Tuesday, September 25, 2007

India vs Pakistan – The Perfect Final at the Wanderers

‘And India are the World Twenty20 Champions’ I typed in my text editor. 54 runs were required of 24 balls with only 3 wickets remaining. Pathan had just cleaned up Arafat and things looked to be headed India’s way.

Or were they?
Misbah-ul-Haq had other things on his mind. Ravi Shastri kept repeating – ‘His brain is running like a computer!’

3 sixes in the next over of Harbhajan Singh and suddenly the target was pretty achievable.

2 more sixes by Sohail Tanveer of Sreesanth’s next over and I edited the line to – ‘India once again manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory’.

And then Sreesanth got Tanveer out in the next ball and once RP Singh got the wicket of Umar Gul it was 17 required of 7 balls. Once again I edited the text ‘India pull through in a pulsating fin…’, before I could complete the sentence Mohammad Asif had edged the last ball of the 19th over to the boundary.

13 of the last over. No one wanted Harbhajan to bowl the last over and Dhoni didn’t either. He tossed the ball once again to Joginder. Things were different this time around – There’s a huge difference between 22 of the last over and 13. Soon it was 12 of the last over – Joginder continued with his wide length. The next ball was similar wide of the off-stump and he was lucky to squeeze in a dot ball.

Oh my God! Another wide ball and this time a full-toss…Misbah thrashed it straight back over the bowlers head. The nation of a billion prayed that the long-off fielder would pull off a miraculous catch…but Alas! This wasn’t a Hindi movie.

6 runs required of 4 balls. India had lost. Misbah-ul-Haq had cemented his place in the team and had proved all his critics wrong who’d said he wasn’t worth Mohammad Yousuf’s place in the squad.

I’m sure this was running in his head. He’d thought the match had been won. He wanted to finish it off in style. A shot which Indians would first remember Zimbabwean Douglas Marrilier using to great effect against us.

Similar ball, wide outside the off-stump – Misbah-ul-Haq got too cheeky. A moment of madness. Uthappa had managed to win us a game in England with this audacious shot and Misbah tried to do the same. Once again a billion prayed that there was a fielder who’d be there to pouch the catch with glee and there sure was…

Sreesanth was there and the match was won – India was crowned as the first ever World Twenty20 Champions.

All I could say was – What a Game! Damn! What a Game!