Across the country in streets, parks and other open spaces, people danced, sang, chanted and blew trumpets till long past midnight, some watching large television screens and others by small tv sets in poorer areas.
India and Sri Lanka were widely regarded as evenly matched before the game began. Sri Lanka batted first and scored an unexpectedly high total 274 runs for six wickets in its 50 overs, setting a difficult target for India that began badly.
India lost one wicket before any runs were scored and its star player, Sachin Tendulkar (below), was quickly out for just 18 runs, which meant he could not go for his 100th century. But steady scoring by two other players, Gautam Gambhir and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, gradually built up the 275 with six wickets in hand.
The celebrations far exceeded those last Wednesday night after India beat Pakistan. Those lasted for an hour or so, but last night in Delhi, where roads in the centre of the city were clogged, revellers were still partying after 3am, as they were elsewhere in the country.
That put the India-Pakistan rivalry and victory in context – beating its neighbour was an essential and important step for India, but only a step towards last night’s world victory.
See also: India beats Pakistan at cricket but unites for peace talks http://wp.me/pieST-1hh March 31 ’11