Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011

Cricket is a unique sport. Cricket is:
·         A game which can be played for five days as well as for a few minutes.
·         A game which can be played with a book (book cricket), leg(leg cricket) or even with a writing pad(used to play with a writing pad after an examination in school days).
·         A game which can be played on a beach, on a roof top, on a narrow ‘gali’ or on a computer.
·         A game whose rule book can be more amount of information than all what is learnt in RepWri.
·         A game which can lead to stone pelting in player’s houses.
·         A game which can make more than a billion people press the pause buttons on their lives. 

Cricket is perhaps the most complex game possible. Try explaining LBW to someone who has no idea about cricket and you will soon realize that an average Indian must be really smart to call an impact ‘plumb’ in a matter of seconds.

Cricket World Cup is big and it being in India makes it ginormous. This world cup started with India as the favorites, for the first time. India always had a good side(atleast since the start of 21st century). They always had players who could grab victory from the pits of defeat single handedly. However they never seemed to work in cohesion. There was an unknown missing piece. A lacuna. MSD and Kirsten found that missing piece in the past few years and presented before the country, a team, which could replace the legacy of the Australian team of the post 1999 cricketing history.

Thanks to the generous administration at BITS Pilani, we were privileged to watch the match in the auditorium with two thousand fellow students. I have not seen many cricket matches in the stadium. However, I can still say with some amount of confidence, that the atmosphere in the audi can be termed as The next best thing to Wankhede. With face painted people carrying flags, bottles, hooters etc, it was bound to be an exciting show. Mrinal Manuj with his sticks and drums (“DhaTa DhaTad Tad.. Oye ... DhaTad Dhatad Tad ... Oye ”) made it even more special.

 The match started with a toss drama. On retrospection, I am glad that India lost the toss after that, ‘coz this gave the opposition no excuse whatsoever. The first innings was a typical one day innings with runs coming at its own ebb and flow. Zaheer Khan &Co. did a really good job in initial over. A bowling figure of 5-3-6-1 in a cricket final is every bowler’s dream. Till the batting powerplay of SriLanka, my hopes were riding very high on an Indian victory. They batted really well in the last few overs and the game was poised to be memorable, be it a victory for India or a defeat.

The start of the second innings was tragic. It was as if I took a shot of the bitterest drink possible. Sehwag(btw write Sehwag in MS Word and right click to see the spelling suggestions)  got out on the second ball of the match, without scoring a run. If this was not bitter enough, Sachin followed in the 6th  over and I tasted bile. My instinctive reaction was to stand up and leave. Some people left and my only motivation to stay was that I wanted to occupy the seats these guys left. Next few overs were torture. Have you ever imagined how a person, who is sentenced to death, would feel minutes before his execution? I was staring at an imminent collapse. However, history was to be written in a different manner. Before going to the match, Narula(Dada) told me that he has a hunch that Gambhir would play well today; that this might be Gambhir’s day. And so it was. Gambhir played one of the best one day innings I have seen. I have seen Sachin hit many centuries. I have seen the NatWest final. But to stand in front of a bowling attack having Malinga and Murali in it, requires courage. This is a bowling attack which can be likened to a shark. They usually smell blood and take the 10 wickets in a jiffy. Gambhir stood his ground and along with Kohli he managed some fire fighting. Kohli departed and to the surprise of everyone Dhoni came in to the ground. Blah Blah Blah(I’m sure you would hear this  tale uncountable number of times in the days to come)…4 to win from 11 balls.

Image Courtesy: Siva Subrahmanyam

When Dhoni hit the last six over long on, I got numb. I realized that this was going to be the best world cup final that I would EVER be witnessing. My imagination fails me in giving a picture of a world cup final which can possibly be better than this one. What followed the victory was a constant joyous screaming in the audi which continued for hours at stretch in the streets of our campus, to be paused only by ocassional crackers. One of my friends Rahul pointed out that people wouldn’t have been as happy when they got job offers in campus placement. I nodded my head in affirmative as I didn’t remove my tshirt when I got my job. As it has been pointed out by many through facebook status messages that 2007 batch saw the T20 victory and CWC ’11 victory, I can just feel lucky. I remember that day in 2007 very vividly and I will remember 2nd April till my memory lasts. 
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