London: "Masterly Dhoni brings joy to the whole of India" -- read one of the several headlines in the British media, which gave a collective round of applause to the Indian team for ending its 28-year-old wait to lift a second World Cup title.
India defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in the final in Mumbai last night to lift the coveted trophy which they last won in 1983 under Kapil Dev.
The press was full of praise for current Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led from the front with a 91-run knock, to guide India home while chasing a stiff 275 for victory.
"The epitome of new India dominated the match (World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka)," `The Observer` commented.
"Masterly Dhoni brings joy to the whole of India," said `The Guardian`.
"Dhoni is young enough to lead India to the next World Cup when he will be quite a rich man. Sachin Tendulkar could only contribute the briefest of cameos in his home town, 18 in 14 balls," said the newspaper`s cricket writer Vic Marks.
"As for Muralitharan, initially he was treated with respect, but towards the end Dhoni punched him through the covers with awesome power. By the standards of old, Murali was bowling donkey drops and with his body creaking, he could not muster any more venom.
"Towards the end he held out his hands in exasperation at the wet ball, at the misfields, but the true cause of his despair was the realisation that he was impotent to stem the Indian tide. Sangakkara did not even turn to him when the position was dire," he added.
The `News of the World`, headlined its story "Justice Dhoni, India`s joy after toss row."
It said, "Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara was at the center of a cheat row before India stormed to a thrilling six-wicket World Cup win.
"Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni ultimately smashed a huge six with 10 balls to spare to start the mother of all parties in the host country," it said.
According to the `Sunday Times`, India`s victory will be all the sweeter for it came without a major score from Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag. In the past, they might have wobbled but the middle order looked solid as it produced stands of 83, 109 and 54.
"The way Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, M S Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh batted showed a self-assurance that had not been so evident when collapsing against England, South Africa and West Indies in the group stage."
In another write up in the same newspaper, Martin Johnson wrote "Nerveless Dhoni puts his house in order."
"India`s captain and his team take pressure in their stride on way to a famous triumph.
"The hush when Sehwag was out to the second ball of the innings was nothing compared to the one when Tendulkar failed to expedite the script that had him winning the game single-handedly with his 100th international hundred, and anyone watching at home must have thought they`d accidentally sat down on the mute button," he said.
"It must have been tough for Dhoni to watch, which is perhaps why he promoted himself in the order. There was a job to do, and the captain decided to do it. Mind you, it shouldn`t have been difficult to motivate himself. It was partly through a burning desire to do it for Mother India, but mostly a determination not to have to get the double-glazers in," he added.
The newspaper said India`s victory will add spice to England`s summer.
"India are due to tour to play four Tests and five one-day internationals and the teams then meet for five ODIs and three Twenty20s in India later in the year."
The `Sunday Telegraph` said, "India owed their second World Cup to their magnificent batsmen. Their two finest - Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag - did not score 20 between them, yet the remaining Indian batsmen knocked off the runs with six wickets and ten balls to spare in the highest successful run-chase that any of the ten cup finals has seen."
The report said, "The weight of expectation on India was enormous - from the outset of this tournament they have been the favourites - but they followed the example of their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in withstanding it. If Brazil win a football World Cup at home, they will have a small and silent fan-base compared to the Indian cricket team last
evening and their 1.2 billion home supporters."
It said India`s joy made for a sad last international match for Sri Lanka`s spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, not to mention for Mahela Jayawardene.
"The latter scored a century of almost sublime beauty, only to see it outweighed by Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni in their partnership of 109.
"For in addition to marshalling the run-chase, he had to overcome the disappointment of apparently winning the toss, only to be told to do it again and losing it. Lesser personalities would have been flustered, but not Dhoni."
"It was Gambhir who brought India`s run-chase alive after Malinga`s opening attack had India reeling. He has lived in the shadow of Tendulkar and Sehwag but at the crucial moment he burst forth with 97 from only 122 balls, attacking the pace and spin bowlers with equal flourish - except that it was against Dilshan`s off-spin that the crucial moment came and Gambhir, on 30, was dropped at long-off by Nuwan Kulasekara
"Dhoni rounded the final off, and unleashed the fireworks, with a shot worthy of the occasion - a pull-drive that sent the ball over wide mid-on and into the admiring hordes. He was rightly the man of the match, for what he had been through and yet come out triumphantly.
"It was also a great night for Tendulkar, who did not make his 100th international hundred but who was carried around the outfield at the finish on the shoulders of his adoring teammates."