Lest we forget

Moments to remember 2011 by, and one moment that never arrived

THE COSTLY MISS (March 8): After their never-ending losing streak, something had to give for New Zealand. It did against Pakistan where Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram clocked 92 runs off the final four overs in Pallekele. One of the highlights was Kamran Akmal dropping Taylor, prompting this reaction from Shoaib Akhtar, who would later have a fisticuff with the 'keeper. The controversial pacer announced his retirement during the tournament, not knowing he had already played his last game here.

India had their foot on South Africa's throat in Nagpur when they started batting cautiously against the run of play. Tendulkar completed his 99th hundred and set the innings up for the slog which never arrived. India lost 29-9 to be bowled out for 296 when 375 looked possible. South Africa nearly botched the chase before Robin Peterson took them home, taking 16 off Ashish Nehra's final over. [See scores and in-line videos]

THANK YOU FOR COMING, AUSTRALIA (March 24): After 15 years, Australia finally lost a World Cup knockout, against eventual champions India in Ahmedabad. It wasn't easy. On a difficult pitch, the off-colour Ricky Ponting struck a heroic 104. Determined fifties from Tendulkar and Gambhir took India close, before Suresh Raina's cameo made the final difference. Yuvraj Singh's William Dafoe act (above) after the winning stroke should sum up what the win meant to them. [Scores and in-line videos]

RHYMES WITH POKER (March 25): Yet again, South Africa started as one of the World Cup favourites but took the first chance to be knocked out. 222 in the quarterfinal didn't seem to be a big target. But a wicket here and a wicket there, and Graeme Smith's men were spooked. Jacob Oram's running catch of Jacques Kallis above was a match-turner. Smith was devastated. He resigned as the ODI captain, one of the four big changes to South African cricket, including the appointment of Gary Kirsten as their coach.

THE GAME OF THE YEAR (March 30): The India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal was undoubtedly the biggest contest of the year, garnering more attention than the final. Premiers of both countries attended it, making the Mohali game a nightmare for security forces. Sachin Tendulkar, dropped thrice and let off by a curious HawkEye reply, made 85. It wasn't his prettiest innings, but factoring the mind-numbing pressure, it was one of his most precious. [See in-line videos with text commentary]

THE CHERRY ON TOP (April 2): Few would remember Zaheer Khan's first spell with three straight maidens, Sri Lanka's struggle with the bat, Mahela Jayawardene's brilliant hundred or the Gautam Gambhir-led fightback. What would remain in everyone's memory is this six that ended India's 28-year wait for a World Cup. [See in-video clips with commentary]

[Continued below]

One of the memorable moments during India's celebration of the win was when Sachin Tendulkar, who has maintained a carefully cultivated public image and never endorsed alcohol or cigarettes, for once stopped being careworn and took a swig from the celebratory champagne bottle in his hand. The crowd of 45,000 at the Wankhede saw this on the giant screen and roared in approval.


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