The 2011 Cricket World Cup was hosted jointly between three countries; India, Sri Lanka and for the first time, Bangladesh.
For this tournament, 14 teams competed in two groups of seven, with the top four qualifying for the quarter-finals. The defending champions Australia came into the tournament looking to make it four triumphs in a row, but were defeated in the quarter-finals by co-hosts India.
The final saw a meeting between the last two tournament runners-up, India and Sri Lanka, played in front of 42,000 spectators at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and around 1 billion viewers in India alone.
The final began in unusual circumstances, as at the toss, India’s M S Dhoni threw the coin and Kumar Sangakkara called what Dhoni thought was tails, but the excessive crowd noise made it difficult to hear what was called.
Both captains, who for the first time in finals were also wicket-keepers, thought they had won the toss and chose to bat before match referee Jeff Crowe intervened, calling for the toss to be redone. The toss was won by Sri Lanka at the second time of asking, who decided to bat.
Sri Lanka lost one of their openers quickly (Tharanga) but recovered with useful innings by Dilshan, Sangakkara, Kulasekara and most importantly, Mahela Jayawardene, who scored 103 not out from 88 balls, which helped propel Sri Lanka to a total of 274-6 from 50 overs, leaving India to achieve the highest run chase in the history of the final in order to win their second title.
India started badly in their reply when opener Virander Sehwag was given out lbw to a ball by Lasith Malinga. His partner, Sachin Tendulkar, who like Sehwag was one of five survivors from the side which lost to Australia in the 2003 Final, was caught by Sangakkara from Malinga’s bowling for 18, to leave India at 31-2 in the seventh over.
Virat Kohli, who would become India’s captain for the 2019 World Cup, then joined Gautam Gambhir at the crease, and the pair put on 83 for the third wicket before Kohli was caught and bowled by Dilshan for 35. This paved the way for the captain M S Dhoni, promoting himself up the order instead of Yuvraj Singh, to play the innings of his life.
Both Gambhir and Dhoni put together a partnership of 109 before Gambhir was bowled by Tissara Perera for 97, leaving India with a requirement of 52 to win from 52 balls. Yuvraj Singh, Player of the Tournament, joined Dhoni at the crease and they combined to win the game for India, Dhoni hitting a six to finish the match to finish on 91 not out as India won the match by six wickets.
India were the first host nation to triumph in the tournament at the tenth attempt
By winning India were the first host nation to triumph in the tournament at the tenth attempt – a surprising statistic given that the inaugural Women’s World Cup, as well as the equivalents in rugby and football, were all won by the hosts first time out.
Jayawardene became the only player to score a century in a final and not end up on the winning side.
India’s triumph was particularly sweet for Tendulkar, who made his ODI debut in December 1989 and finally won a World Cup at the sixth time of asking, and was chaired around the Wankhede Stadium by his teammates.