2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final
2011 World Cup Champions.jpg
Event2011 ICC Cricket World Cup
Date2 April 2011
VenueWankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Man of the MatchMS Dhoni
Player of the TournmentYuvraj Singh
UmpiresSimon Taufel and Aleem Dar
Event broadcastersESPN Star Sports
2015 Cricket World Cup Final →

The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final was played between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on 2 April 2011. This was the 10th ICC Cricket World Cup. India won the match by six wickets, its second World Cup victory, having previously won in 1983. India became the third nation to have won the World Cup more than once, along with Australia and the West Indies. This was the first World Cup where both the finalists were Asian teams. This was the second time in World Cup history that a host nation won the World Cup Final and the first time to win on their home ground. Sri Lanka was a co-host when it won the 1996 Cup, but the final match was played in Lahore, Pakistan. In the stadium, the match was watched by 33,000 spectators and on TV, in India alone, the final was watched by 67.6 million viewers although another estimate put the figure at 135 million. The matches were also broadcast live on ESPN Star Sports' website and state-run Doordarshan and DD1, which reaches more than 90% of the country’s 1.21 billion population.


Prior to this match, India and Sri Lanka had met each other seven times in World Cup history with Sri Lanka ahead with four wins and two defeats and one game ending in a no result. In One Day Internationals, India led Sri Lanka with 75 victories against 52 victories for Sri Lanka, while 11 matches had ended with no result.

Road to the final

Main article: 2011 Cricket World Cup knockout stage

India defeated defending champions Australia in the quarter-finals and Pakistan in the semi-finals to reach the final, while Sri Lanka defeated England and then New Zealand to make it to the final.

Both of India's knockout matches were high-pressure contests. Australia was a strong team and defending champion, and India had to give a very good performance to restrict Australia to 260 and then successfully chase down the target even as wickets fell regularly. Pakistan and India have historically been rivals, and there was immense public pressure on both teams. The match was attended by the Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan. India batted first and ultimately defeated Pakistan by 29 runs.

Sri Lanka had clinically demolished England in the quarter final, defeating them by 10 wickets. Both the Sri Lankan openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga made unbeaten centuries and put up a world-record stand for the first wicket in a World Cup. The New Zealand semi-final was more keenly contested, but was still won with relative ease by Sri Lanka. The matches showcased the effective unconventional bowling of pace spearhead Lasith Malinga, restrictive fielding, and the batting prowess of the Sri Lankan top order.

The final generated huge interest. It was the first time both World Cup finalists were Asian teams. The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa, a known cricket enthusiast, announced he would attend the match along with his sons. Following this, the Indian President Pratibha Patil also announced her decision to attend the match.

Team composition

India largely retained the same team it had in the semi-final against Pakistan, with just one change. Ashish Nehra, left-arm medium pacer, had suffered a finger fracture while fielding in that match, and he was replaced by another pacer, Sreesanth. India was widely rated as having the strongest batting line-up in the tournament, and chose to back this strength throughout the campaign by playing seven batsmen and four bowlers. Due to Yuvraj Singh performing well with both bat and ball in the tournament, India could afford to play with only four specialist bowlers. Yuvraj bowled his full quota of 10 overs in many matches, including the semi-final against Pakistan. Among the four bowling slots, Zaheer Khan was the pace spearhead supported in most matches by Munaf Patel, while Harbhajan Singh was the regular off-spinner. The fourth slot was taken by different bowlers in different matches, including Sreesanth, Nehra, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, or off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The captain had chosen Nehra over Ashwin in the match against Pakistan also. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had then said he preferred having three seamers (a synonym for a fast bowler) because it gave him more options. He already had proven spinners in Harbhajan and Yuvraj, and could call upon many other Indian players who can bowl part-time spin (including Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, and Virender Sehwag).

Sri Lanka made four changes to their side from the semi-final. All-rounder Angelo Mathews had suffered a torn quadriceps and could not play. Sri Lanka knew the Indians' strength was batting, and thus they needed to take wickets to put them under pressure. This led to their choosing a full complement of bowlers. Spin bowler Ajantha Mendis had performed well throughout the tournament, but he had a poor record against India in pre-World Cup clashes and was not chosen for the final. Spinner Rangana Herath was also dropped. Off-spinner Suraj Randiv and batsman Chamara Kapugedera were flown in from Sri Lanka to strengthen the side. Seamers Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera, who had played matches in the earlier group stage, were drafted into the team. Legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was carrying minor injuries, but was retained. He had announced that he would retire from One Day International cricket after the World Cup, so this was his last match. The semi-final held at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo was his last ODI match on home soil, and there he had been carried around the stadium, perched on his teammates' shoulders, on a lap of honor after that match.

Match details

Match officials

The on-field umpires were Simon Taufel of Australia and Aleem Dar of Pakistan, with Ian Gould being the third (TV) umpire. All of these umpires are highly rated; Taufel has won 5 ICC Umpire of the Year awards, while Dar has won two. Taufel had never been able to officiate in a World Cup final because Australia had been qualifying for the finals in the last four editions. Jeff Crowe was the match referee and Steve Davis the reserve umpire.


A controversy developed when Kumar Sangakkara called the toss. The toss came up as heads, but the match referee Jeff Crowe and commentator Ravi Shastri, who was hosting the toss, did not hear the call over the crowd. It was decided that there would be a re-toss. Sangakkara called heads as the coin was spun the second time. He won the re-toss and elected to bat. Replays of the toss indicated that Sangakkara called heads the first time, though Dhoni heard it as tails.

Sri Lankan innings

Sri Lanka started the innings slowly, constrained by good bowling from Zaheer Khan and committed fielding from Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, and Virat Kohli inside the 30-yard circle. Zaheer began with three consecutive maidens and the wicket of Upul Tharanga, conceding only six runs in his five-over spell. Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was bowled by Harbhajan Singh when a delivery carried on to the stumps after deflecting off his gloves. Captain Kumara Sangakkara came in after Tharanga's dismissal, and was building a solid foundation with Dilshan before the latter was dismissed. Mahela Jayawardene came to the crease when Sri Lanka were 60/2 in the 17th over. Sangakkara and Mahela went about the task of consolidating the innings, but eventually Sangakkara was caught behind by Dhoni at 48. New batsman Thilan Samaraweera was adjudged not out by the umpire when a ball hit his thigh pad off the bowling of Yuvraj Singh. The Indians decided to review the decision and he was ultimately given out. Chamara Kapugedera, who was playing his first World Cup match, was caught off a deceptive slower ball by Zaheer Khan. Jayawardene, meanwhile, continued with his quality batting, ultimately scoring 103 not out from 88 balls in a high-class batting display. Helped by the hard-hitting of Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka scored 91 runs in the last 10 overs, including 63 in the batting powerplay (45-50 overs) to take the score to 274/6.

Indian innings

India had a shaky start, with Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar both dismissed early by Lasith Malinga, leaving them at 31 for two. Sehwag was trapped LBW for a duck on the second ball of the innings. Tendulkar started with some good strokes, racing to 18 off 14 balls, but then edged a catch to wicketkeeper Sangakkara. Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir started the recovery with some fluent stroke play and quick running between wickets, taking India to 114 before Kohli was caught-and-bowled by Tillakaratne Dilshan for 35. When he was on 30, Gambhir mistimed a shot off the bowling of Suraj Randiv, sending the ball high up in the air, but Nuwan Kulasekara could not hold on to a difficult chance at long off. Kohli and Gambhir put together an 83-run partnership before Kohli's dismissal. Dhoni came in after Kohli to bat at number five, usually the position of Yuvraj Singh. Both Kohli and Dhoni are right-handed batsmen, while Gambhir and Yuvraj are left-handed. Along with other considerations, by coming ahead of Yuvraj, Dhoni ensured there would be a right-left batting combination between him and Gambhir, which makes it difficult for the bowlers to get into a rhythm, and necessitates frequent field changes. Both Gambhir and Dhoni emphasized on preserving the wickets, and later accelerating with a greater flow of boundaries. Gambhir and Dhoni added 109 for the fourth wicket with Gambhir scoring 97. Gambhir tried to finish his century with a boundary, but his heaving bat failed to connect with the ball, and he was bowled by Thisara Perera. Following Gambhir's dismissal, 52 runs were required off 52 balls. Yuvraj Singh was the new batsman and along with Dhoni took India to victory, and Dhoni sealed the match hitting a six off Nuwan Kulasekara. Dhoni finished on 91 not out from 79 deliveries. Like in many other day-night matches in the subcontinent, dew started to form on the outfield grass in the night, making the ball damp and difficult to grip especially in the later part of India's batting. However, this was a known factor and was taken into consideration by the Sri Lankan captain when he chose to bat first after winning the toss. By crossing the target of 274, India had set a record for the highest successful run-chase in a World Cup final.

At the end of the match, the batting strength of both the teams stood out. The three top run scorers of this tournament were from these finalists: Tillekaratne Dilshan (500 runs), Sachin Tendulkar (482), and Kumar Sangakkara (465). In the top 10 tournament scorers, there were 3 from Sri Lanka (Upul Tharanga (395) in addition to the previous two), and 4 from India (Gautam Gambhir (393), Virender Sehwag (380), and Yuvraj Singh (362) in addition to Sachin).

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