Thursday 27 September 2007

Yayay!!! India - the new World Champions!!!

In a country where cricket is a religion, any cricket crazy person would have not remained aloof from the frenzy of current T20 World Cup series. The good part about the matches in T20 was that they only lasted for 3 hours. So it was like watching an amazing suspense-thriller movie where no one can predict the climax. The tables were turned when an obvious favourite like Australia had to face defeats from the likes of Zimbabwe, Pakistan and eventually India in the semis. And of course, who could have thought at the start of the series that the two teams which were knocked out in the 1st round of World Cup barely six months back would go on to play the finals.

The paragraph above looks like I have copy-pasted stuff from some English newspaper. So now I’ll switch to more informal, more my-like tone. I watched almost all the matches that India played (except for the one against New Zealand….and now I proudly go about claiming that India lost that match coz I didn’t watch it…hehe). And you know what, I watched most of these matches in the comfortable warmth of my office canteen (yeahhh ….my office canteen has a nice big screen television and with lots of eating options around, it makes a perfect setting for watching India playing (and beating) one team after another). What makes it even more fun was that I had the company of many colleagues who were even more crazy about cricket than me.

So it was so very normal to cheer, shout, yell, clap, hi-fives, whistle and more such crazy stuff inside the office area whenever there was a match. No irrationality withstanding, we would not even refrain to curse the players when they would play bad. But there was always an optimism, a silent prayer on everyone’s mind, that India should win.

All the cricket fans are quite superstitious when it comes to cricket. Coincidentally our group always sat on a specific table while watching these matches together…therefore, when India could not amass a huge total in the final against Pakistan (we were sitting on a different table then coz somebody had already occupied “our” table)….so after Indian innings was over…and most of the crowd dispersed, we quickly captured “wo wala table”. Needless to say, that table was lucky again and India went on to clinch the trophy.

I dunno why, but I was very optimistic about India performing well in this World Cup. In fact, I would change my gtalk caption every single day during T20. When India’s first match against Scotland got cancelled coz of rains, my gtalk caption read as:

“Scotland ki kismat achchi thi jo baarish ho gayi, varna India uska band baja deti”.

One of my colleagues read it and asked, “Bahut bharosa hai India par??!!”

“Of course”, I replied.

The day when India was supposed to take on Pakistan in the finals, I changed my caption to:
“C’mon India, It’s your day today!!!”

(I had secretly started believing that even changing my gtalk caption before and after every match has something to do with India winning every single match. Well, didn’t I say that all cricket fans are quite superstitious)

I love watching India play. In fact, during the match against Pakistan and India in the initial round, I had a tough deadline at work. But I just could not afford to miss the match. So I first saw the thrilling clash between the two titans and then went on to work till 6 in the morning to finish my deadline.

On the day of the final, the euphoria in the office was palpable. We were finishing all the urgent work so that any last-minute deadlines should not prevent us from watching the final. At the given time, our entire group gathered in the canteen, with lots of other colleagues too. In fact, we had run short of chairs in the canteen and many people were simply standing and watching the match. India had won the toss and elected to bat. No matter what, but the excitement and craze for India-Pakistan clash in a World Cup final just could not match anything else. Gosh!!!! It was simply amazing!!! We were yelling and clapping and shouting on every boundary. There would be a collective “Oh no!!!!” when the ball would go a lil high in the air, for the possibility that there might be a catch.

After Indian batting innings, we moved to “our” table and waited for other group members to gather. One of my colleagues suggested bottle-banging, so we collected all water bottles from our desks so that we can add to the cheer and noise quotient. And then, Pakistan wickets started falling, and totally oblivious of our managers, team leads and other seniors around us, we simply went berserk. We banged bottles on the table, shouted slogans, clapped, hi-fived, whistled and yelled at the top of our voices!!!

Lekin Indian team bhi kam stupid nahi hai…..aasani se koi kaam nahi karti…..apne fans ki jaan nikaalne ke baad hi match jeet paati hai. When Pakistan had lost 7 wickets and India’s win looked so obvious, there was suddenly a twist in the tale. Our own “Bhajji” (Harbhajan Singh for those who are less acquainted with our team players) threw quite an expensive over. 3 sixes in one single over. And the format of T20 is such that one good or bad over can change the shape of the match. There was more to come. In the next over, again there was a “six” on the 1st ball itself. These expensive overs brought the Required Run Rate for Pakistan to win to quite a manageable figure. We all went into a mourning mood.

But the best was yet to come. Dhoni handed ball to “much hated” (at least for me) Joginder Sharma in the last over. And his “outside the off stump” ball…which had yielded way too many runs in the previous matches, paved way to a catch out of last Pakistani batsman. WHOA!!!!!! India had won the cup!!!!! We went MAD (literally!!!) Lots of cheering, slogan shouting etc. happened post match too, but I won’t mention the details here (coz it was something to savour, to experience, to soak in, the feeling that no words can describe)

Kudos to Indian team, hats off to Dhoni for amazing captaincy!!!

India is World Champions…..and we are here to stay….watch out!!!!!