Gambhir celebrates his 35th birthday today and to mark the occasion we present to you the Delhi batsman’s two World cup winning knocks
97 – 2011 World Cup vs Sri Lanka
What do you remember about the 2011 World Cup final? Probably each and every ball, but the one everlasting moment was when MS Dhoni striking a pose after hitting the winning six towards long-off off Nuwan Kulasekara. He remained unbeaten on 91 and walked away with the Man of the Match award. The rest as they say is history.
But to relegate Gambhir’s 122-ball 97-run knock in your list World Cup memories will be a cardinal sin. Gambhir walked in to bat in the very first over in chase of 275 after India lost their opener Virender Sehwag for 0. Sachin Tendulkar (18) departed in the seventh over, but the left-hander showed tremendous composure under extreme pressure to forge a once in a lifetime innings.
Partnerships with Kohli (83) and MS Dhoni (109) laid the foundation for India historic win. But an ill-advised slog dancing down the track robbed Gambhir of an ultimate glory – a matching-winning century in a World Cup final. But despite getting out for 97, the knock will always find a high place in a list of greatest knocks by an Indian.And to think that Gambhir had already made a telling impact in a final of a World Cup before 2011,is just amazing.
And the stage could not have been better. An India vs Pakistan World Cup final, but similar to the 2011 WC triumph, Gambhir crucial knock of 75 off 54 balls at the top became a mere footnote amidst India’s unbelievable victorious campaign on the back of their disastrous 2007 50-over World cup outing, Dhoni gamble of giving the ball to Joginder Sharma in the last over.
Despite being the top-scorer, Gambhir lost out on the Man of the Match award to Irfan Pathan who logged in an impressive match-winning spell of 4-0-16-3. But Gambhir contribution at the top, blunting a potent attack consisting Mohammad Asif, Sohail Tanvir, Shahid Afridi and Umar Gul was pivotal in India posting a defendable total of 157 for five.