Sri Lanka qualified for the knockouts with a second-place finish in "Group A. They won four of their six games, suffered a defeat against Pakistan and against Australia was washed out. Being level on points with Australia, they were placed second in the group due to their better net run rate.
India were drawn in "Group B where they finished second behind South Africa. They managed wins in four of their six games, lost one against South Africa while their game against England was a high scoring tie.
Sri Lanka had clinically demolished England in the quarter final, defeating them by 10 wickets. Both the Sri Lankan openers, "Tillakaratne Dilshan and "Upul Tharanga made unbeaten centuries and put up a world-record stand for the first wicket in a World Cup. The New Zealand semi-final was more keenly contested, but was still won with relative ease by Sri Lanka. The matches showcased the effective unconventional bowling of pace spearhead "Lasith Malinga, restrictive fielding, and the batting prowess of the Sri Lankan top order.
Both of India's knockout matches were high-pressure contests. Australia was a strong team and defending champion, and India had to give a very good performance to restrict Australia to 260 and then successfully chase down the target even as wickets fell regularly. Pakistan and India have historically been rivals, and there was immense public pressure on both teams. The match was attended by the "Prime Ministers of both India and Pakistan. India batted first and ultimately defeated Pakistan by 29 runs.
India largely retained the same team it had in the semi-final against Pakistan, with just one change. "Ashish Nehra, left-arm medium "pacer, had suffered a finger fracture while fielding in that match, and he was replaced by another pacer, "Sreesanth. India was widely rated as having the strongest batting line-up in the tournament, and chose to back this strength throughout the campaign by playing seven batsmen and four bowlers. Due to "Yuvraj Singh performing well with both bat and ball in the tournament, India could afford to play with only four specialist bowlers. Yuvraj bowled his full quota of 10 overs in many matches, including the semi-final against Pakistan. Among the four bowling slots, "Zaheer Khan was the pace spearhead supported in most matches by "Munaf Patel, while "Harbhajan Singh was the regular "off-spinner. The fourth slot was taken by different bowlers in different matches, including Sreesanth, Nehra, "leg-spinner "Piyush Chawla, or off-spinner "Ravichandran Ashwin. The captain had chosen Nehra over Ashwin in the match against Pakistan also. Indian captain "Mahendra Singh Dhoni had then said he preferred having three "seamers (a synonym for a fast bowler) because it gave him more options. He already had proven spinners in Harbhajan and Yuvraj, and could call upon many other Indian players who can bowl part-time spin (including "Sachin Tendulkar, "Virat Kohli, "Suresh Raina, and "Virender Sehwag).
Sri Lanka made four changes to their side from the semi-final. "All-rounder "Angelo Mathews had suffered a torn quadriceps and could not play. Sri Lanka knew the Indians' strength was batting, and thus they needed to take wickets to put them under pressure. This led to their choosing a full complement of bowlers. Spin bowler "Ajantha Mendis had performed well throughout the tournament, but he had a poor record against India in pre-World Cup clashes and was not chosen for the final. Spinner "Rangana Herath was also dropped. Off-spinner "Suraj Randiv and batsman "Chamara Kapugedera were flown in from Sri Lanka to strengthen the side. Seamers "Nuwan Kulasekara and "Thisara Perera, who had played matches in the earlier group stage, were drafted into the team. Legendary spinner "Muttiah Muralitharan was carrying minor injuries, but was retained. He had announced that he would retire from One Day International cricket after the World Cup, so this was his last match. The semi-final held at the "Premadasa Stadium in "Colombo was his last ODI match on home soil, and there he had been carried around the stadium, perched on his teammates' shoulders, on a lap of honour after that match.
The on-field umpires were "Simon Taufel of Australia and "Aleem Dar of Pakistan, with "Ian Gould being the third (TV) umpire. All of these umpires are highly rated; Taufel has won 5 ICC Umpire of the Year awards, while Dar has won two. Taufel had never been able to officiate in a World Cup final because Australia had been qualifying for the finals in the last four editions. "Jeff Crowe was the match referee and "Steve Davis the reserve umpire.
A controversy developed when "Kumar Sangakkara called the toss. The toss came up as heads, but the match referee "Jeff Crowe did not hear the call over the crowd. It was decided that there would be a re-toss. Sangakkara called heads as the coin was spun the second time. He won the re-toss and elected to bat.
Sri Lanka started the innings slowly, constrained by good bowling from "Zaheer Khan and committed fielding from "Yuvraj Singh, "Suresh Raina, and "Virat Kohli inside the 30-yard circle. Zaheer began with three consecutive "maidens and the wicket of "Upul Tharanga, conceding only six runs in his five-over spell. Sri Lankan opener "Tillakaratne Dilshan was "bowled by "Harbhajan Singh when a delivery carried on to the stumps after deflecting off his gloves. Captain Kumara Sangakkara came in after Tharanga's dismissal, and was building a solid foundation with Dilshan before the latter was dismissed. "Mahela Jayawardene came to the crease when Sri Lanka were 60/2 in the 17th over. Sangakkara and Mahela went about the task of consolidating the innings, but eventually Sangakkara was caught behind by Dhoni at 48. New batsman "Thilan Samaraweera was adjudged not out by the umpire when a ball hit his thigh pad off the bowling of Yuvraj Singh. The Indians decided to review the decision and he was ultimately given out. "Chamara Kapugedera, who was playing his first World Cup match, was caught off a deceptive slower ball by Zaheer Khan. Jayawardene, meanwhile, continued with his quality batting, ultimately scoring 103 "not out from 88 balls in a high-class batting display. Helped by the hard-hitting of "Nuwan Kulasekara and "Thisara Perera, Sri Lanka scored 91 runs in the last 10 overs, including 63 in the batting powerplay (45–50 overs) to take the score to 274/6.
India had a shaky start, with "Virender Sehwag and "Sachin Tendulkar both "dismissed early by "Lasith Malinga, leaving them struggling at 31 for two. Sehwag was trapped "LBW for a "duck on the second ball of the "innings. Tendulkar started with some good strokes, racing to 18 off 14 balls, but then edged a catch to "wicketkeeper Sangakkara. "Virat Kohli and "Gautam Gambhir started the recovery with some fluent stroke play and quick running between wickets, taking India to 114 before Kohli was caught-and-bowled by "Tillakaratne Dilshan for 35. When he was on 30, Gambhir mistimed a shot off the bowling of "Suraj Randiv, sending the ball high up in the air, but Nuwan Kulasekara could not hold on to a difficult chance at "long off. Kohli and Gambhir put together an 83-run partnership before Kohli's dismissal. Dhoni came in after Kohli to bat at number five, usually the position of "Yuvraj Singh. Both Kohli and Dhoni are right-handed batsmen, while Gambhir and Yuvraj are left-handed. Along with other considerations, by coming ahead of Yuvraj, Dhoni ensured there would be a right-left batting combination between him and Gambhir, which makes it difficult for the bowlers to get into a rhythm, and necessitates frequent field changes. Both Gambhir and Dhoni emphasised on preserving the wickets, and later accelerating with a greater flow of "boundaries. Gambhir and Dhoni added 109 for the fourth wicket with Gambhir scoring 97. Gambhir tried to finish his "century with a boundary, but his heaving bat failed to connect with the ball, and he was "bowled by Thisara Perera. Following Gambhir's dismissal, 52 runs were required off 52 balls. Yuvraj Singh was the new batsman and along with Dhoni took India to victory, and Dhoni sealed the match hitting a six off Nuwan Kulasekara,when only 4 runs were required off 11 balls. Dhoni finished on 91 not out from 79 deliveries. Like in many other day-night matches in the subcontinent, dew started to form on the outfield grass in the night, making the ball damp and difficult to grip especially in the later part of India's batting. However, this was a known factor and was taken into consideration by the Sri Lankan captain when he chose to bat first after winning the toss. By crossing the target of 274, India had set a record for the highest successful run-chase in a World Cup final.
At the end of the match, the batting strength of both the teams stood out. The three top run scorers of this tournament were from these finalists: Tillekaratne Dilshan (500 runs), Sachin Tendulkar (482), and Kumar Sangakkara (465). In the top 10 tournament scorers, there were 3 from Sri Lanka (Upul Tharanga (395) in addition to the previous two), and 4 from India (Gautam Gambhir (393), Virender Sehwag (380), and Yuvraj Singh (362) in addition to Sachin).
In the post-match presentation, the Sri Lankan captain "Kumar Sangakkara said that the Indians batted very well, and "looks like you need to make something like 350 runs to put them under pressure." The Indian captain "MS Dhoni said that he had added motivation to play well to justify some unexpected decisions he had made for this match, like playing "Sreesanth instead of "Ashwin, and promoting himself up the order above "Yuvraj. MS Dhoni was named "Man of the Match for his powerful and match-winning batting display under pressure. Yuvraj Singh was named Man of the Tournament for good all-round performance with both bat and ball throughout the tournament.
After the presentation, an ecstatic Indian team first held the Cup amid showers of champagne and confetti. Some Indian players, including "Harbhajan Singh, "Sachin Tendulkar, and "Yuvraj Singh, had tears in their eyes. The team then carried iconic player Tendulkar on a victory lap around the stadium. Coach "Gary Kirsten was also carried around the ground later. The Indian players dedicated their victory to Tendulkar; "Virat Kohli said, "he has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It is time we carried him on our shoulders." "Gautam Gambhir dedicated the victory to the victims of the 26/11 "Mumbai attacks, and to the soldiers guarding India's borders.
Celebrations went on through the night in the team hotel. The victory prompted several firework displays and celebrations throughout India. In Sri Lanka, however there were only a few firework displays.
The final match was "broadcast live in India on "ESPN Star Sports' website and state-run "free-to-air broadcasters "Doordarshan and "DD1. In Sri Lanka the match was on "Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation's Channel Eye.
The ratings agencies TAM and "aMap respectively recorded that 135 million people in India watched the final live, including 67.6 million Indian cable and satellite viewers. The game was watched by 13.6% of Indian TV-equipped households on average, with a peak of 21.44% at the end of the game. 
Though Sri Lankan spectators were initially disappointed, they eventually rallied behind their team and welcomed them at the airport with garlands, cheers, and celebration. Sri Lanka's excellent performance through the world cup was appreciated, and it was recognised that reaching the final was a significant achievement in itself. Opening batsman Tillekaratne Dilshan was the highest run scorer in the tournament, with Sangakkara being the third highest (the second highest was Sachin Tendulkar of India).
The Sri Lankan President "Mahinda Rajapaksa hosted High Tea for the Sri Lankan players and spouses on the grounds of the Presidential residence, "Temple Trees.
Indian fans were ecstatic at the win, and at the overall performance of the team through the tournament. Celebrations went on through most of India over the weekend.
The Indian President "Pratibha Patil hosted High Tea for the Indian players and spouses on the grounds of the Raj Bhavan (Governor's House) in Mumbai.
There was no ticker tape parade for the team on an open bus (as was organised after the "2007 Twenty20 World Cup win) because of the hectic schedule, with the 2011 edition of the "Indian Premier League starting on 8 April.
Apart from the World Cup trophy itself, the Indian team was given many prizes from the cricket board, various state governments, and public and private companies.
After some days of deliberation, Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan captain announced on 5 April that he was resigning from the post of captain of the One Day International and "Twenty20 sides in the long-term interest of the team. According to him, as he would be 37 by the time of the 2015 World Cup, could not be sure of his place in the side then and it would be better for a new captain to be groomed now, who would be at the peak of his career during that tournament. He stated he was willing to captain the team for the upcoming tours of England and possibly Australia if the selectors felt this would aid the transition to a new captaincy. A day after Sangakkara's announcement, Mahela Jayawardene resigned from the post of vice-captain, and "Aravinda de Silva from the post of Chairman of Selectors.
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