There has been a plethora of stories of Team India’s infamous 2011 World Cup win after winning the game against Sri Lanka in the final. Yet, over the 12 years since that memorable day, fans have often been served with a ‘never-heard-before’ story. On Tuesday, former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir came up with such, revealing how then Team India skipper MS Dhoni had encouraged him to score a century in the final.
After Sri Lanka set a target of 275 runs with Mahela Jayawardene scoring a century, India lost opener Virender Sehwag in the first over itself. Lasith Malinga struck a few overs later again to dismiss the dangerous Sachin Tendulkar for just 18.
Gambhir then managed to stem the flow of wickets as he found able assistance from young Virat Kohli. The pair made a brilliant partnership for 83 runs for the third wicket before Kohli departed thanks to a brilliant caught and bowled by Tilakaratne Dilshan. Gambhir then stitched another partnership, this time a game-changing one, along with Dhoni, of 109 runs.
En route, Gautam Gambhir scored 97 runs and was dismissed just three runs short of being the first Indian batter to score a hundred in an ODI World Cup final and the eighth overall. He was clean bowled while coming down the track to medium-pacer Thisara Perera. Speaking to Star Sports during the 1st ODI match between India and Sri Lanka in Guwahati, Gambhir revealed how supportive Dhoni was during his knock, encouraging him to notch up the record feat.
Gautam Gambhir recalled, “MS Dhoni was very supportive because he wanted me to get a 100. He always wanted me to get a hundred. He told me between overs as well that ‘get your hundred, take your time and don’t rush into it. I can accelerate if there is any need to’.”
Gambhir was eventually dismissed for 97 runs and Yuvraj Singh later gave the finishing touches before Dhoni scored the winning six over the long-on fence during his unbeaten knock of 91 runs as India won by six wickets to win their second ODI World Cup trophy.