Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The 1st World T20 Final

In the Air...Sreesanth… Takes It…India WINS” – boomed Ravi Shastri as Misbah-ul-Haq’s attempted scoop shot was caught much short of its intended destination. And with that final act, India became the inaugural World Twenty20 champions.

For the Indian fan, it was a perfect finale to a near-perfect event. A world tournament final victory, coming over your historical arch-rivals was just the balm needed to heal the wounds from the ODI World Cup earlier in the year.

The tournament had been a grand spectacle. Music, player introductions, bowl-outs, fireworks and dancing cheerleaders were some of the innovations which were well received by the audience. For the marketing men, the final was a dream match-up like the perfect icing on the cake. The finalists— India and Pakistan – historical arch-rivals, both seeking redemption for their respective horrendous show in the ODI World Cup. They had played a thrilling tie earlier in the tournament which India won 3-nil in a bowl-out.

India suffered a setback before the start with Virender Sehwag missing the final through injury. In came debutant Yusuf Pathan as his replacement. Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first. Pathan began his international career in a spectacular fashion launching the very second ball he faced from Asif into the stands but he fell soon after. Gautam Gambhir played a steady hand while wickets fell regularly at the other end.  The most memorable moment of the innings arrived when Gambhir smashed a six straight into the scoreboard. “That’s one way to get the scoreboard moving” was the gem from the commentary box. India ended up with a seemingly below-par total of 157.

Pakistan should have chased this in a canter but the World Cup final has its own pressures. Tight bowling and fielding combined with some reckless shots had handed over the initiative to India. The Indian fans thought the match was in the bag but Misbah had other ideas. There was a flurry of big shots while wickets kept falling at the other end.

Pakistan needed 13 runs off the last over with Misbah on strike and only one wicket remaining. Here Dhoni made the crucial choice. He handed the ball to Joginder Sharma ahead of the much more experienced Harbhajan Singh. Dhoni’s sheer gut feeling seemed to be the only logical explanation for this choice as Joginder bowled a wide and then was hit for a straight six. Everyone’s nerves were all over the place and Misbah seemed to be the only calm one. And then the third ball of the over. Misbah tried the scoop shot, the ball seemed to have been hit perfectly rising in the air as we saw the crowds in the background. With bated breath, we saw the ball begin its descent. Was it going to cross the boundary or was it falling short? The ball came down and landed safely into the hands of the waiting short fine leg fielder. Misbah was down to his haunches and the Indian team was celebrating.
I was watching the game with some hundred others in my college common room, which had never been so crowded before. There had been a hushed silence with everyone doing their best not to jinx the Indian team by any sort of movement. Sressanth caught the ball and the whole room erupted. An instant party followed.

All thoughts of assignments and submissions for the next day had gone for a toss. They would wait. After all we were now the World Champions.

P.S. - This article was written as part of the ongoing #BeACricketWriter Contest being conducted by Harsha Bhogle

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Commentary Box