India created history after a brilliant finale to the World Cup 2011 ended with Dhoni and his men chasing down Sri Lanka's total of 274 to hand one of the greatest players of all time - Sachin Tendulkar - the ultimate winners medal the sport could offer.
A brilliant unbeaten ton from Mahela Jayawardene (103*) helped Sri Lanka to a score of 274-6 in 50 overs, setting India a target of 275 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. However, India fought back through a brilliant Gautham Gambhir and skipper MS Dhoni, despite the early loss of openers Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, to secure the trophy, making them the first host-nation in the history of the world cup to win it.
India's chase suffered a major blow as their burstful-opener Virender Sehwag was given lbw in the Malinga's second delivery. Malinga then invited Tendulkar to drive with an outswinger, getting a flick off his bat on the way to Sangakkara's safe hands. It meant Tendulkar failed to do the romantic thing and score his 100th hundred in his hometown.
However, India were left reeling from his loss, but their much maligned middle order shown through when it mattered most. Gambhir and Virat Kohli soaked in the pressure and stitched a partnership of 83 runs for the third wicket, steadying the Indian ship. However, just as they were begining to play their shots, Kohli was the victim of a brilliant caught&bowled move by Dilshan, and the young Indian had to walk back on 35.
It rocked India for a second time. Everyone expected the in-form Yuvraj Singh to walk forth. However, India wanted to keep the left-right combination of the batsmen going and it was skipper MS Dhoni making the bold move to the crease.
After taking some time to settle, Dhoni would go on to play the innings of his life combining with Gambhir to make a partnership which will be subject to countless retellings in the years to come. He initially seemed content with stroking the ball around and letting Gambhir do the scoring. As he settled however, he began to impose himself on the Lankan bowling. Even Lasith Malinga realised the hard way that it was no day to be messing with a determined Indian captain.
Sri Lanka would also rue dropping Gambhir when he was at just 30. It proved crucial as he went on to score 97 before making a hash of shot resulting in the ball rattling the stumps with the score at 223. India's batting line is regarded as the best in the world for a reason and Lankan supporters weren't encouraged to see Yuvraj walk out. That, as they say, was that. With Yuvraj at the other end Dhoni went on a rampage and scored 11 off Kulasekara in the 48th over. He then pulled Malinga for two fours before smashing a huge six for the winner, which will be remembered for the rest of Indian cricket's future.
It was Mutttiah Muralitharan, the legendary Sri Lankan spinner's, last International game and though he couldn't find his push his creaking body on the day, it should also be remembered as the finale of a fine career of a true champion.
Dhoni was awarded the man-of-the-match for his unbeaten 91 while Yuvraj Singh was the man-of-the-tournament for four man of the match performances and contributing crucially with both bat and ball.
As Dhoni lifted the trophy, Sachin Tendulkar's face lit-up with childlike delight at finally winning the ultimate trophy after 21 years. It is a night India will remember for the much beyond the foreseeable future.
The game wasn't short of controversy though. On any other the day, the toss would have been the least action-packed event of a cricket match. However, the toss had to be retaken after Sri Lankan skipper Sangakkara's call of tails wasn't caught by match referee Jeff Crowe. As Dhoni flipped the coin, Sangakkara called tails, but it was heads and Dhoni was the winner. But Crowe hadn't heard Sangakkara's call clearly and the Lankan skipper demanded the toss be retaken. As the captains stared at each other, Crowe decided that was the right course of action, and Sangakkara won it on the second throw.
Choosing to bat, Sri Lanka were restrained by a spirited Indian fielding display. However, skipper Dhoni's decision to pick Sreesanth over Ashwin proved to be costly as the pacer went for figures of 0-52 in eight overs. After the early fall of Tharanga (2) and then Dilshan (33), skipper Sangakkara and Jayawardene built a 62 run partnership before the skipper was caught behind off Yuvraj Singh on 48.
Samaraweera had a short spell on the crease, making 21 before being given lbw on review off Yuvraj Singh. Kapugedera (1) soon followed suit, lifting Zaheer Khan to mid-on for an easy catch for Kohli. At that point, Sri Lanka were 182-5 with 10 overs remaining. However, with the battling powerplay to go, and Jayawardene on the crease, Lanka went on to make 274, with Kulasekara (32) run out with the score at 248. Thisara Perera (22) came on to assist Jayawardene in the final surge , taking the score to a defendable total of 274.