Bangalore, Apr 2: It is exactly one year today, since India won the World Cup 2011. It was on April 2, 2011 that MS Dhoni sealed the game's ultimate prize in favour of India with a huge six at the Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.
The image of Dhoni winning the World Cup for India with a six will forever be etched in the memory of every Indian fan. The country's wait for 28 years had ended on that night, resulting in celebrations across Mumbai and rest of India.
In a way it was Yuvraj Singh's tournament for India. Yuvraj's all-round performance (362 runs, 15 wickets), which won him the Man-of-the-series award, revealed at the end of the tournament that he was playing the World Cup for a 'very special person' and that was none other than Sachin Tendulkar.
In the run-up to the tournament, most of the players were keen to win the World Cup for Tendulkar, who was without that medal after having played five tournaments before 2011. And finally, he had it one on April 2.
On a hot and humid day in Mumbai, on April 2, people queued up in thousands well before the match got under way at 2.30 PM IST.
It was a high security zone around the stadium and also inside. With only a capacity of 33,000, many were left disappointed failing to secure a ticket to the stadium.
Fans and journalists were frisked at multiple check points and spectators, including the media men, were not even allowed to take coins into the stadium. So tight was the security. The reason behind not letting coins into the stadium was those could be thrown onto the field in case of any untoward incident.
Once it was time for the coin toss, World Cup final got off to a controversial start. The toss had to be conducted twice. This will go down as the only time a toss was held two times.
It later emerged that match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand could not hear what Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara's call was, as the crowd was too noisy.
Sangakkara claimed he had won the toss at the first instance but as luck would have it, it went in his favour again.
India took to the field and what an exceptional bowling and fielding start it was. Zaheer Khan, who sprayed the ball all round in his first over of the 2003 World Cup final against Australia, buried those memories with a maiden-over start.
Zaheer set the tone for India with three successive maidens. His opening burst read 5-3-6-1. Sri Lanka openers were strangled for runs.
It was only towards the middle and end of the innings that Sri Lanka accelerated and got to 274/6. Mahela Jayawardene crafted one of the best hundreds in a World Cup final. He was unbeaten on 103. Left-hander Thisara Perera played a cameo of 22 not out off 9 balls with 3 fours and a six.
If India had to win that final, they had to rewrite history. Never has been 275 chased by any team in the title decider. But that day it was time for India to achieve a first and they did it.
Virender Sehwag was nailed early by Lasith Maliga for a duck and Tendulkar disappointed his home fans for just 18. A nervous beginning for the hosts. But those were settled soon by the rest of the batsmen who followed.
Gautam Gambhir top scored with 97, Virat Kohli made 35. Captain Dhoni was unconquered on 91 with Yuvraj at the other end on 21.
As Dhoni deposited Nuwan Kulasekara's delivery in the 49th over high into the stands, the dressing room, crowd and the millions across the country erupted in joy.
It was party time on the streets of Mumbai. Young and the old danced, few on top of their cars, traffic came to a halt in the middle of the night! It continued into the morning. An experience worth cherishing for the rest of our lives.
Here, let us look back how India's journey started before culminating in Mumbai on April 2.
India's historic trip towards that glory began in Bangalore with a preparatory camp at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. After having put in place all their plans, India began with a warm-up game against Australia at Chinnaswamy Stadium on February 13.
Australia, were spun towards defeat in the warm-up game by young legpspinner Piyush Chawla. From there on India lost only one game before succeeding in the final.
Probably, the biggest game of World Cup was the semi-final between Dhoni's men and Pakistan in Mohali. It was on March 30, the arch rivals clashed and India sent Pakistan home in a high voltage match witnessed by many political heavyweights including both countries' Prime Ministers.
Prior to the semi-final, India were heading towards the exit door in the quarter-final against Australia. But Suresh Raina, walking in at 187/5, chasing 261, turned the match around in the company of Yuvraj.
India got their campaign off to a winning start in Dhaka on February 19. They swept past Bangladesh with Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli scoring centuries.
Barring that opener, India enjoyed home conditions right through the tournament, which was a big advantage.
After Bangladesh, India tied with England in a high-scoring thriller in Bangalore. Then had an easy opponents in Ireland at the same venue before going on to defeat Netherlands.
India's only blemish in World Cup glory was the close loss to South Africa in Nagpur when Tendulkar reached his 99th international ton.
The Men In Blue crushed West Indies in Chennai to complete their league assignments. That set up a last-eight meeting with Australia. From there, India went to Mohali and Mumbai to complete the country's second ever World Cup title after 1983.
It's time to wish the World Champions, Happy First Anniversary.
India's Journey To World Cup 2011: From Dhaka To Mumbai
World Cup 2011 Winning India Squad: MS Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, S Sreesanth, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and Piyush Chawla.