Tuesday, September 26

Suresh Raina opens up on pledging to take India home after seeing Dhoni’s sad face during the 2011 WC quarterfinal


India scripted one of the greatest wins in history during the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup against Australia at Ahmedabad.

The ‘Men in Blue’ ended the 12-year long championship streak of the Aussies, thanks to the game-changing partnership between Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh.

The Kangaroos, then, were the undisputed champions of the world, with the World Cups of 1999, 2003, and 2007, as well as the Champions Trophy of 2006 in their bag.

To beat Australia, was half the job done for the sides in their bid for the coveted trophy. However, the win did not come easy for the hosts as the Australian skipper Ricky Ponting almost took the game away with a scintillating ton on a turning track.

It was also the last innings of his World Cup career and continued his domination against the Indian attack. Ponting single-handedly pushed the score of Australia to 275 on a challenging pitch.

Batting second, India looked comfortable as long as Sachin Tendulkar was there at the crease. Moreover, the hosts were reduced to 187-5, when a ‘sad’ MS Dhoni went back to the dressing room after not being able to get the job done, with 74 runs required off 75 deliveries.

Dhoni identity cut a wide delivery from Brett Lee, which was destined to go to the point boundary, instead rocketed into the palms of Michael Clarke.

“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 told Aakash Chopra.

“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,” the southpaw recalled.

Raina, who came in for Yusuf Pathan in the heavyweight knockout clash, reaped rich dividends for the faith entrusted on him and stitched a match-winning partnership with Yuvraj. He scored a priceless cameo of 34 which came off just 28 deliveries and took India to the semis.

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