark the most delirious scenes of celebration ever seen on the subcontinent. However, the final margin did little justice to the tussle that had preceded it. Even the toss ended up being disputed, as Kumar Sangakkara’s initial call was drowned out by the crowd, but it was the ebb and flow of Zaheer Khan’s day that epitomised the fluctuations of a compelling contest. Zaheer opened his account with three consecutive maidens and the scalp of Upul Tharanga in a peerless spell of 5-3-6-1, only to be clobbered for 17 and 18 runs in his ninth and tenth overs, as Sri Lanka monstered 63 runs in the batting Powerplay to post an imposing 274 for 6.  And India’s day got much worse before the team’s fortunes began to inch upwards. Virender Sehwag had hit a boundary from the first ball of six of India’s previous eight innings in the tournament, but this time Malinga’s slingers dealt him a second-ball duck, as he skidded a full delivery into his back pad. And then Sachin Tendulkar, for whom the script had seemingly been written, was drawn into a loose drive by a fast Malinga outswinger, having set the stadium on standby for instant history with 18 sumptuously accumulated runs from his first 12 deliveries. At 31 for 2 in the seventh over, India were struggling to keep their toehold in the contest, and it was all too much for a faithless few in the crowd who turned their backs and set off for home. But Gambhir and Virat Kohli epitomise a generation that does not easily accept defeat, and their third-wicket stand of 83 laid the foundations for an epic turnaround. The prospect of a seam-friendly surface, allied to the grievous loss of Angelo Mathews to a thigh strain, had tempted Sri Lanka into four key changes to the team that had triumphed over New Zealand in Colombo, and with Muttiah Muralitharan lacking bite in the final wicketless appearance of his 19-year career, Malinga alone could not carry the day.   

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