Andrew Alderson: India wanted it the most

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As former India and now New Zealand coach John Wright has reiterated at length over the past few weeks: you can't coach "want".

India demonstrated "want" more than Sri Lanka to win their second World Cup title by six wickets with 10 balls to spare. The Indians showed that in the months leading up to the final where sponsors indulged in trite marketing concepts as "bleed blue", "change the game" and "incredible India", there was some mettle in the team behind such glib façades.

They turned the flaky concept of destiny into firm reality and broke the country's 28-year Cup drought. They are the first team to win the World Cup at home.

The players channelled - or possibly ignored - the endless endorsements and hype surrounding the tournament. They needed to. The chase of 275 was the highest completed at a World Cup final, a record haul on this ground and just the third time a team batting second had won in 10 tournament finales. Getting that took courage.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed "want", promoting himself to take responsibility at five in the order. That sort of pluck is how his marketing company managed to sign him to his most recent endorsement deal of US$50 million over two years from July.

His highest previous score this tournament was 34 but he played to the manor born with a closing knock of 91 not out including a six over long-on to win it. One imagines that footage will get a decent run across Indian media for generations to come.

It seemed appropriate the player of the tournament Yuvraj Singh should be at the wicket to finish the chase. He launched into an embrace with Dhoni but only once the skipper had the presence of mind to grab a stump as a memento first.

The team then invaded the field, the obligatory fireworks started and - after the initial tumult - Sachin Tendulkar was launched onto shoulders and transported on a lap of honour around his home ground. It was an appropriate footnote to winning the World Cup on his sixth attempt.

Gautam Gambhir also demonstrated why he is in demand in the Indian Premier League for US$2.4 million a season with 97.

In contrast, Mahela Jayawardene's anchoring century for Sri Lanka is now an unfortunate trivia question. He is the only player of the six to score a hundred in a World Cup final - the others being Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Aravinda de Silva, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist - not to win it.

The 33,000 Wankhede Stadium crowd was a fascinating barometer of match momentum. Upul Tharanga edged Zaheer Khan to slip; joy. Dhoni caught Kumar Sangakkara; delirium, Sehwag was plumb to Lasith Malinga; anguish, Tendulkar was caught behind; silence. Dhoni scored the winning runs; pandemonium.

One minute the amphitheatre would be engulfed in a sea of saffron, white and green Indian flags, the next an image of Sri Lanka's yellow lion holding a sword upright in its right forepaw would bloom in pockets as fortunes fluctuated.

India's composure with the bat under pressure was countered by Sri Lanka's lack of bowling venom. Not even the injury-haunted Muralitharan could save them, nor extend his world record of 534 ODI wickets in his last game. In hindsight Jayawardene's 103 off 88 balls - arguably the 33-year-old's best one-day innings in a 12-year career in that format - was not supported well enough.

He proved he had learnt from leading a losing side against Australia in the dimming light at Bridgetown four years ago, yet could not manufacture a better result.

The chief effect of India's win means 50-over cricket is now likely to get a reprieve. The format will now be a protected species to the 2015 tournament in Australasia, and possibly beyond.

Surely, India will want it.

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