The Story of India's 2011 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup Triumph

The 2011 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup is a dream etched in the hearts of every Indian cricket team fan, a memory so vivid, it's cherished even today. It wasn't only about a victory, it was an unforgettable journey. The matches, the squad, which was a perfect blend of youth and experience, and at the helm of it all was the master strategist, the coolest captain ever, MS Dhoni, leading the charge. We've been waiting for a moment like that to return, and 2023 felt like the year all Indian Cricket Team fans would get to celebrate once again, but destiny had other plans, and despite the team's brilliant efforts, victory slipped through our fingers in the finals.

The Indian Cricket Team celebrating after winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup Trophy
Credit: India Today

These moments make us realize the true brilliance of India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup triumph. It was a perfect culmination of skill, determination, and luck that won us the trophy after a wait of 28 long years. 

So, in this article by ZAP, let’s have a look back at India’s dreamy 2011 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup Winning campaign, the team, the moments, the memorable matches and the 

The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup - A Background

The 2011 Cricket World Cup Trophy
Credit: News18

The 2011 ICC ODI Cricket World was the 10th edition of the tournament, which was held in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Fourteen teams, including 10 full members and four associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), participated in the tournament.

The opening ceremony was in Bangladesh, and the first match was between India and Bangladesh in Dhaka. Originally, Pakistan was also supposed to co-host the event, but due to security concerns after a terrorist attack, all those matches were adjusted in the three other countries. The format of the tournament was similar to the one used in 1996, with 14 teams divided into two groups. Each team played the others in its group once, and the top four from each group moved on to the quarter-finals. While all ten full members of the ICC automatically qualified for the World Cup, there was a qualifying tournament in South Africa to determine which four associate teams would participate. Ireland won the tournament, with Canada, the Netherlands, and Kenya also earning their spots in the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

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India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup Squad - The Champions

India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup team was a star studded unit, a squad with the right combination of experience and youth. It had a perfect balance of bowlers, batters and all rounders. 

  • Virender Sehwag
  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Gautam Gambhir
  • Virat Kohli
  • MS Dhoni (c) (wk)
  • Yuvraj Singh
  • Suresh Raina
  • Harbhajan Singh
  • Zaheer Khan
  • Munaf Patel
  • Sreesanth
  • Ashish Nehra
  • Ravichandran Ashwin
  • Yusuf Pathan
  • Piyush Chawla

    Gary Kirsten was India's head coach for the 2011 World Cup.

  • The Story of India’s 2011 ODI Cricket World Victory:

    India was coming off a terrible 2007 World Cup where they got knocked out in the Group Stages, by Bangladesh. Though they won the T20 World Cup later that year, it was ultimately the ODI World Cup that mattered. With a 28 year long drought and the tournament now at our home, the pressure to perform for the Men in Blue was immense. Also, it was the God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar’s final chance, so we had to be very good at every game. Let’s look at India’s journey in the tournament and how they steered through all the challenges to triumph on the biggest stage of all. 

    Also Read: Cricket World Cup Winners List | Cricket World Cup Winning Captains

    The Group Stages:

    The India vs England match in the 2011 Cricket World Cup
    Credit: Daily Mail

    India was drawn in a difficult group for the World Cup. There were tough teams like South Africa, England, and the West Indies and underdogs like Bangladesh, Ireland, and the Netherlands in the same group.

    India's performance in the group stage of the 2011 Cricket World Cup was just enough for us to qualify for the next stages. India lost to South Africa and tied a game against England, but eventually managed to secure the second spot in the points table with 9 points, just behind South Africa. 

    Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan had brilliant individual performances in the group stages that helped us steer through this stage. 

    Quarter finals: India vs Australia at Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad. 

    Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh celebrate after beating Australia in the India vs Australia 2011 World Cup Quarter Final
    Credit: SportsAdda

    After finishing second on the table, India were to face the mighty Australians in the Quarter Finals of the 2011 World Cup. Australia were known to be invincible in this tournament and were the defending champions of the trophy. Beating them would take India a herculean effort. And that’s exactly what happened.

    Australia batted first and set a challenging target of 260/6. Ricky Ponting's century, scoring 104 off 118 balls, was the highlight of their innings. But India's bowlers did a fantastic job, with R. Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, and Yuvraj Singh taking two wickets each. When it was India's turn to bat, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir started very well, both scoring half centuries. Victory seemed close, but after a few quick wickets, India was struggling in the run chase. However, it was Yuvraj Singh who stole the show. Not only did he shine with the ball, taking two wickets, but he also played a crucial match winning innings, scoring an unbeaten 57 runs. Suresh Raina too played an underrated knock, and eventually, India chased down the target comfortably, winning the match by 5 wickets. 

    Yuvraj Singh's all-round performance earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match award. With this victory, India moved on to the semi-finals, where they were set to face their arch-rivals, Pakistan, in the penultimate match.

    2011 Cricket World Cup Semi Finals - India vs Pakistan, Mohali

    The Indian Cricket Players celebrate after beating Pakistan in the India vs Pakistan 2011 Cricket World Cup Semi Final
    Credit: NDTV Sports

    The India vs Pakistan semi-final match in the 2011 Cricket World Cup was an absolute thriller! It was more than just a game; it was a clash of egos and emotions. Both teams were determined to win, and the tension was palpable.

    Opting to bat first, India set a challenging target of 260/9, propelled by Sachin Tendulkar's elegant 85 and Suresh Raina's valuable contribution of 36 runs. Despite Misbah-ul-Haq's determined effort with a score of 56, Pakistan's pursuit fell short by 29 runs as India managed to dismiss them for 231. Sachin Tendulkar was the hero of the match, and rightfully earned the Man of the Match award. 

    Also Read: India vs Pakistan Cricket Rivalry

    2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final - India vs Sri Lanka, Wankhede Stadium

    MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh celebrate after beating Sri Lanka in the India vs Sri Lanka 2011 Cricket World Cup find
    Credit: The Statesman

    The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup Final between India and Sri Lanka was the first time two Asian teams faced off in the finals. Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to bat first, setting a challenging target of 274 runs. Mahela Jayawardene was the star for Sri Lanka, scoring a brilliant century with 103 runs off just 88 balls. However, thanks to the efforts of Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan, India managed to keep Sri Lanka's score within reach. 

    When India came out to bat, things got tense early on as Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar were dismissed cheaply. But then MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir took charge. Dhoni scored an unbeaten 91 runs off just 79 balls, playing a captain's knock, while Gambhir contributed 97 runs off 122 deliveries. Dhoni's decision to promote himself up the order proved to be a masterstroke. He led from the front, ensuring India stayed in the game. With the pressure mounting, Dhoni finished the chase in style by smashing a six over long-on off Nuwan Kulasekara's bowling. It was a moment of pure joy and ecstasy for Indian fans. Dhoni's outstanding performance earned him the Man of the Match award, and India lifted the World Cup trophy after 28 years. 

    2011 World Cup Final - The MS Dhoni Touch:

    MS Dhoni hits the winning six in the India vs Sri Lanka 2011 Cricket World Cup Final
    Credit: Mumbai Mirror

    After India's disappointing performance in the 2007 ODI World Cup, the team needed a new captain. That's when MS Dhoni stepped in. He was made the captain for the 2007 T20 Cricket World Cup, and against all odds, he led India to victory. This win showed everyone that Dhoni was not just a brilliant player but also an excellent tactician and leader.

    Then came the 2011 Cricket World Cup, held in India. After 28 years without a win, the whole country was hoping for a victory. Even though India didn't start the tournament at their best, Dhoni's leadership kept them going, and with a complete team performance against Australia and Pakistan in the knockout stages, India reached the Finals vs Sri Lanka. Chasing 275, MS Dhoni scored 91 runs off 79 balls and finished the match with the most ionic six in Indian Cricket history, with Ravi Shastri’s iconic commentary, “Dhoni finishes things off in style…India lift the World Cup after 28 years,” still reverberating throughout ears. Throughout the tournament, Dhoni's calm and strategic leadership were instrumental. His captaincy helped India lift the trophy for the second time in their history. And in 2013, he further proved his greatness by winning the ICC Champions Trophy, becoming the only captain to win all three ICC Trophies and cementing his legacy as the greatest captain of the Indian Team.

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    Why was India’s 2011 World Cup victory so special?

    Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar celebrate with the 2011 Cricket World Cup Trophy
    Credit: Rediff

    India's 2011 World Cup victory was super special for a lot of reasons. Firstly, it was held right here in India, which made it even more exciting for all of us. Secondly, it was Sachin Tendulkar's sixth and final World Cup, and everyone was really rooting for him to lift that trophy. But what made it even more memorable was Yuvraj Singh's outstanding performance. Despite facing health issues and breathing problems, Yuvi played like a true champion. He scored a massive 362 runs and took an impressive 15 wickets throughout the tournament, also winning the Man of the Tournament. One of the most unforgettable moments was when Yuvraj teamed up with Suresh Raina to steer India to victory in the quarterfinals against Australia. 

    And when we won the Finals at the Wankhede Stadium, the whole country erupted in joy. The God of Cricket finally lifted the World Cup trophy, and the atmosphere was electric. It was a moment that brought tears to the eyes of all the senior players and the crowd. In the end, it wasn't just about winning the World Cup; it was about the spirit, the teamwork, and the unforgettable performances that made it a victory to cherish forever.


    How many runs did Gautam Gambhir score in the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final?

    Gautam Gambhir stood as the pillar for India's collapsing batting order in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. He scored a match winning 97 runs of 122 balls and brought us at the doors of victory.

    Why did Rohit Sharma not play in the 2011 Cricket World Cup?

    Rohit Sharma missed the 2011 Cricket World Cup due to a combination of underwhelming performances, a shoulder injury, and a last-minute decision by the selection panel. Despite being part of India's World Cup plans, the captain's preference for Piyush Chawla over Rohit led to his exclusion from the squad.


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