On this day nine years ago, India won its second 50-over World Cup title by beating their sub-continent rivals Sri Lanka at the historic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. The victory ended a 28-year wait as MS Dhoni became the second Indian captain after Kapil Dev, to lead India to the pinnacle of ODI cricket. Dhoni also received the Man of the Match award for playing a majestic knock of 91 that helped the hosts scale the chase of 275.
The architects of the triumph were aplenty. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, and Zaheer Khan deserve credit for their stellar showing throughout the edition. But a few names, whose contributions at different stages were extremely crucial, went marginally missing. Those handfuls have earned the right as much as the players mentioned above to get recognition.
We take a look at three unsung heroes of India’s 2011 World Cup campaign:
Gautam Gambhir’s kept chipping in with vital half-centuries in most of the games before playing the most significant knock of his career. The innings of 97 at the grandest stage of them of all came after the loss of two openers cheaply just after five overs. Gambhir shared a stand of 83 and 109 with Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni en route to guiding the men in blue to a successful chase.
But his 122-ball knock often gets overshadowed due to Dhoni’s timely rise to the occasion as the captain of the team. As a matter of fact, the southpaw’s frustration is justified to an extent since fans glorify the skipper’s knock and his winning six much more than Gambhir’s 97. With four fifties in his 393 runs in the competition, he was also India’s second-highest run-getter.