Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Winning in Style - The World Cup Story

2 April 2011.India witnessed biggest ever celebration in its history.India - Cricket World Cup Champions.

Till the moment league games finished and India got a quarterfinal berth with Australia,Everyone had their money on aussies to win the fourth world cup in the row. But Motera had different history written that day when India played like a unit and made australia pack their bags to return back home.That was the confidence boost that every Indian got and the world cup dream actually started looking like a real deal.Australia OUT.Next up is Pakistan.In Mohali. Clash of the Titans.It wasn't a game.It was a war.and there was one week between quarters and semis so the pressure was built, hype was already there and stakes were really really high.Winners gets to play for World Cup.Since match was on working day and there was no chance of getting a chutti, plans were made to see it in cafeteria.Company was kind enough to install BIG Screens and Sound system for employees.All the work for the day was niptaoed before 2 and seats were grabbed before the first ball was bowled.That was the day when every employee spent maximum time in cafeteria in a single day. We cheered for India.and Indian team did not disappoint us with their performance. India beats Pakistan, enter finals for clash with Sri Lanka who comfortably reached finals beating nzealand by 9 wickets.For me that semi-final win was our world cup in itself but now there was real chance of grabbing the cup and we were just one match away.

Just two days break and a grand final, With such high pressure semi-finals, exursion and then travel from chd-mum and getting ready for the big finale,Sri lanka had clear advantage over them. India's advantage was home stadium and home crowd which supported Indian team every single moment.

02 April 2011.Saturday. chutti in office. but there was a mailer that match will be shown in cafeteria. made a plan with friends to watch match there only.Also, the hunt began to look for a more happening place.hence the hunt began. Friend managed to get seats in Soho's.In kalyani nagar.2 PM was deadline to reach since toss and pitch report happens that time. Very important to know both the things since thats what your next eight hour expert opinion is based on.
1.50 PM. Outside Soho's. Amit wore Indian team shirt but had a superstitious fear that India may lose because of him wearing it. coz thats what happened when he went to see the south africa match in nagpur.Amit, Ninad and I were the first ones to reach the place.and actually wondered if they really are showing the match here.because it was empty pub then.First shock,Screen is there but no Audio.press panic button.much drama. we missed the pitch report.And the toss too.some drama on the pitch too.It looked like we were watching a silent film and making own stories outta it. and then within seconds another toss. what the ...i mean how can you toss twice? where is the honesty? Sanga called something which no one listened. He lost. and when dhoni asked him again, he refused to tell what was it.Clearly batting first in wankhede was big advantag.Mahi being the gentleman and the expert 'toss-loser' tossed again.and history repeated itself.He lost.Result Sri Lanka batting first.Just at that moment, all the goodwill and respect for sri lankan captain went off. You are in a world cup final and you want to play this way.

Coming back to Soho,DJ arrives.plugs in the audio and silent movie turns stereo sound action film.What fantastic start in first ten overs.Brilliant bowling by Zak and safe hands of veeru hit the first nail.We(India) were in complete control of the game for first 40 overs.We cheered for each wicket and celebrated brilliant effort in field by team.and then from 170 odd in 40 hours to reaching 275 in 50 was nothing less than a shock.I had expected them to restrict lankans to 240. Even then a decent effort in batting was required to win the match.275 was way too much for second inninga in wankhede. Add to that 20 runs save from sri lanka in fielding and another 20 runs for factors like humid,breeze,slowness in pitch.

First innings break.We just kept wondering how will India make those 275.and no one wanted to think negatively.This was the moment everyone prayed for a good start and good batting performance.

Post interval all the hopes in my mind were set on sehwag and sachin. and boom second ball, one of the hopes dashed out by malinga.but soon after Sachin played some amazing drives and the classic straight drive for 4.Few balls after that poetic shot went GOD. Sachin Tendulkar. OUT. Damn. 31/2. Mother and Sister of Malinga remembered by almost every indian watching the match.First feeling there goes the world cup. but instantly, the nedt moment, was this hope that we have beaten aussies and pakistan and we still had long batting line up.yuvi, raina, gambhir, kohli and mahi still to play. on their home soil. in front of their home crowd. and they will give their best to win the match.The dream run can't end like this.support the team. For next 43 odd overs,one slogan that went on and on 'jeetega bhai jeetega India jeetega'.Gambhir and Kohli took india to 100 and we were cruising on good run rate so that confidence started building up. Kohli gone.and what a surprise entry by Mahi.everyone was expecting yuvi considering his brilliant run in tournament but mahi had different plans.I never considered dhoni a proper batsman. but his luck and his destiny has given him power of turning anything he touches to gold.that day he proved me wrong.He went on to stabalise innings with gambhir and played some amazing cricket.and just when we were 50 runs short of winning world cup, gauti got out at 97. Another shock.because of the shot he played to get out.It was bizzare.You are in world cup final,three runs short of dream century and you play a weird shot and get bowled out. Bad luck but clearly innings he and whole india will remember.always.Yuvraj came and played master strokes.Yuvi and Mahi on crease and the magic show was on our screens.Cruising towards the victory.4 runs required in 11 balls and then this shot came.


Mahendra Singh Dhoni did for the country.led the team from the front. kept his cool and brought world cup back home.and the world cup was won not only by individual performances.Team India won it. every person played and performed. yuvraj proving everyone wrong and scoring 400+ runs and grabbing 15 wickets. Zaheer taking wickets at crucial times, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina contributing with both bat and field, Bhajji, Ashwin, Nehra and Munaf bowling well and taking out wickets at regular intervals. Gambhir playing a master stroke in the finals. Sachin and Sehwag blasting pakistan and scoring well in league games as well. Truely a Team INDIA that won. much deserved win.

Celebrations Began.We all sang our national anthem. Followed by Dancing on punjabi numbers, hugging everyone around in celebrations, and loud loud cheering.Amit and I went to Magarpatta to witness the celebrations later.Everyone was on streets.Every single person.I have never ever seen Indian public getting united and celebrating like we did that day.That was the day when I saw Happy India.That is how I want to see my india.That is the day history was written.after 28 years.and I was happy to be part of it. 

and It was pure delight to See Sachin Tendulkar part of winning team.21 Years.Dedication, Passion and Perfection and Six world cup appearances later, he finally gets a world cup champion medallion.Virat Kohli put that brilliantly in an interview moments after we won the cup "Sachin Tendulkar has carried Indian cricket on his shoulders for 21 years. So it was fitting that we carried him on our shoulders after this win ".and every player shared the same feeling.

One month today to the win and I still cherish those moments of us winning the world cup and all those celebrations. 

P.S - There have been some brilliantly written posts on world cup win.I enjoyed reading world cup posts (in no particular order) by @sidvee , @gkhamba, @daddy_san, @a_traveller,@shaaqt, @livetimeefe, @ujj, @tantanoo, @sunainak 

Cheers India !! :)