I am not a great fan of the Indian Cricket Team players or of the T20 format. But I love Cricket and I believe that be it Kargil War or Cricket match, we need to beat Pakistan, and beat them all ends out. So, when there was a grand finale between India and Pakistan, I decided to watch.
I was very confident that we would win, come what may. I watched the first innings in Mayajaal on the giant screen. It is a one of a kind experience to watch with people you dont know. We united in common hatred of Pakistan I guess. When we were batting, we clapped for every single run, every mad shot and mourned every wicket with a deathly silence. Gambhir was on song and the rest pitched in. I was very happy with the 157. Honestly, I think thats our normal good performance. Many who were there at Mayajaal were expressing doubts and my PM even decided that we wouldnt go to a place with a screen for dinner. He was convinced we would lose and he did not want to see it. But cricket has its own magic and with a bit of coaxing, he yielded. We went to West Park to see our bowling innings.
It started typical Indian Team style – bad. This time it was Sreesanth who was responsible for it. Everyone around me kept saying we would lose. But to me, that thought was unacceptable. Not only that, I felt this was the way we have bowled for ages… this was nothing new. Then, we took a couple of wickets and they struggled to make runs. The run out of Imran Nazeer had everyone on their heels and we were applauding every dot ball and even the normal fielding effort. When Afridi got out, everyone was on high crescendo. But we made the usual mistake – of getting carried away. We underestimated Misbah and we paid for it in runs. We nearly clutched defeat from the jaws of victory. He gave real treatment to Bhajji.
We were inching towards victory and they were holding on with all that they had. Every cricket fan who watched the last over would definitely have been remided of Javed Miandad and that last ball six that he hit off Chetan Sharma all those many years ago. We have played and won Pakistan many times since then. However, no victory could take away from my mind the image of him hitting that six. I had struggled in the past to exorcise that image. But it wouldnt go. Given the situation in the last over, when Joginder Sharma ran up to bowl, the image loomed too large. When Sreesanth caught the ball off that dumb shot, that image went away without force. I was very happy for that.
The game as such was ordinary, no extraordinary ball was bowled, no great shot was hit and no spectacular catch was taken. But there was fever in the air, there was a lot of energy that dissipated through the screen to those watching. It was a young team and youthful energy has always been infectious. If ever I meet Joginder, I will tell him, "Thanks man, for ringing out the old and giving us a fresh beginning." Much as I know our team wont be consistent, this victory gives me some fresh hope and reason to watch Dhoni’s men. After all, we are world cup winners now!