Thursday, May 20, 2010


All good things come to an end... this one also did! India had created a world record of having won 18 consecutive ODI matches chasing... that very skill in which it was once considered that India was shabby.

But on this day (20th May) four years ago (in 2006) at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica, it came to an end... it came to an end with a slower yorker from Dwayne Bravo that beat Yuvraj Singh all ends up to rattle into his stumps... and sent India to an excruciatingly painful 1-run defeat.

Four years is a timespan between two World Cups... but for India, this four-year gap represents a different era altogether. This was a time when Rahul Dravid led the team. India had not played a Twenty20 till then. Irfan Pathan was considered a match-winner then... and regularly sent to bat at No. 3. Yuvraj Singh was lean and fit (can you believe it?)! Some guy called Mohammed Kaif also played cricket for India. Modi meant Narendra Modi (a politician always in news)... and not Lalit Modi! Preity Zinta, Shilpa Shetty and Juhi Chawla might not have owned a cricket jersey then... let alone a cricket team! And yes, the legendary Trinidadian Brian Charles Lara also played cricket and captained the West Indies side.

India had won the previous match (while chasing again) by 5 wickets with 1 ball to spare at the same Sabina Park ground. There was a feeling that Rahul Dravid will choose to bowl every time he wins the toss, no matter what the conditions. He did win the toss... he did choose to bowl. India did well in restricting West Indies to 198 for 9 in 50 overs... leaving Sarwan stranded on 98* at the end of their innings. Again, it was that Irfan Pathan fellow who impressed with his bowling... grabbing 3 - 45 in 9 overs (including the prized scalp of BC Lara).

India lost regular wickets till 60 for 4 in 17 overs. Then Raina and Yuvraj forged a 64-run stand when I typed an SMS on my cell alerting everyone that India had won 19th in a row batting second. When Raina went and soon the score became 134 for 7, I saved that SMS to drafts... determined to open it only when India sealed the deal.

As the game got closer to its climax, I became more alert (despite the fact that it was about 2 in the night in India). When No. 11 Munaf Patel was to face Bravo on the first ball of the final over with India needing 11 and Yuvraj on the other end... I was on my wit's end. I still recall that over clearly. That scrappy single by Munaf to the keeper, that outside edged four to third man by Yuvraj attempting a wild slog followed by a beautiful cover drive for a four that would have been called beautiful no matter what continent were you in... and then that ball! Needing 2 runs of 3 balls and Yuvraj on strike... I had opened my drafts folder on my mobile phone. What happened next meant that I had to edit that message before sending it to people who followed cricket through me.

West Indies had to get Yuvraj out to win... there was no other option (save a run out)! Yuvraj looked sublime on 93... it took a special delivery from Bravo to deceive him! Yuvraj was distraught... on his knees at the crease long after the match was over. Bravo was over the moon... but that is where he is every time he does something special. Not only was India's streak broken, even India was broken! They went on to lose their next 3 matches... and losing an ODI series 4-1 to West Indies was embarassing even then!

It was a fabulous match that did not end on a happy note for me. But looking back at it, I am glad that I had decided to stay up till 3 at night to watch it... it was worth the sleep deprivation that I put myself through.

1 comment:

Siddharth said...

Hey even i saw that match till the last and was distraught. Hope Yuvraj regains that touch once again