indian cricket


The night of 6th April saw the repeat of the 2011 Cricket World Cup final in the Twenty20 format as India met Sri Lanka in an all-Asian final. The game was highly anticipated what with the huge fan-following the game enjoys, especially in the Indian subcontinent.

Sri Lanka reached the finals with the Rain Gods turning in their favour as the semi-final between West Indies and Sri Lanka was abandoned due to rain and the Lankans were judged the winners by the Duckworth-Lewis Method. India had had a very strong run in the competition with a hundred percent winning record in the tournament this year. The Indian side overcame a massive total of 172 runs set up South Africa in the Semi-final to win the game with 5 balls to spare. Virat Kohli shined through the game knocking an unbeaten 72 runs off 44 balls to clinch the match.

If Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team went on to win the final, it would be the first team ever in the history of the sport to hold all the major titles in its trophy cabinet, having won the One-Day World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last year. The odds appeared to be in favour of the Indian side as Sri Lanka had faced a cursed streak in major trophy finals in the past, losing the One-Day World Cup finals in 2007 and 2011 and the Twenty20 World Cup final in 2009 and 2012.

Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bowl first. Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane were the openers for the Indian side. Rahane once again took an early exit to the dressing room with 3 runs off 8 balls. Virat Kohli delivered a note worthy performance yet again, again knocking 77 runs off 58 balls. The disappointment for the Indian side turned out to be the usually reliable, Yuvraj Singh, whose hard-hitting style is world renowned. He was only able to gather 11 runs off 21 balls much to the frustration of Indian fans, pretty evident from the scenes in the stadium. Overall, India put up a below-par total of 130 runs for 4 wickets.

Sri Lanka’s innings was a perfect example of the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race” as Kumar Sangakkara hit 52 runs for 32 balls remaining unbeaten to clinch the title for the Lankans and to conclude his T20 career in a perfect way. Sri Lanka won the match by 6 wickets.

The Lankans finally broke their curse in the finals much to the disappointment of the 1 billion supporters in India. Sangakkara was named the Man of The Match for match-winning innings while Virat Kohli got a well-deserved Player of the Series award for his batting prowess.

Image courtesy: sports.ndtv.com

The country was wrapped in euphoria and the reason was cricket again! Déjà vu it was in the form of another Cricket World Cup Trophy- the Under 19 World Cup Trophy. The victory was made special as the Indian squad defeated Australia on an Australian pitch, and this is a never before feat for a World Cup Final. It was a hat trick U- 19 World Cup victory in itself and India now holds top spot in both the age categories of the sport.

The Australian side sent out to bat first, set the bar at 225 runs for India. Initially the lads in blue came across strong but stumbled at 97 runs at the loss of 4 wickets, then captain Unmukt Chand stepped up to the job, and replicated what the Indian skipper M S Dhoni did in the previous World Cup. Chand picked up the mantle and with a personal score of 111 not out, helped India bring the cup home. A notable contribution was made by wicketkeeper Smit Patel who chipped in with 62 runs and stood strong alongside skipper Chand.

Equally- if not more- exciting was the lead up to the final match. The quarter- finals saw India up against Pakistan and boy wasn’t that a nail bitter! The semi- finals against New Zealand also proved to be a tough one. Except the trio of Prashant Chopra, Baba Aparajith and Unmukt Chand the rest of the line up faltered and the Indian scoreboard froze at 209 runs. The spinners and seamers worked their magic as New Zealand fell for 200/ 9 only 10 runs short of the target. These two victories paved way to the final clash against Australia and the crescendo was the final victory in Townsville.

The team was congratulated and received a warm welcome back home. PM Manmohan Singh, M S Dhoni and Virat Kohli congratulated the squad. The cricketers not only made us proud on an international stage but helped India forget Coalgate or SMS ban for a moment as India united to celebrate this victory.

Anugrah Gopinath
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