Monday, March 07, 2011
India vs Ireland @ Chinnaswamy
Finally, I mean FI - NA - LLY , I got a chance to see a match live in the stadium. It was a match between India and the much-improved and dangerous Ireland. A few of us friends, especially Ankit ( oh a bad poem awaits you at the end of the blog) was kind enough to buy me a ticket for today's match even before the Irish beat England.
We reached the stadium around 11.20am for a 2.30pm match to find tons of people in blue, all dressed to support India, loads of policeman, chaotic traffic outside the stadium, many flag sellers and flag painters( we got one painted on Ankit's face!). First thing that caught our attention were banners and we bought a couple of them coz' they were so bad !!! You can see one right here as part of this post. How and Who comes up with lines like these ???!!!!
It was my first experience at any stadium for a one day international . I know what you're saying! Even I can't believe it. After waiting for eternity for our dear friend, during which we came up with that hopeless poem( see right at the end of this post but first read this!),we went up and ran around for 25 mins surveying the situation and trying to find the most optimum place from where we could catch all the action. Did so eventually and tried drawing out some cartoons on paper so that we could somehow be captured by some camera !! The sketches were soon in place and we waited and waited for the "boys" to come out for practice. Funnily, have you ever thought about the fact that whatever be their age, the cricketers still remain boys , eg The boys played hard etc. Anyway, the stadium was filling in fast and long last, we saw the cricketers on the field. Didn't recognize many Irish faces( will take more time I suppose) apart from their coach, Phil Simmons of WI. I never fail to recognize any West Indian...
Soon, there were Gambhir( or Gambeer as our foreign commentators pronounce) and Pathan lethargically walking on the field. 10 mins passed by and there was suddenly a deafening roar. We also joined in(crowd mentality) and what I saw gave me my first goose bump moment of the day. In the backdrop of the pavilion, there was Sachin Tendulkar walking onto the ground, with his gloves and bat tucked under his shoulders, a cap on and looking absolutely focused, calm and determined. That very moment was sufficient to underline the man's greatness. A huge bow to you Mr Tendulkar!
2pm came by and it was the "Toss" time . A huge roar followed Ravi Shastri's "Good afternoon Bengaluru". Dhoni won(Yes! He does win tosses!) and put the Irish in. As we prepared for the start, the 2nd goose bump moment occurred. The stadium was pretty much jam packed. The boys of both teams walked onto the field in their colors for their respective national anthems. Everyone stood. The Irish anthem came first. "JanagaNa mana" then followed.It was out of the world! 38000 sang the anthem in unison. I will remember those 52 seconds for a very long time . They gave me the strongest goosebumps of the day. It was truly magical. Felt very proud to be an Indian.
The game started on time (2.30pm) and Zaheer sent 2 of them back to the pavilion. From 9/2 the Irish recovered well. Any other minnow team might have collapsed but the Irish did well till they shot themselves in the foot through a stupid run out. Around the time the Irish were consolidating, our very own Venky aka Venkatesh Prasad made a dramatic entry to the part of the ground where we were seated, in a pink shirt( who wears a pink shirt!) but did some checking with the policemen about the seating arrangements. Loud cheering followed for Venky! Back to the game...A couple more men came and went and then the stage was set for Irish's most popular cricketer in the last few days - Kevin O'brien(KOB). There was a massive roar(Maybe Bengaluru will award some sort of citizenship to O'Brien or RCB might soon opt for this guy) and the expectations were high. Piyush Chawla( who looked like he should have been eating Chawal in the dressing room) got hit for a 4 by O'brien and the crowd went berserk! Seemed like Tendulkar's relative was batting.
At this stage something else happened that changed the course of the game decisively! This requires a bit of background though.So, superstitions are ripe in cricket and there are always stories about how cricketers/even people in the ground or at home don't move when a key member of the team is playing and hits a 4 or even a 6. To elaborate, the rule states that a person should remain in the state of motion or rest till some such time that the Universe conspires to get the batsmen out or wickets stop tumbling depending on who you supporting.
Back to the game, immediately after that 4 , for some reason, my friend Ankit felt thirsty and wanted a pepsi(first 30 overs he didn't need it!!) So without telling anyone about when he wanted to implement his plan(Yes! He forgot the damn rule),he stood up, took one step and DHAN!!!! KOB got out! AHHHHH. There was total silence in the stadium. It was surprising to see not many people celebrating. The Irish then checked in and out ( like source code) with little development to the score. The only man who made merry was Yuvi! He got a five for and probably those are his best figures. In the meantime , what was consistent in that entire session were a series of Mexican waves and occasional crazy Saaaachinnnnn (spread across 4 rhythmic beats),sachin(spread across only 2 such beats) cries every time the maestro touched or even walked somewhere close to the ball. The Irish set India 208 to win and our dream chase was as follows: Sehwag and Sachin score 100 runs in 10 overs ,and Sehwag gets out, Pathan comes in and Bam bam bigelow! Game is over in 20 overs. These kind of dreams somehow remain only as dreams.
India resumed their innings. The 3rd goose bump moment occurred.I am sure you have guessed this one. The crowd went NUTS( in capitals) when Sehwag and Sachin walked in. Sehwag fell first, then Gambhir followed suit. Tendulkar seemingly was playing great but he fell too! There was some level of tension when Kohli fell but Yuvi( the golden man,maybe he got inspired by Bappi Da?) and Dhoni ensured that the crowd went to sleep with their singles. Rare crowd "yayy"s woke up people in the stadium, either when a catch was missed or when the 2nd run was taken. I MUST say this though. The Irish were 10 times better than the Indians on the field. They were truly outstanding. As the game went on and on, Dhoni fell and deafening cries welcomed Yusuf. God bless Yusuf! His arrival woke up the crowd. He came in and launched a dhamaka ! 4 6 6 and another 6 a bit later sealed the match for India. But the Irish were fantastic and I don't think any team should underestimate these fellas!
We walked out once it was over as no one needed to even think to guess who the man of the match was! To summarize, it wasn't the greatest match that you would like to watch in a stadium but nevertheless, it was not the worst one as well and combined with the fact that this was a World Cup match, featuring India against not-so-minnow quality Ireland , it was Paisa Vasool!
If you have come till here ,then you deserve the poem ! (credit goes to Abhishek and myself)
(Abhi):Ankit called me in the morning and told me he's going to be late,
and asked my friends and myself to wait.
(me): I am telling you that you should not fall for the waiting bait,
lest you miss the game by somehow tempting fate,
in which case you should go catch a movie of Winslet Kate.
As we create this, Ankit might call and say "How are you mate"
We would tell him to land on Museum road and walk right ahead to gate number eight,
and land up if not on time,at least on the same date!