Somettimes, dream matches do not live up to their billing. Not last night though; the World Cup final delievered, and although Sachin Tendulkars 100th international hundred will have to wait for another day, the home side prevailed - Cricinfo reports:
Twenty-eight years on from the match that transformed the history of world cricket, India recaptured the crown that Kapil Dev and his men first lifted at Lord's in 1983, and this time they did so in their very own back yard. An iron-willed 97 from Gautam Gambhir was matched for intensity by the finest captain's innings since Ricky Ponting in Johannesburg eight years ago, as MS Dhoni trumped a poetic century from Mahela Jayawardene to pull off the highest run-chase ever achieved in a World Cup final.
Against a triumphant backdrop at the Wankhede Stadium, victory was sealed by six wickets with 10 balls to spare, as Dhoni - who had promoted himself to No. 5 to heap extra lashings of responsibility onto his own shoulders - rushed through the gears as the victory target drew nearer. With 15 required from 17 balls, he flicked Sri Lanka's only true threat, Lasith Malinga, through midwicket for consecutive boundaries, before smoking Nuwan Kulasekara over long-on to finish on 91 not out from 79 balls, and spark the most delirious scenes of celebration ever seen on the subcontinent.
However, the final margin did little justice to the tussle that had preceded it. Even the toss ended up being disputed, as Kumar Sangakkara's initial call was drowned out by the crowd, but it was the ebb and flow of Zaheer Khan's day that epitomised the fluctuations of a compelling contest. Zaheer opened his account with three consecutive maidens and the scalp of Upul Tharanga in a peerless spell of 5-3-6-1, only to be clobbered for 17 and 18 runs in his ninth and tenth overs, as Sri Lanka monstered 63 runs in the batting Powerplay to post an imposing 274 for 6.
India got off to a rocky start in their chase, but in the end ran down the Sri Lankans with ten balls to spare thanks to a rollicking innings from MS Dhoni. Our assessment; the best team at the tournament won it.
Doubtless the landscape of world cricket will change in the wake of this World Cup. There will be numerous retirements of high-profile players, and the balance of power may shift again. Let's be frank though; cricket is now India's game. Whatever way India wants to take the ICC, the ICC will go; they will simply follow the money. That may be a good thing for the mplayers in the short term, but we wonder what damage is being done to the noble game of cricket in the longer term.
Today though is India's day, and we salute the new world champions. Man for man they were the best outfit for a tournament in their own conditions, and are worthy winners. A nation will celebrate with them for many days. Well done India; the ICC has its dream result.