Chennai, India – "It was the perfect ball at the perfect time." That is how West Indies fast bowler Ravi Rampaul described the superb delivery which he produced to remove India’s batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in Sunday’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
It was the final ball of Rampaul’s first over in the Cricket World Cup and he produced a lifter on the top of off stump which Tendulkar could not handle. The ball took the edge and keeper Devon Thomas accepted the offering. Tendulkar walked and the more than 25,000 fans went silent.
"It was the best ball of my cricket career. It was one of those moments in life you dream of. When I saw him walk I felt great. It was an amazing feeling. I wasn’t sure how to celebrate. Here was I, in one of the biggest matches of my career, getting the wicket of one of the greatest batsmen. I felt really great to get such a massive breakthrough for the team," Rampaul said.
Rampaul was drafted into the starting line-up due to illness to pacer Kemar Roach. He took the opportunity with both hands to get his career-best bowling figures of 5 for 51 from 10 overs. The West Indies however lost the match by 80 runs. The result put India second in the group and the West Indies ended fourth.
"I was happy to get into the team and play my part. It was very exciting to play in front such a large crowd on such a big stage. I went out and got five wickets and I was really happy to get the full support of everyone in the team. I was happy to be able to make the most of my opportunity," said the 26-year-old Rampaul.
"The pitch had some extra bounce at the start of the India innings and I knew if I got the ball in the right areas I would be successful. Later in the innings I got the ball to reverse swing and I attacked the stumps. Things went in my favour and I felt good to get my first five-wicket haul in One-Day cricket."
The West Indies will travel to Dhaka in Bangladesh on Monday for their quarter-final against Pakistan on Wednesday.