Sport is all about certain moments which always stand out in memory. Moments which will always be cherished for their impact and significance.
One of the most magical nights in the history of Indian cricket has been immortalised by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). Every time India and Sri Lanka meet at the Wankhede Stadium, the memories of the 2011 World Cup final will come flooding back.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s epochal six which fetched the winning runs with 10 balls remaining on April 2 will be treasured and recollected.
When the two teams meet again on Thursday at this venue, the first time since that historic final in 2011, Dhoni’s six and Ravi Shastri’s booming voice will reverberate through the stands in the spectators’ mind.
“Dhoniii finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd! India lift the World Cup after 28 years!” Shastri’s narrative has become as famed as the six.
Twelve years after Dhoni’s match-winning six landed in the stadium’s stands, the MCA decided to build a memorial at that very place to “forever make it symbolic to every cricket fan”.
The World Cup-winning captain himself inaugurated the victory monument during this year’s IPL but the two seats were erected under a canopy in the lead-up to this edition of the World Cup. Two replicas of the World Cup trophy adorn either side of the structure.
The cabin has been named “World Cup 2011 victory memorial stand” and two lucky fans would get the opportunity to sit there in every match.
Located to the right of the main pavilion, it is just beneath the stadium’s clock tower. Five chairs from the pavilion stand had to be removed to set up this structure. This is perhaps the only cricket stadium where such a monument has been built to celebrate one shot.
The circumstances have changed since. Only Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin are the two surviving members in the current side from that 2011 squad. Memories are sure to come flooding back during Thursday’s clash — Zaheer Khan’s opening spell, Gautam Gambhir’s 97 and Player of the Match Dhoni’s unbeaten 91 off 79 balls.
The 2011 World Cup victory memorial stand at the Wankhede. Telegraph picture
While India have maintained their supremacy in world cricket, Sri Lanka’s fortunes have seen a downslide.
India have maintained an all-win record in their six matches in the ongoing World Cup but Sri Lanka have barely managed to win two of their six matches and are out of contention for a knockout berth.
Another member from the 2011 triumphant team, Sachin Tendulkar, will inaugurate his own statue at the Wankhede on Wednesday evening. The framework depicts his famous lofted shot and will be positioned next to the stand named after the Master Blaster.
The 2011 team had done it for Sachin when Dhoni’s six brought the Cup home after 28 years. Can the current team replicate the feat to end the 12-year drought?