The day India defeated the Aussies in the quarter finals of CWC 2011, every Indian was more excited for the semis rather than celebrating the win over the Kangaroos from Down Under! It was the BIG match, the MOTHER of all battles. India Vs Pakistan. Boy o boy, the mere mention of this match brings back memories of the fierce rivalry between these cricketing nations. The verbal fights between Siddhu and Aamir Sohail, the game where Venkatesh Prasad allowed the ball to do the talking, Gambhir roughing it up against Afridi and many more!
30th March 2011 was the day and 2:30 PM was the time. I had my morning shift that day but I was so deep into the dreams of seeing India win against Pakistan that couldn’t get up in time! Somehow manage to reach the office by 8. There was just one thing people were talking about in the office, be it the canteen table, the central sitting area, the cafeteria or the Tech Center itself, THE BIG GAME! “Aaj Akhtar khelega?” , “ Nehra ko nai khilana chahiye yaar ” , “Batting first karni chahiye, Mohali pitch is the best for batting.” , “Sachin toh aaj 100th Century maar lega”. Be it any match that India plays, suddenly you have a billion critics, a billion advisors, a beating with just one motive, A WIN for the BLUES! And when it is our noisy neighbors, it is something more than a cricket match. It is WAR. Between the players, between the supporters, between the diplomats and between every Indian and Pakistani. I opened my facebook account and it was a beautiful sight. Everyone’s profile picture was the Indian flag or the Indian cricket team. Every status though meant the same, spoke a thousand different feelings. The first good news of the day, a mail from the HR team, stating that today was a half day, buses to leave at 12:30PM. Match hai bhai, you can’t play with the feelings of a FAN, chutti dena toh banta hai!! ;) So, with the excitement to go home early, work speeded up in every tech center, working with an efficiency of 300%. Some unfortunate ones had to stay back owing to the pressures of the project, I presume.
Time just flew by and soon it was the time to go. People started running towards the buses, plans all made in advance, food & drinks stocked up, flags ready and throat all cleared up to shout out to the fullest! It was an amazing scene, the office bearing a deserted look at a time when the office is at the peak of its population. The roads wore a deserted look, shops half closed and people moving towards jus one place, THE TV SCREENS. I reached home as fast as I could, got fresh and took my seat in front of the TV, promising not to move even a step till the match gets over, superstitious that we are. The pre-match show had its share of Good and bad news. Shoaib Akhtar not playing but Nehra was to replace the carom spinner, R.Ashwin. Many were baffled on this move by Dhoni but He is surely not an Idiot as Harsha Bhogle said. There has to be a reason behind getting Nehra back! Positivity is what I kept in my mind and the match started with the national anthems. Jana Gana Mana gives you shivers even if you hear it for the thousandth time! Boosts you big time. Maybe that’s what makes us perform so well every time. It wasn’t only the supporters but high profiled diplomats and politicians who were there to witness the match. What was special was to hear the roar of the full capacity crowd when the prime ministers of the two nations shook hands with the God of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar. Truly goes on to show how highly respected he is!
Viru and Sachin got us off to a flyer before the former perished. But Indians held on to the run rate pretty well for the first 30 overs. Sachin was dropped four times and was adjudged not out on two occasions by the Umpire review. It surely goes on to say without a doubt that Misbah and Younis dropped the CUP for the Pakiss. The run rate dropped after the 30th over but somehow India managed to get to 260, all thanks to the CUTE boy, Suresh Raina, as referred by Chehek Bilgi, a.k.a Chikuu. It was a great score but a defendable score. Indians were sure to be disappointed but not out. Something somewhere in our hearts was saying to us, India’s gonna snatch this. Pakis came down to bat and Hafeez got them to a flyer as well until Zaks struck the danger man, the senior Akmal. The downfall had started. Nehra too performed well, as he had no other choice. Thrifty bowling and 2 wickets might get overlooked but will surely help him remove the stain he received in the last match he played against the Proteas. Wickets fell at regular intervals and it wasn’t long before the final catch was taken by Virat Kohli to hammer the final nail into the coffin. India had repeated history, the clean sheet of the World Cup continued and the Pakis couldn’t break the jinx.
49.2 overs it was and crackers were already bursting around my place. Music on full blast, people dancing on the road, bike engines roaring, shouts of India-a-a-a-a India-a-a-a-a-a!!! 30 runs were needed of the last 4 balls so the match was virtually won. It was good to see Indian bowling and fielding perform so well when it was actually needed. Messages started flowing in & statuses getting updated, one beating the other comfortably. Each message, each status had so much of joy, so much of pride and so much of INDIANISM filled in it. It made me so proud to be an Indian! I watched the whole match alone but continuous chatting and update-sessions with Rishigandha Mistri, Manasi Chauhan, Madhura Deshmukh, Chehek Bilgi, Maitri Patel, Devesh Chainani, Maulee Desai and Harsh Desai never let me feel alone. Thanxx guys <3 The best part was A.R Rehman’s “Vande Mataram” being played at the fall of every Pakistani wicket. I can just imagine the atmosphere at Mohali. Seeing your team see-off the fiercest rivals is nothing less than heavenly. It’s amazing to see the unity Indians show during such events and situations. I missed Ahmedabad and my friends out there more than anything else cause I know it would had been wild fun after the match at the streets of CG Road and SG Road! Aapnu Amdavad rockss!!
Come Saturday, the 2nd of April, it’s surely going to be Dusshera for us. Watch out Ravanas. Mythology is with us and so will be that day. ’96, Eden Gardens wont be repeated, I swear! As of now, it is celebration times till D-Day arrives.
Gooooooooooo Indiaaaa!! J J
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