Under the sang-froid leadership of ‘Cool Captain’, Mahi Dhoni, India cruised through the last 4 matches of the Championship. After the whimsical loss to South Africa (the only loss in the tournament, apart from a tie with England), the Indian side took matters to their pride. It is not everyday day that West Indies crumble so pitifully. Neither very often do we get to see Australia being beaten up to a shameful retreat. The champions for the last 3 consecutive World Cups (1999, 2003 & 2007), who ruled over the Cricketing World for the longest period, had absolutely no chance at defeating the team the had been quoted to have to strongest batting line-up in the tournament. India entered the Semis.
The first duo that comes to mind when we think of Cricketing rivalry is India vs. Pakistan. A fan from ‘any’ corner of the living world, would be a fool to consider any other duel greater. What more could one ask for? (apart, of course, from an Indo-Pak Finale) The semi-final match witnessed some really good moments. The legendary Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis was seen ‘sweating’ under the Mohali heat. The fastest centurion, Shahid Afridi, was seen lurking behind the silhouette at the presentation ceremony. I never saw a better example of what we affectionately call “G**nd fatke haath mein aana” before. India were set to face Sri Lanka in the Finals, a team who were known for their consistent performance throughout the contest, and in Sangakkara’s words a day before the match, “We’re just 100 overs away from glory.” (P20, TOI, April 02 ‘11) (Read on to know how his statement changed!)
After the very “fit-for-a-win-103*” knock by the ex-Lankan-Captain, Jaya and a hefty target of 275, billions of hearts skipped a beat the moment Tendulkar was caught at first slip. The entire nation kept its fingers crossed for the Master Blaster who was all set to complete his ‘Century-Centuries’ in the 2011 World Cup Finals. It was disappointing.
But people, look at it this way, 99 had remained Sachin’s jersey-number for quite a long time. Also, he has been dismissed at the score 99 for the most number of times in the world. After a World Cup win, this is the best time for Tendulkar to step down, at his peak, just one step behind the glorified “100”, marking a respect to the fact that we are human beings, we are imperfect, and kisi mahaan insaan ne kaha bhi hai, “Imperfections make us human, and we love it!”
Mahi was especially impressive in the Finale. Having performed not-so-impressively throughout the season, Mahi took a bold step and came to the field before Yuvi. His responsible knock of 91* was quick, saved our asses, and ended with a hard hit that set the ball flying to the stands at Wankhede. The look on Dhoni’s face when he hit the sixer wasn’t joy. It was Pride. He froze in that stance for a moment, and then swung the bat as if it was a sword.
At Indian Standard Time 22:45, we became World Champions. The victory shot ended the 28-year long wait.
The team dedicated the win to the nation and Sachin Tendulkar. Said Sachin, “This is the proudest moment of my life.” Gary Kirsten was a proud coach. Man of the match: Dhoni, Series: Yuvi. Sangakkara said, “Indians were unstoppable. Anything less than 350 would not have been enough to restrict them."
“And India lifts the 2011 ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP…”
Champagne and Pride all around…
Fucking proud to be an Indian…!
What more do I write…
Yeh India ka Cricket hai…Bhidu!
P.S: A dear friend’s composition (Hope you don’t mind Sid!), do check it out http://mystochasticworld.blogspot.com/2011/04/moment.html