In a matter of months, Rohit Sharma is poised to lead India in the highly anticipated ODI World Cup. Renowned for his pivotal contributions that propelled India to the semi-finals in the last two editions of the premier 50-over tournament, Rohit Sharma left an indelible mark in the 2019 World Cup, amassing a record-breaking tally of 5 centuries.
However, the 2011 World Cup remains a poignant chapter for Rohit Sharma. Despite his role in India’s momentous 2007 T20 World Cup victory, the Mumbai-based batsman faced bitter disappointment when he was omitted from the 2011 World Cup squad. Despite being seen as a rising star within the team, he was shockingly excluded from the roster that ultimately secured the World Cup triumph under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.
During a leg of the World Cup Trophy Tour in Barbados, Rohit reminisced about the contrasting emotions he experienced during the 2011 World Cup journey. He transported himself back to those moments, reflecting on the ups and downs of that period.
“In 2003, India performed admirably until the finals. Sachin Tendulkar’s incredible batting left a lasting impression. However, the 2007 World Cup was marked by disappointment; we did not fare well and failed to advance beyond the league stage,” Rohit Sharma recalled during the event in Barbados.
He continued, “The 2011 World Cup holds significant memories. I remember watching every single match and ball from home. It was a mixture of emotions for me. On one hand, I was disappointed not to be part of it. Initially, I had decided not to watch the World Cup due to this disappointment. However, on the other hand, India was performing exceptionally well, especially from the quarter-finals onwards.”
Rohit highlighted the intense quarter-final clash against Australia and the nail-biting semi-final encounter against Pakistan. He emphasized the outstanding contribution of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina during the semi-final, underscoring their pivotal role in the team’s success.
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In the 2011 World Cup, India etched an unforgettable chapter in cricket history by clinching the title on home soil. The journey was punctuated by iconic matches, including the gripping quarter-final against Australia, the tension-filled semi-final against Pakistan, and the monumental final against Sri Lanka.
The quarter-final against Australia on March 24, 2011, remains a vivid memory. Australia set a target of 261, led by Ricky Ponting’s century. India’s middle-order, guided by Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli, masterfully steered the team to a five-wicket victory with 14 balls remaining.
The semi-final against Pakistan, held on March 30, 2011, in Mohali, stands out as another thrilling encounter. Despite posting a modest total of 260, India’s collective bowling effort, fueled by Yuvraj Singh’s pivotal contributions, limited Pakistan to 231. Sachin Tendulkar’s gritty 85 earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match accolade.
The crowning moment arrived with the final against Sri Lanka on April 2, 2011, at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Sri Lanka’s batting effort set a challenging target of 275, buoyed by Mahela Jayawardene’s century. Despite a shaky start, Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni’s resilient partnership guided India to triumph. Dhoni’s iconic six off Nuwan Kulasekara etched an unforgettable conclusion to India’s 28-year quest for the coveted World Cup trophy.