2011 India vs Sri Lanka cricket World Cup final match analysis and controversies


What was the coin toss controversy in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final? Who won the 2011 Cricket World Cup? Which players were in the India team for the 2011 Cricket World Cup final? Which players were in the Sri Lanka team for the 2011 Cricket World Cup final? This article gives answers to these questions and gives a detailed analysis of the match, highlights and video of the coin toss controversy in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final.

A 22 yard bare brown strip always creates excitement in a country where cricket is the prime sport, more so when the sport's premier tournament is being played and India is in the final of that tournament. Yes, the pitch at the Wankhede stadium was the cynosure of all eyes on April 2nd 2011 as India and Sri Lanka competed against each other to decide who would lift the coveted 2011 ICC World Cup trophy. The pitch, literally, was the foundation for the mother of all controversies of this final: the toss of the coin.

Before we discuss that, though, have a look at who played in the final:

India 2011 World Cup final team
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag (Vice Captain), Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, M.S.Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh.
Players not selected for the final: R. Ashwin, Piyush Chawla, Ashish Nehra, Yusuf Pathan.

Sri Lanka 2011 World Cup final team
Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Muttiah Muralidaran.
Players not selected for the final: Ajantha Mendis, Herath, Agnelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas.

2011 India vs Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup final coin toss controversy


The most famous coin, as far as Bollywood films are concerned, is the same-sided coin used by Amitabh Bachchan in the film Sholay (die-hard fans of the film know what I am talking about). The coin used in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final is going to become equally famous, thanks to cricket referee Jeff Crowe!

During the final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, apparently Crowe could not hear the sound emitting from the lips of Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara. That is, Crowe could not hear the words of the call made by Sangakkara – was it heads or tails? Since Sangakkara was the visiting captain, it was he who had to give the call 'heads' or 'tails' before Dhoni, the host captain, tossed the coin. Sangakkara's call was drowned out by the cacophonic noise in the Wankhede stadium – that is what Crowe stated. Dhoni assumed he had won the toss as he thought Sangakkara had called tails and the coin showed heads. Sangakkara assumed he, in fact, had won the toss as he had called heads and not tails. Crowe, who as match referee should have definitely been giving proper attention and tuned in clearly, seemed all at sea as to who was right. Ravi Shastri, who was present, asked "Now what? Toss again?" and so the coin was tossed a second time.

Naturally, it did not take long for fans loyal to Team India making wild allegations that Sangakkara had cheated. Aah! But there is the magic of modern technology. ESPN-Star channel twiddled around a bit with the sound system, increased the audio a notch and proved without a doubt that Sangakkara had indeed not cheated - he did say 'heads' the first time round.

Moral of the lesson: Just as a batsman needs to make a loud and clear call when setting off for a run or not wanting to take the run, so also call out loud and clear "heads" or "tails" when the coin is tossed. Another thing – better make sure the coin does have 2 different sides, otherwise it will end up like the coin in the Bollywood film Sholay! As for the match referee, maybe the training program for referees should including a lesson on how to attune yourself to stadium noises. After all, noises are more or less on the same decibel level (loud, really loud!) at any important tournament especially in stadiums where cricket is the top sport – such as in India.

Auction bid for the coin of the 2011 Cricket World Cup final: 2011 Cricket World Cup auctions (Auction ends on 5th April 2011)

Watch video of the 2011 Cricket World Cup final coin toss controversy


How India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup final


India's bowling performance in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final
It was not good to lose the toss, as the pitch was expected to turn during the second innings. Sangakkara did the right thing in opting to bat first, not only considering the possibility of the pitch turning, but probably also considering the fact that the Indian batsmen would crumble under pressure when batting second under lights. Sangakkara must have been really happy to have won that toss!

So in came the men in blue to take up their fielding positions while Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan came in to bat. They had been the best opening pair of the entire tournament so right away India had to ensure that their bats did not talk too much. Zaheer Khan did just that, giving a superb dream start by being miserly in his opening spell which included 3 maiden overs. His figures in that spell: 5 overs, 3 maidens, 6 runs, 1 wicket. That first wicket came in the seventh over, when Sehwag took a diving catch at slip took to dismiss Tharanga. The score at this stage: 1 wicket, 17 runs!
Then came Dilshan's fluke dismissal – facing a delivery from Harbhajan, Dilshan attempted a sweep shot. To his chagrin, the ball hit his gloves and fell on the stumps, dislodging the bail. Dhoni clapped gleefully as Harbhajan roared in joy! Two wickets down, 60 runs on the board. Then in came Jayawardene to support his captain. He was like a rock, completely calm and unruffled. It was Sangakkara who was dismissed before he reached his half-century, trying to make a crazy slash at a Yuvraj slow delivery and ending up giving an edge to Dhoni behind the stumps. Dismissed for 48 runs, Samaraweera came in to take his place. He, too, got fooled by a Yuvi delivery. In trying to sweep the ball, he merely missed the line completely and was trapped leg before, walking back after making just 21 runs.

The next batsman, Kapugedera, came and returned even more quickly, scoring 1 run and then giving a regulation simple catch to Raina off a Zaheer Khan delivery. Next was Kulasekara, who hit out at the Indian bowlers and made 32 runs in just 30 balls. He was eventually run out by Dhoni when he fell short of the crease while taking a single. Jayawadene remained not out on 103, after a gritty century from 88 balls which had just five fours. Equally stunning was Perera's 22 runs in just 9 balls. He hit 1 six and 3 fours. In fact, 63 runs were made by Sri Lanka in the last 5 overs to set India a target of 275 runs to chase – quite a large target, considering at one stage India's bowling looked like it would curtail the score to a little over 200 at the most.

The bowling performance overall by the Indian team was good, except for the performance of Sreesanth who gave away 52 runs in 8 overs and was the most expensive bowler in the team. Even more electric than the bowling was the fielding, especially that of the trio of Yuvi, Virat and Raina. At the word go, they were putting huge pressure on prolific run-getter Dilshan, simply not allowing him to take off in the same blasting way he did in the league phases. With the fielding support for the bowlers, India definitely fancied their chances of chasing 275.

India's batting performance in the 2011 Cricket World Cup final
The start to that chase of 275 was jittery at the outset itself. Sehwag and Sachin were expected to give the usual rollicking start, but Malinga outfoxed Sehwag with a delivery which suddenly straightened and caught Sehwag unawares, forcing him to take a defensive position right in front of the stumps. He was declared out lbw and his review request came to nought as the field umpire's decision was upheld. The score on the board: no runs, 1 wicket!

There was an even more deafening silence in the stadium when Sachin, whom fans thought would make his 100th international century, was dismissed by another quirky ball from Malinga. It hit the edge of Sachin's bat and Sangakkara was quick to pouch it. Sachin out for 18 runs, only 31 runs to team India. A lot of nails were bitten for sure at this stage!

In came Virat Kohli to support Gautam Gambir. Gambhir is the silent achiever, the player whom nobody really discusses when everybody spouts wisdom about India's batting strength. The left-hander did not needlessly go for big shots, knowing the importance of not losing another wicket in order to chase a big target. He simply flicked his wrists to go for singles and twos, keeping up a steady flow of runs. He made an 83 run partnership with Kohli. After Kohli was dismissed on 35 by a stunning catch from bowler Dilshan, Gambhir continued to be rock steady in tandem with Dhoni. When Gambhir was on 97, he made a rash move. Rushing out of the crease, eager to reach his ton probably, he missed the ball completely and Perera's delivery rattled the timber.

The Gambhir-Dhoni partnership yielded a precious 109 runs. As Gambhir walked out to a standing ovation from team mates and spectators, Yuvraj stepped in. Yes, finally he came. Everybody was shocked when he did not, as usual, come in at No.5. Dhoni was to say later that he promoted himself up the order to protect Yuvraj from the wily spin of Muralitharan & he wanted to prove his own ability, having failed in the entire tournament to get runs on the board. He said coach Gary Kirsten, too, was agreeable to the move. And what a move it was! A bit tentative at first, running hard to get singles, Dhoni's bat did all the talking when the runs per over required started to go up. He started pounding the ball and his final score of 91 not out included 8 scorching boundaries and 2 almighty sixes. One six was the one which clinched victory for India. Yuvraj, with 21 runs, was there at the end too, hugging his captain in ecstasy as team mates spilled on to the field to join in the victory.

Team India were definitely worthy champions, having stuck together during good & bad times and proved people who doubted their ability wrong. Apparently Kapil Dev had told his team in 1983 "Dil se khelo!" (play with your heart). Then and now, that's exactly what Team India did. They deserved to win the glittering 11kg trophy!

Auction bid for a replica trophy of the 2011 Cricket Word Cup: 2011 ICC Auctions website

Man of the Match award for the 2011 Cricket World Cup final: M.S.Dhoni

Man of the tournament for the 2011 Cricket World Cup final: Yuvraj Singh

Prize money for Team India winning: $1.9million (Rs.8.5 crore)

2011 Cricket World Cup final Quotes
* M.S.Dhoni: I had given youngsters a chance to bat up the order, but today I wanted to prove a point, not to anyone else but myself. Had we not won, there would have been plenty of questions…Why Sreesanth, not Ashwin? Why me first then Yuvraj?

* Kumar Sangakkara: We are disappointed, but the better side won. It was a great final and both sides would be proud of the cricket they played.

* Sachin Tendulkar: I could not have asked for anything else. It is the proudest moment of my life. It was worth the wait all these years. They were happy tears and you are right, I could not control them.

* Sachin Tendulkar: I want to thank my team mates as without them, nothing would have happened. I especially want to thank the support staff. Mike Horn has helped us cope with the expectations and pressure. Self-belief has always been there but in the last two years we have been very consistent. It has been a great honour to be part of this team. Lastly, a special thanks to Gary Kirsten and Paddy Upton.

* Yuvraj Singh: This is a special moment to me, my team mates and India. I want to dedicate my man-of-the-match award to my Guruji.

* Gautam Gambhir: All credit goes to Sachin Tendulkar. Beating Australia and Pakistan and now this, it is a dream come true.

* Harbhajan Singh: It means he world to me. I have been part of the three World Cups. This cup is for the people. Love you India!

* Zaheer Khan: When Yuvraj was going through a tough phase, I told him that he would win the World Cup for us.

* Virat Kohli: Sachin Tendulkar has carried Indian cricket on his shoulders for 21 years. So it was fitting that we carried him on our shoulders after this win.
- this was the best quote of the 2011 Cricket World Cup final!

2011 Cricket World Cup final records
* Zaheer Khan became the only bowler ever to bowl 3 successive maiden overs in a World Cup final.

* Gautam Gambhir's 97 runs is the hightest individual score for India in a World Cup final.

* M.S. Dhoni is the very first wicket-keeper-cum-captain to win a World Cup.

* India is the only team to have won a World Cup final in front of a home crowd.

* Dhoni's 91 (not out) runs is the third hightest individual score by a captain in a World Cup final. If he had scored a century, he would have joined the league of captains who have scored a ton in the final – Ricky Ponting (140 not out) & Clive Lloyd (102 not out) are the only captains who have scored centuries.

* Mahela Jayawardene is the first centurion in a World Cup final to be on the losing team.

2011 Cricket World Cup records and statistics

The biggest record of all: closing the 28-year gap since the last time India won the World Cup!

Cheers to the men in blue!

Team India with the 2011 cricekt world cup trophy


Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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