Ahhh… we won it!?
It was a weird feeling, a never before kind of experience, roaming around near Shivaji Park at night, thousands of people of all kinds on street. I think it was their presence on streets, rather than of actually watching it on TV, or talking to a 100 friends on phone, or messaging a thousand, or going through all those updates on facebook, or those ever so vocal news channels which made me believe. Did we win it for sure?
Infact what happened felt more like a dream for a considerable period of time. It started when we were floating in the beautiful surroundings of Kerala, and while attending my friend’s wedding we missed the Bangladesh one. But that was supposed to be won, no major worries there.
Then came my Bangalore trip, and watching one of the most amazing matches of the world cup at Chennaswamy, with one of the biggest cricket fan I know (my school friend who watches blind cricket and also followed all the ICL matches), and 2 mahaan DAIICTians whose love for cricket is unparalleled. Sitting between them I was the most pessimistic one during the match. But the dream went on, Sachin had scored a century, and for a moment I actually thought this is it. Now I would be able to tell my kids that I saw Sachin make a World Cup century, that I could jump of the Chennaswamy stand and still float in air, and that the food at cricket stadiums sucks.
Then there was the South African encounter with the person with whom I had scene the ever so forgettable India Bangladesh encounter in 2007. We tried to not do anything we had done that day, still we lost.
Then there were the minnows, simple boring encounters where Yuvraj was having fun and generally I was getting bored.
Holi came and also came with it the West Indies encounter. We were beyond repair that day, and for the entire day I just saw weird visualizations of a cricket match, by the end of it I just knew. We had won. Australia they were saying was up next. Australia. Scared.
The next three encounters can easily be the three best days of every Indian’s life. The pessimistic me gave hope when Dhoni got out, only to catch a glimpse of the match Filmy style on roads with crowd as I walked back from office to home. By the time I was home Raina was hitting Lee out of the park. We had won. Still it was difficult to digest all this, now it was happening a bit too quick.
Pakistan it was, and I was nervous. Very very nervous. I had a meeting till 1 AM a day before, went back home, came to office at 8 AM, did all the follow-up and basically immersed myself in too much work so that I don’t think of the match. In between 100s of options of watching it here or there, it was going to be the huge office screen where I would watch it. And when Umar Gul started running in towards Sehwag, I was shivering. It was just too much tension. Sachin’s scratchy knock, Pakistan’s pathetic fielding, Umar Gul being thankfully off colour, and awesomest bowling by Ajmal stood out. By far a much more superior side than us in terms of bowling. After Hafeez got out playing a very very stupid shout I knew we will win it, till Umran Akmal (whom I think will become the next Pak captain, anyone who survives for 2-3 years becomes the captain there, anyway, awesome player) started smashing us but somehow finally despite Misbah last minute hitting it was comfortably won.
And then there was the Final, so much has been written about it already, but I felt Jayawardane’s knock was truly amazing. Low risk high return innings, especially one shot he played from outside the off stump towards fine leg was truly amazing. Gambhir and Dhoni were really good on the night. And we ended up burning tonnes of aggarbattis to satisfy our superstitious selfs.
So this World Cup ended, and I was truly happy, but still it was much different from the 1996 one. We were kids back then, there were not many Deepikas and Katrinas in the stand, we could see cricketers though, we were never bleeding blue, our blood was red back then, we discussed cricket, we discussed the stats, never the number of drinks which we had in each game, people always thought of cricket as a family affair, never a reason to party and so many things.
But we used to, we still, and we will always discuss Sachin.
What are your memories of Cricket World Cup 2011?