On 2/4/2011 India created history by being the first host country to win the Cricket World Cup. India began by defeating Bangladesh, a co-host, on 19/2/2011 and ended by defeating Sri Lanka, another co-host, on 2/4/2011.
No Indian scored a century in a knock-out game. Ricky Ponting and Mahela Jayawardene scored centuries against India in knock-out games. India batted second in matches against Australia and Sri Lanka and won. Australia were stopped from winning the title for the fourth consecutive time and Ricky Ponting was stopped from winning the title as captain for the third consecutive time. Before that Pakistan had defeated Australia in a group match and had put an end of Australia’s sequence of victories since 1999.
S. Sreesanth was in the first match and the last match. Virender Sehwag scored 175 against Bangladesh and 0 against Sri Lanka. India’s fielding improved during knock-out games.
India’s lone loss was against South Africa. Against England it was a tie. South Africa were defeated by New Zealand and England by Sri Lanka in quarter-finals. India did not have to play any team twice.
The tournament took place when India was buffeted with various scandals. Commonwealth Games scam, 2G spectrum scam and many other scams were making news. Wikileaks gave fresh life to cash for votes scam. As the tournament progressed TV news channels shifted the focus to crickets and scams took a backseat. Regular programmes were dumped for programmes on cricket. India’s performance in the World Cup banished bad news from news channels.
The victory created a new set of heroes in addition to 1983 heroes. There were not many news channels till 1999. From 2003 onwards every time during World Cup heroes of 1983 were approached by news channels to know what it was to win the World Cup. Captains of World Cup winning teams were in great demand. CNN-IBN got Alan Border and Imran Khan. Headlines Today got Kapil Dev, Clive Lloyd and Arjuna Ranatunga. Steve Waugh was not seen.
Sponsors wanted India to be in the quarter-final and the format was arranged such a way. India played the first match and the last match of the group stage. India’s first round exit in 2007 was the reason for bringing back quarter-finals. India reaching the final was a bonus for sponsors.
UDRS was introduced in the World Cup. India were not in favour of UDRS as it had unhappy memories of UDRS in Sri Lanka. After the Ian Bell controversy UDRS rules were modified and some decisions went in India’s favour. UDRS is effective in deciding catches but remains controversial regarding LBW decisions. Sometimes field umpire gives the correct decision regarding LBW and UDRS gives the wrong decision. UDRS regarding LBW is not automatic and the operator can manipulate it. Either UDRS for LBW should be scrapped or the decision should be given by third umpire as it is done when field umpires ask for his decision on close catches, run-out or stumping. It is wrong to humiliate the field umpire by asking him to reverse his decision. Sri Lanka and other countries that were in favour of UDRS may do a rethink as some UDRS decisions went against them.
It is wrong to give a free hit for a no ball. The batting team gets a run and the bowler has to bowl another ball and that is fair enough. Free hit is too much in favour of a batsman.
Demands for tickets for matches featuring India was great and there was lathi-charge in Bangalore, Nagpur and Mohali. Common people who wanted to buy tickets could not get tickets. MPs, MLAs, MLCs and corporators demanded and got free tickets.
Firecracker sellers had good business.