Thursday, October 5

‘MS Dhoni’s sad face motivated me to win the match’ – Suresh Raina recalls India’s win against Australia in the 2011 World Cup

Suresh Raina. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Suresh Raina scored only 34 runs in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Australia at the PCA Stadium in Mohali. But the knock held significance since it came in an unbeaten 74-run stand with Yuvraj Singh, who scored a 65-ball 57. The duo scripted a five-wicket win for India, setting them up for a semi-final clash against Pakistan. For Raina, it was MS Dhoni, who motivated him.

When Raina was coming to bat, Dhoni was the man out after getting out to fast bowler Brett Lee for seven runs. At that point in time, the Men in Blue still needed 74 runs off 75 balls. At the time when Raina was going out, Dhoni was returning to the pavilion.

It’s then that Raina saw his sad face and it prompted the left-hander to win India the match from there on. He also got words of wisdom from Sachin Tendulkar, who scored a valuable half-century at the top of the order.

After a six off Brett Lee I was sure that we will win: Suresh Raina

Virender Sehwag was sitting on my right and Sachin Tendulkar on the left. Tendulkar tapped me and said ‘You will win the match for India today’. He touched me thrice and then he wears that Sai Baba’s bracelet and the blessing I got made me feel that it’s my day to win the game for India,” Raina was quoted as saying during a chat with Aakash Chopra, reported by India Today.

“As I was walking I saw MS Dhoni’s sad face while walking back to the pavilion. At that very moment I decided I would not miss this chance and will win the match at any cost. Australia removed the off-spinners from the attack and they were the only threat for us. After a six off Brett Lee I was sure that we will win, the momentum kept on shifting in our favour,” he added.

Apart from Raina, Yuvraj and Sachin’s contributions, Gautam Gambhir stepped in as well. He steadied the ship with a 64-ball 50 before getting run-out. India ended on 261 and Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting’s 118-ball 104 went in vain.

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