The day is 2nd April 2011. Crowd of at least 25 thousand, with all the cacophony they could create. Millions on their TV sets glued to their seats not willing to blink for a second to miss any moment. Then there came a guttural and orotund sound, uttering the golden words, which are still remembered with the biggest beam and utmost bliss by a true Indian cricket fan. The voice of the then best commentator, Ravi Shastri, currently, the Indian Cricket Team Coach screamed on the national television, “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 year.” It was a certainly a day to live and a night to cherish for every true Indian cricket fan.
Now, fast forward to September 28, 2018. A similar crowd of maybe close to 25 thousand, with all the noise, cheering at the top of their voices for their teams. Yet again, those millions on the TV sets with the similar situation. However, this time around there was no Dhoni to seal things off for India. Rather, it was the spirit and the desire to win, limping Kedar Jadhav with a damaged hamstring handed the Indian Cricket Team its 7th Asia Cup title.
In a highly anticipated last ball thriller, India managed to continue with their shear dominance in every format of the game played in sub-continent conditions and their latest victims the Bengal Tigers, Bangladesh. 5-0 is the record in favour of India when it comes to beating their eastern neighbours in knockout stages.
The match turned on its head by some excellent performances from both the sides, special mention to Bangladesh openers. They laid the foundation for a very good score. However, the middle order failed to capitalize and it was yet again going to be an easy chase for the “Gabbar” and the “Hit-Man”. This is when Bangladesh made their presence felt. To make a below average score look like a destination hard to reach, Bangladesh players played their hearts out. And if not the trophy, they did win the hearts of many true cricketing fans.
The bowl-shaped Colosseum in Dubai witnessed one such stunner. The Bangladesh openers showed true intent giving nightmares to Indian bowlers. Until when India’s very own slower version of Lasith Malinga aka Kedar Jadhav provided the much needed breakthroughs. The team folded to 222 all out and Indian contingent was relaxed until the half time. The second half saw a very well disciplined Bangladesh bowling attack. They were available to push the game to the last over but that is when they ran out of fuel. Bringing in the closing fielders, trying to get to the batsman skin, or taking the extra second to catch his breath, the match was worth the treat.
The chase from the Indian side was a cake walk until the openers and the middle order decide to play some rash shots. A few of those wickets were very well executed. Until the 37th over, things were behaved like the seesaw end for both teams, when the middle order failed yet again. MS Dhoni was gone. Jadhav was at the crease, but he was having a lot of trouble with his right hamstring, unable to hit the ball, or get off strike.
The required run rate was never a problem and then came in the next batsman, Ravindra Jadeja. He along with the new ball bowler Bhuveneshwar Kumar managed to put on a fine partnership stand until there was one more tail in the twist. Kedar Jadhav was suspected to have a Grade 1 or Grade2 hamstring tear. He walked back to the crease in the 48th over to load some sanity for the already insane run chase. The target of 9 from 12 looked far more dangerous at just 9 off 11, as Mortaza decided to bowl Mustafizur aka The Fizz and was rewarded immediately with a wicket. However, the team could not perform well, until the final hour with a part timer, Mahmudullah, bowling the most crucial deliveries of the match.
The inside edge also could have been a dot ball or worse still for India, a run out. But the adrenaline of the moment appeared to egg Jadhav on to push his pain threshold a bit higher and sprint across to level the scores. Mahmadullah’s desperate attempt to extend the game to the first-ever ODI super over didn’t quite materialise, as his flatly fired in full ball was down the leg side and brought India their title-winning run through leg byes.
Bangladesh did win our hearts but kudos to the men in blue. Their performance was a treat to the eyes for every aspiring little kid out there, waiting for his turn to be the next Sachin Tendulkar or the Virat Kohli.
Congratulations team blue! We are proud of you!