Every Indian cricket fan have the fond memory of Mahendra Singh Dhoni hitting the ball over the boundary for that famous six off Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Kulasekara. India won the 2011 World Cup after 28 years.
In that final, Dhoni promoted himself ahead of Yuvraj in the batting line up. Yuvraj was in fine form throughout the tournament. That decision made almost all the Indians upset. But Dhoni coming ahead of Yuvraj to bat, became the turning point of the match. He smashed an unbeaten 91 to take India over the line and lift the World Cup trophy.
India’s Master Blaster was the one who came up with the strategy of sending Dhoni ahead of Yuvraj to bat with Gautam Gambhir in the final. Sachin Tendulkar has now revealed what prompted him to make that decision.
Sachin Tendulkar told Times of India: “The partnership between Gautam and Virat was flourishing and we wanted to be a couple of steps ahead of the opposition. That’s when I told Viru … if a left-hander (Gautam) gets out now, a left-hander (Yuvi) should go in, and if a right-hander (Virat) gets out, a right-hander (Dhoni) should go in.”
“Yuvi was in tremendous form but Sri Lanka had two off-spinners going, so I thought a strategy change would work. Gautam was batting brilliantly and someone like Dhoni could’ve kept rotating the strike. So I told Viru, tu overs ke beech mein sirf ye baat bahar jaake MS ko bol aur next over shuru hone se pehle waapis aaja. Main yahan se nahi hilne wala.”
“I asked MS to consider this strategy. He then went to Gary (Kirsten), who was sitting outside. Then Gary came in and all four of us got talking about it. Gary too agreed it was the right thing to do, given the attack on hand. MS also agreed and promoted himself up the order.”
Virender Sehwag said: “He [Dhoni] was right. Left-right combination needed to continue. That change in strategy completely caught the Sri Lankans off guard. Before he could even complete his sentence, we saw MS walking into the dressing room. So, that’s when he (Sachin) repeated the same thing to MS, in front of me.”
That batting order change helped India to successfully chase the 275 runs target Sri Lanka had set. Sachin Tendulkar lifted the World Cup trophy in the last World Cup match of his career.
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