Thursday, April 07, 2011

World Champions!! Atlast!!

1983 is quite a long time back, and all that I know about India lifting the Cricket World Cup is from the iconic still in which Kapil Dev holds the trophy in Lords. Fast-forwarding 20 years, I was in the cross-roads of writing the MOST_IMPORTANT_EXAM of my life, the 12th standard public exam. In spite of that, I saw all the matches that India played. India had an humiliating defeat vs Australia in the qualifying round and went on to win everyone(England, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri lanka to name some) else convincingly.

Some of the most memorable matches were played in that world cup series, The hook shot from sachin in shoib's over(India vs Pakistan) etched in the minds of the people forever. It is comparable to the Aamir Sohail's wicket taken by Venkatesh Prasad in the 1996 world cup!! We were basically cruising in that world cup, only to meet Australia in the finals. I had my Computer Science public exam the next day and to my horror saw India getting pelted by Ponting and his men!! I could see India loosing their hold on the World cup and myself on the computer science exam.

Heart-broken, Literally everybody was in tears. I gave my best shot in the Exam and stopped watching Cricket from then on. Now and then I would just check the scores in The Hindu and come to know who won what. In 2007 world cup India had to face crushing defeat in the hands of Srilanka and Bangladesh eventually getting kicked out in the qualifying rounds itself. Towards the end of that year, I got the chance to watch IPL Ist Edition in bangalore between Chennai Super Kings & Royal Challengers, Bangalore. The crowd was crazy(that means us) and the cheer was maddening. We supported CSK and it was a crucial win for CSK, in the end

Under Dhoni, India lifted the 20-20 world cup in 2007, CSK lifted IPL - 3rd edition. Again it was the time for the World Cup in 2011 and initially, India tied/lost 2 matches but qualified easily for the quarter finals against Australia. Till then, I followed the world-cup only from the newspapers. Now the heat was on, though it was tempting, I resisted and followed only in Cricinfo that too the second half of the second Innings. Yuvaraj and Raina took India safely and knocked Australia out of the series. It was a sweet revenge for the the loss we had in 2003. I was more than happy and the next hurdle was Pakistan in Semi-finals.

The media and the politics involved took the match between India and Pakistan to the next level and inadvertently created unwanted pressure on the players on both the sides. Being Superstitious esp in cricket, I followed this match too in cricinfo and it was real fun to see the status updates in FB and Twitter. And so we moved to the finals, the celebration back in India knew no bounds, and I dutifully saw them in youtube, what else I could do? Our generation never knew how India celebrated in 1983, but I am sure it would not be anywhere close to this.

The venue for the final clash between India and Sri Lanka was Mumbai and SriLanka played first and possed a formidable score of 274!! India lost sehwag and sachin by 32 and the future looked bleak. Thankfully I didn't follow this and was sleeping peacefully paying heed to my superstitious beliefs. And when I got up and checked cricinfo, Gambhir and Dhoni was slowly but steadily closing in the gap. I knew that India is making history this time and I couldn't suppress my curiousity anymore. I started watching the match in some streaming channel. Inch by Inch we were closing on, though we lost Gambhir. Yuvraj kept the required run rate low while Dhoni was rotating the strike. When we had 11 balls and 4 runs to win, Voila!! Dhoni's finished the match with a SIX!! He scripted the masterstroke with his infamous Helicopter shot and made History!! India is now the World Champions and lifted the 2011 World Cup!!

The stadium/celebration was electrifying. The 28 year wait finally paid off and we lifted the cup in India, happiness and excitement knew no bounds. Sachin's resume is complete and Dhoni is the best Indian captian of all times. Kapil Dev's 1983 world cup trophy brought the passion for cricket into this country, Sachin's 22 year crusade in Indian cricket made young/old, rich/poor, men/women to closely follow the sport. Dhoni's 2011 world cup is a dedication to the 1.2 billion hearts which beat together irrespective of the differences in language/custom/religion, whenever India played. Never before in the whole history of mankind would one-sixth of the world population would have completely forgot everything and jumped up in joy and celebrated. The celebration was not confined to India alone, the NRIs across the world celebrated and took to the streets. The whole world felt a lot lighter that day!!

It is quite a privilege to be in this era and watch this, it is one moment to cherish and recall back in posterity to the future generation....