A generational triumph: revisiting the 2011 World Cup

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A generational triumph: revisiting the 2011 World Cup

We rewind to the 2011 World Cup that was jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh – and talk about ODI cricket back then, the bowler-friendly nature of many games, the big upsets, the nail-biting finishes, and a cathartic moment for India – and a generation that had never knew what it meant to win a World Cup.

Talking Points:

  • The roundabout connection between the hosts of the 2011 World Cup and India taking part in the 2007 World T20
  • How India had turned into a feisty ODI side leading up to the World Cup
  • The close ODI series in South Africa before the World Cup
  • Sehwag and Kohli trouncing Bangladesh in the opening game
  • The pulsating tie against England in Bangalore
  • Australia’s first loss in a World Cup since 1999 – against Pakistan
  • Steyn leading South Africa to a thrilling win in Nagpur
  • Sri Lanka thriving in their home conditions – throttling the opponents
  • Sri Lanka’s thumping of England in the quarter-final – and echoes of 1996
  • India’s bowling attack – dealing in cutters, slower ones and knuckle-balls
  • An unforgettable night at the Motera – when India overcame Australia
  • The hype before Mohali – and the eventual anti-climax of India v Pakistan
  • Mahela’s silken grace in the final – an innings for the gods
  • The riveting partnership between Gambhir and Kohli
  • Dhoni… finishes off in style


Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee)

DP Prashant (@prashantdptweet)

Ashoka (@ABVan)

Mahesh Sethuraman (@cornerd)


Buy The Summer Game by Gideon Haigh (recently republished by 81allout)

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Australia (paperback, e-copy)

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  • Previous 81allout episodes on World Cups – 1987, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2003
  • On Board Test, Trial, and Triumph: My Years in BCCI – Ratnakar Shetty – Amazon
  • The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back – Yuvraj Singh – Amazon
  • ‘I wanted to hug him and hit him at the same time till he confirmed we’d won the World Cup’ – India’s players look back on their triumph – The Cricket Monthly¬†
  • BJP’s Control of Cricket in India – Sharda Ugra – Caravan
  • Kevin O’Brien’s record century against England – ICC – YouTube
  • War Minus the Shooting – Revisiting the 1996 World Cup through a classic book – 81allout podcast


Lead image from Wikipedia Commons

6 thoughts on “A generational triumph: revisiting the 2011 World Cup”

  1. Excellent podcast. I remember being a 12 year old during the 2003 WC when we reached the final and being heart broken as a kid. The 2011 WC during college. I remember there being a huge screen put up at our canteen and some 1000 kids watching it at the same time. It was a cathartic moment and looking back now, it was a cathartic moment for me and the moment I could move on from the 2003 final. After the winning six, the entire city (of Surat) was on the road. Our college (NIT-Surat) gates normally closed at 10pm, but this not a normal day. We celebrated till dawn. I am not sure I will have that again in my life. Truly a great day!

    1. Thanks for the memories, Darshan. It meant a lot for many of us who had watched Indian cricket through the disappointments of the 1990s and 2000s. Pretty sure so many went through an experience similar to yours.

  2. Great pod as usual. Brings back memories especially of my dog Coco ( who passed last year)- who was a puppy that time. Used to carry him to different friends’ houses in the Bay Area to watch each India game.

    The quarter final win vs Aus was a big one. India’s depth for subcontinental conditions really showed especially while chasing under lights. Kohli’s maturity was telling- a superstar in the making. Some of his innings went under the radar like you guys pointed out like the one in the final. Others were the 59 he got vs West Indies.

    Zaheer was my player of the tournament. Without him it would have been tough to go all the way. He was economical and got wickets regularly whenever he was on and prevented oppositions from getting away- esp QF vs Aus and final vs Lanka.

    Are there any worthy books movies/docus made on the 2011 World Cup?

  3. Thank you for this episode which brings back many fond memories. I have been listening to your podcast for a few years now. This World Cup was when I discovered cricket, being an exchange student from France in JNU, Delhi during the year 2010-11. I remember stopping by to watch the end of the QF against Australia as a screening was set up outside my university hostel. That’s when I first decoded the rules. Then waiting with great anticipation for the SF, which I watched from the first to the last ball, then again the final. I remember the students bowing down to salute Sachin as he was interviewed at the end of the semi. I remember feeling, at the end of Sri Lanka’s innings, that whichever team eventually wins will have rightly deserved it. I remember the pure joy that took over the campus at the end of the final, my admiration for Gambhir and for Dhoni, so much hanging on to so little. In the following weeks, I read the cricket pages in the dailies in the hostel entrance. That’s where I learnt about the IPL and Chris Gayle. I even went to IPL games at the Kotla. I returned to India the next summer, a friend of a friend told me about cricinfo, and here I am 12 years down the line.
    I have never stopped following the game since, even after returning to France, even on my own.

    1. Thanks so much. Such a lovely memory. Glad you were introduced to the game in those heady weeks. And glad you continue to follow it even now.

  4. With this episode done, now I have listened to every 81allout podcast. I had kept this one as the last as this is the fondest cricket memory of my life. When India beat Australia in QF, I felt that they could win it. Writing this on the morning of another SF with a trophy drought and my gut telling me that England is going to smash India in the face just like in 2022. It is amazing what bowling India won in 2011 or 07. India since then has had its greatest wicket-takers in Bumrah, Kuldeep, Shami, Siraj or even Chahal and has not won anything, which lies in the complete contradiction of saying that bowlers win the tournaments. I recently saw Ashwin tweeting that wicket-taking is overrated in white ball cricket, an interesting perspective from a great mind. I guess the difference is that in test cricket a bowler can single-handedly win a match which he or she can in ODI or t20 too but a batter cannot win a test singlehandedly, perhaps a batter can do that in t20 on a few days if the things go right. Great podcast, and great memories, I was 17 and very hopeful that India would win, I was quite a nationalistic fan then. Now I am a supporter of the Indian team like it is my favourite club team and loss does not affect me as much as it used to then, but I am more anxious or negative about their chances before a tournament than those days. Bilateral series are better to enjoy, this tournament curse and narrative keep going on every year and only increases.

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