The 2011 World Cup win is written in India’s cricketing folklore as MS Dhoni’s side won the tournament after 28 years, defeating Sri Lanka in the summit clash. However, it was the semi-final that was the real challenge as the hosts India squared off against arch-rivals Pakistan in Mohali. In the end, the hosts defeated Pakistan by 29 runs to make their way to the final which was played at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has now said that the memory of that semi-final still haunts him.
Akhtar had not played the 2011 World Cup semi-final after he was deemed unfit by the Pakistan team management.
“Mohali memory haunts me, that 2011 World Cup semi-final. They should have played me; they should have played me. The management did not play me, it was completely unfair. I knew that I had just two matches left and I had this desire that at Wankhede, the Pakistan flag is held high and the team is playing the final. I knew that India was under immense pressure. The entire nation and the media were looking up to India which means the entire pressure was on them and we were the underdogs. So, I believed that we shouldn’t have taken the pressure,” Akhtar told Sportskeeda.
“They told me I was unfit. But I went inside, I bowled eight straight overs during the warm-up. If I played that match, no matter what the consequence would have been, whether I would have broken my leg, I would have dismissed Sachin and Sehwag. I knew India would collapse if Sachin and Sehwag were dismissed early. I was really hurt. So, to see that match for 5-6 hours and watch Pakistan lose from the dug-out, I am not that kind of person who cries but I’m a kind of person who breaks things,” he added.
Talking further about his emotions, Akhtar said: “And I did break a few things in the dressing room because I was so sad, disappointed and furious and so was my whole nation. I knew that all it mattered was those first 10 overs.”
In the semi-final, India batted first and posted 260/9 in 50 overs. Sachin Tendulkar top-scored with a knock of 85 while Suresh Raina provided the much-needed impetus to the innings with an unbeaten knock of 36.
Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh all returned with two wickets each as India bundled out Pakistan for 231, winning the match by 29 runs.
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