The Australian media raised a toast to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's "bold" leadership as it declared India the worthy world champions who defied history and intense pressure to come out triumphant in the summit showdown against Sri Lanka.
The newspSachin Tendulkar" title="Sachin Tendulkar" />apers here said Dhoni's leadership and his performance in the final match in Mumbai stole the limelight from iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar who was playing in his sixth World Cup.
With its headline reading 'India defies history to win its first World Cup in 28 years', 'The Australian' said though it was not a fairytale finish but nonetheless India were the deserved world champions.
"It was about two great South Asian teams giving fans a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat one day final and a deserved triumph for a cricketing nation which felt its time had come. It wasn't a fairytale finish but for Mumbai and a nation still licking its wounds, it was more than enough," the newspaper said.
It said the current Indian team showed that it was no longer solely dependent on Tendulkar to win matches.
"Tendulkar might have been the name on everyone's lips but if ever there was a sign that the Indian team has moved beyond its one-man juggernaut, Saturday night's gritty victory was it.
"The team showed determination and discipline that surprised even the most nationalist fans to snatch a victory every man in the team then dedicated to their diminutive teammate playing in his sixth and final World Cup," it said.
"The win bore little resemblance to the fairytale finish the Mumbai crowd had been hoping for; one in which Sachin Tendulkar saw out his final World Cup by hitting his hundredth century before his home town crowd."
The newspaper described Dhoni as an "all-conquering captain" who now rivals Tendulkar in popularity.
"The 29-year-old is already cricket's top earner after signing a record two-year, $42 million contract last year to endorse whatever product comes his way, and after Saturday night's remarkable home-ground win against Sri Lanka, his marketability knows no bounds.
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