MUMBAI, India (AP) — India won cricket's World Cup for the first time in 28 years Saturday with a six-wicket victory at home over Sri Lanka.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided the runs and helped the great Sachin Tendulkar to his first title in six attempts. Tendulkar was lifted onto his teammates' shoulders for a victory lap.
"It's the ultimate thing and I'm experiencing it," Tendulkar said. "I couldn't have asked for anything better. It's the proudest moment of my life."
Tendulkar was out for 18, unable to produce his 100th international century on his homeground. Still, his teammates dedicated the victory to him.
"He carried the hopes of the nation for 21 years so it's time we carried him on our shoulders," batsman Virat Kohli said.
The 37-year-old Tendulkar, the leading runscorer in international cricket, praised his teammates.
"It's never too late as they say. Thanks to all my teammates. Without such fabulous performance and such consistency it would never have happened," he said, adding he wasn't too proud to shed a tear. "They were happy tears, so I wouldn't mind crying."
Dhoni scored an unbeaten 91, sharing a 109-run stand with Gautam Gambhir (97) and finishing with a giant six. India chased down Sri Lanka 274-6 and became the first team to win batting second in a final since Sri Lanka beat Australia by eight wickets in 1996. Australia won the three previous World Cups — 1999, 2003 and 2007.
There was no winning farewell to international cricket for Muttiah Muralitharan, the only survivor from Sri Lanka's 1996 winning squad.
Muralitharan, the leading wicket taker in international cricket, was slowed by injuries. He did not have the spring he needs for the extra spin that has bamboozled batsmen for a generation.
The result also made Mahela Jayawardene the first batsmen to score a century in a World Cup final and end up on a losing team.
The match tilted twice, with India on top at the start before some late hitting led by Jayawardene. Lasith Malinga removed both Indian openers in an express pace opening spell to keep the visitors on track, but India's long batting lineup remained calm enough to keep grinding the target down.
Sri Lanka made an uncharacteristically sluggish start after winning the toss, the top three of Upul Tharanga (2), Tillakaratne Dilshan (33) and Sangakkara (48) slightly misfiring for a rare time in the tournament.
The match started amid confusion when referee Jeff Crowe ordered a second coin toss because he couldn't hear Sangakkara's call. Sangakkara won the second toss, a rarity in the international game, and was relieved to be batting first.