Sep 25, 2007

CUPde India ...

Well... Well ... Well... What else i can say other than "Stupendous". I have seen many nail biting encounters in my life, but this one i would probably want to rate as number ONE in that list. Right from the word GO, the match was electrifying, not just because its an Indo-Pak encounter, but also its the WorldTwenty20 tournament final (A MINI world cup i would say). This is how the entire drama unfolded in that 3 hour long battle.

India won the toss and then chose to bat, knowing that we are good at batting and setting a target, but unfortunately our TOP order did not click the way it normally used to, barring the exception of Gautham Ghambir, who played a responsible and also an entertaining innings of 75 in just 50 balls, actually he is the guy who paved the route to INDIA's success. India did not seem to have any partnership going for a longer time, and as we all know FATE always has a different thought, the much expected explosive YUVRAJ failed to fire and his wicket has set the tempo in the paskistani camp and they were ecstatic after scalping that price wicket. INDIA were railing at 126 for 5 in the 17th over and GHAMBIR too fell for a short one from TANVEER and the young Rohit Sharma came to the rescue and played some blistering shots and took INDIA to a defendable total of 157 in 20 overs.

INDIA never looked favourites when they came into bowl, but R P Singh had different plans, he removed one of the opening batsmen in the first over and Pakistan were 4 for 1 at the end of it. Then came the real shocker (One of the shocker) from Sreeshanth where he was torn apart by Pakistani opening bastsmen Imran Nasir, he was firing from all cylinders and quickely he went to 34 in just 14 deliveries, it took a BRILLIANT straight hit onto the stumps by Robin Uthappa to get rid of that explosive player. That RUN OUT to me was the real turning point of the match. Robin was simply stunning in that throw, hats off to that guy

Pakistan were losing wickets at regular intervals and there was never a good partnership going for them, to add more salt to the wound, Irfan Pathan removed boith Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi in two consecutive deleveris and at this time pakistan were 95 for 6 and INDIA were really in the driver seat, but that feeling was short lived as Misbah-Ul-Haq had a different plan in his mind. We inititally thought that playing Harbhajan Singh at the depth is always going to be tough, but that theory proved us wrong as Misbah-Ul-Haq blasted 3 consecutive sixer's in the 17th over. This made the 57 off 24 balls equation to 37 of 18 balls, and the pendulum was surely swinging in the favor of PAKISTAN now.

Sreeshanth was asked to bowl the 18th over and that too was an expensive one, he gave 16 runs off that over but he took the wicket of Shohail Tanveer and the score read 140 for 8 at the end of 18th over. R P Singh was the bowler to bowl the 19th over and he did a very good job of keeping it tight and also removing Umar Gul, this made Mohamed Asif to come into the crease and he survived a thick edge of his bat and the ball raised to the boundary. It was extremely nervous by now and I was speechless, I know that Harbajan will be bowling the last one, but to all the viewer's surprise the ball was handed over to Joginder Sharma who has not had a good rythm or speed in his bowling.

The entire nation was stunned and shocked to see him bowl the last over in such a crunch finals, even i was upset over DHONI's choice, but nothing can be done and hence we were praying that Joginder should bowl well, he started off the over with a biggggg WIDE and the equation read 12 off 6 balls, the next one was again very close to the WIDE lines and he is lucky to survive a WIDE call from the umpire, the 3rd ball which he bowled would have certainly made all the INDIAN's heart to skip a beat as Misbah-Ul-Haq dashed it over the Long-off fence for a fierceful SIXER, now the equation is 6 off 3 balls, considering the reputation of PAKISTANI's finishing off in style we INDIAN's were 100 sure that this match has certainly slipped out of INDIA's hand, and then came the moment to CHERISH in our hearts forever, Joginder Sharma bowled his usual half pitched slow delivery and Misbah-Ul-Haq has pre-meditated his shot to SCOUP it over the fine leg, as the player was standing inside the 15 yard circle, but he did not time it very well and as a result it did not gather the required distance,rather it got the height and Sreeshanth gracefull accepted the catch, that's it INDIANS WERE THE WORLD 20-20 CHANMPIONS and the entire Johannesberg stadium was set on FIRE, it was celebrations all the way. Misbah-Ul-Haq could not believe is luck and he stuck himself to the pitch, the mood at the PAKISTANI camp was quite obvious and players could just not believe what they have witnessed a while ago.

This is one mathc where the pendullum was swinging in both the ways till the very last ball was bowled, it was quite an absolute cracker of a FINAL for this World Twenty20 competition, the organiser's and the sponsors couldn't have asked for anymore. There were celebration across the nation and it people went on partying till late in the morning. I was one amongst those happy INDIAN citizen and watched this exciting game with my team member Sivakumar on my newly bought Samsung 32" LCD TV. I am sure, it would take many more years to withess onc such cracker again in my life.

MOM - Irfan Pathan
MOT - Shahid Afridi
India - 157 for 6 in 20 Overs
Pakistan - 151 Allout in 20 Overs.
Well done team india and keep up the same momentum for this upcoming tour of Australia next week.

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